Andre Lipcius ain't no dummy. He's a nuclear-engineering major at the University of Tennessee. There's a lot of things you can do with such a degree, he said and we listened — and, well most of it's beyond our realm of comprehension.
But a quick Google search shows the average nuclear engineer makes $107,600.
Lipcius just earned nearly seven years' worth of nuclear-engineering.
A third baseman and the Tigers' third-round pick in last week's Major League Baseball Draft, he signed his first professional contract this week in Lakeland, Fla., he told The News on Tuesday.
Lipcius is getting the full-slot amount for his bonus, or $733,100.
See! He ain't no dummy.
"It gave me in-state tuition, and I wanted that," Lipcius, a Williamsburg, Va., native, said, explaining how he ended up a nuclear-engineering major — at Tennessee, certain programs are offered at discounted rates to lure more quality students. "It sounded interesting, not a lot of people do that. It's cool."
You know what's cooler? Becoming a professional baseball player.
Lipcius became the fourth of the Tigers' top 10 picks to sign their contracts, all for right at the full slot value: No. 1 Riley Greene ($6.18 million), No. 2 Nick Quintana ($1.58 million) and No. 10 Jake Holton ($147,000).
Fifth-round pick Bryant Packard, a left fielder from East Carolina, and Cooper Johnson, a catcher for Ole Miss, told The News they plan to sign soon.
The Tigers' other four picks either just were eliminated in the NCAA Super Regionals, or, in the case of eighth-rounder Jack Kenley, an Arkansas shortstop, are headed to the College World Series.
Lipcius, 21, and the Volunteers played in the NCAA Tournament, losing in the regional won by North Carolina. After the loss, Lipcius headed back to Knoxville, Tenn., and on a computer in a hotel room saw that the Tigers had taken him in the third round. It was a bit of a surprise, given he didn't notice the Tigers around much more than other teams.
"I mean, I was ecstatic," said Lipcius, who batted .308 with a team-leading 17 home runs and 58 RBIs as a junior. He had 73 hits, 15 doubles. This is his first season at third base, after playing mostly short as a sophomore, and mostly first as a
"I got a call earlier in the day, and then I got to hear the pick with my family and friends.
"I'm just so excited to play Major League Baseball or minor-league baseball."
Before he was a Tiger, Lipcius was a twin — fraternal, not Minnesota.
His brother, Luc, also is a junior infielder on the Tennessee baseball team, and batted .347 this season, but in limited at-bats. An injury held him to just 16 games.
Andre said he expects Luc to be drafted next year, but until then, there's studying to do. Andre said Luc also is a nuclear engineering major — but in the background of the telephone conversation, Luc corrected Andre: "Aerospace engineering, (jerk!)"
The question begs: Who's smarter?
"Him," Andre said in an instant, laughing. "He's got me beat there."
Stewart is the first Tennessee player dafted by the Tigers since Christin Stewart, who now is their starting left fielder.