The Washington Nationals selected the Purple Hurricanes' Cory Collum in the 40th round of the draft while the Chicago Cubs grabbed Collum's teammate Sam Howard in the 48th round.
Collum, a right-handed pitcher and outfielder, spoke to a Washington scout around 2 p.m. Wednesday.
"A scout from the Nationals actually called me this [afternoon] and let me know," the 6-foot-3, 180-pound player said. "It was a gift from God [that I got drafted]. ... It's a big deal, it really is. ... I just thank God for everything that's happening."
Getting drafted came as a surprise for Collum, who had to leave a game against Gilmer in April after an apparent muscle strain.
"I had no idea [I would get drafted], I really didn't. I went to a lot of pro days and just pitched from the mound," Collum said. "During the season I actually hurt my arm and had to have surgery, so I thought [my chances of getting drafted] went down the drain. ... [But] it came back [around] and it's better than I thought it would be."
Collum hit .366 during his senior season and drove in 25 RBIs with four home runs.
Howard, a left-handed pitcher, enjoyed an injury-free campaign during his final prep year and marveled batters with 87 strikeouts and a 1.53 ERA in 59 1/3 innings. He finished with a 7-1 record.
"[They are] very excited just to be part of that 1 percent that gets that opportunity [to play professionally], whether you go or not," Cartersville coach Stuart Chester said.
The 6-3, 165-pound Howard already has signed to play baseball for Georgia Southern, but still could decide to go pro. For Collum, who is still undecided on where to play collegiately, being drafted "opens a lot of doors," Chester said.
Collum named a few of the potential schools he may sign with, a list that included Kennesaw State; Jacksonville State in Alabama; Lee in Cleveland, Tenn.; West Georgia; Gulf Coast in Panama City, Fla.; Chipola in Marianna, Fla.; Middle Georgia; and Darton.
"I'm gonna sit down with my family and see what the deal is because they haven't even offered anything," Collum said of the Nationals. "I'm gonna see [where] it goes from there and take the next step."
Chester spoke to his players Wednesday and offered congratulations more than anything else, but he said he generally shares the same advice for players drafted out of high school.
"Usually, my advice has been if it's life-changing money, I would take it. If it's not life-changing money, I would go on with [my] education," the Canes' skipper said. "That young man has got to make that decision because they're the one that has to ride that [minor league] bus and be away from the people they love."
And, he noted, professional baseball is not high school baseball -- a team could change its mind about you in a matter of years and then you would be looking for a job.
"All that has to be taken into consideration," Chester said.
Prior to Collum's and Howard's selections, former Cartersville player Donavan Tate had been the last Cane to be chosen in the MLB Draft. Tate signed a $6.7 million bonus with the San Diego Padres after being plucked with the third pick in the 2009 draft.
The 6-3, 200-pound center fielder is currently playing Class-A ball with the Fort Wayne (Ind.) TinCaps -- a Padres affiliate -- of the Midwest League. Tate, who has battled through injuries in his first two years as a pro, is hitting .316 in six games with four walks, three runs, two doubles and two RBIs.
Tate had committed to play football at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before inking his deal with the Padres.