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BYU LOSES TOP RECRUIT TO ANGELS

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BYU is accustomed to losing football recruits to LDS missions, and injuries, and even other schools, but losing McKay Christensen to the California Angels is a first.

In a move surprising to just about everyone, the Angels selected Christensen, 5-foot-11, 175 pounds, with the No. 6 pick of the first round of the Major League draft Thursday. The resident of Clovis, Calif., is a highly regarded prospect, but was thought to have scared off most teams because he plans to go on a mission before launching his pro career."We were surprised, because of his mission plans," said Stephen Christensen, McKay's father. "A lot of teams said he'd go high in the first round if he didn't go on a mission."

Several players from Utah were also chosen in the draft. Former Alta pitcher Doug Webb, a junior pitcher at San Diego State, went to Milwaukee in the second round; American Fork lefthander Mike Burrows went in the fourth round to Seattle; Pleasant Grove pitcher Brandon Huntsman was selected in the sixth round by Baltimore; Pleasant Grove catcher Damian Sapp went to Boston on the 10th round; and ex-Viewmont pitcher Jason Jarvis, now at Bellevue College in Nebraska, went to the Yankees in the 13th round.

Christensen, who coincidentally was in Anaheim today, celebrating graduation at Disneyland, has received numerous honors for his athletic exploits in football and baseball. He was Northern California football player of the year, and reportedly will be on the USA Today All-America first team next week for baseball. He totaled 44 touchdowns and 2,600 all-purpose yards for Clovis West High as a senior, and during the recently concluded baseball season batted .500, with six home runs and 23 RBI.

His speeed was the real attraction, however. He was a perfect 62 for 62 in stolen bases during his high school career. He was listed as the nation's fastest high school baserunner by Baseball America and the 47th-best prospect in the nation. The publication listed him as one of the "three or four best athletes in the draft."

He signed a letter of intent with BYU in February; the Cougars planned to use him as a wide receiver or running back, and he also planned to play baseball at BYU. His older brother, Steve, just concluded his eligibility with the Cougar football team.

Stephen Christensen said his son was told he could expect a signing bonus in the million-dollar range if he had canceled mission plans. He's still expected to sign for close to what last year's No. 6 pick got - $700,000.

"I can't talk about terms," Christensen said, "but I think McKay will be very close to that."

BYU football coach LaVell Edwards is in Kansas and couldn't be reached for comment, but Christensen said he did manage to talk to the coach. "He's such a gentleman," Christensen said. "He was about as kind and understanding as a person could be."