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2006 College Recruiting Update

Compiled by Will Kimmey and Alan Matthews
November 25, 2005

Baylor came within five outs of making the first College World Series appearance in school history in 2003, and recruiting coordinator Mitch Thompson hoped to use that success to lure more top players to campus.

Less than two months later, Baylor basketball player Carlton Dotson was charged in the killing of teammate and roommate Patrick Dennehy. That wasn’t exactly news to print in a recruiting guide.

“The basketball thing had an impact. There’s no question about that,” said Thompson, who’d rather point out that Baylor owns the most Big 12 Conference wins in the league’s 10-year history.

“I had what I considered the eight best players in the state lined up for campus visits, and only one came. One by one, they called with different explanations.”

If the commitments during the 2005 early signing period serve as an indicator, Baylor has put the tragedy in the past. Five top 100 players signed national letters of intent with the Bears, and there’s no shortage of impact talent.

“If I start naming guys, I’m going to leave guys out,” Thompson said.

Let us help. Righthander Shawn Tolleson (No. 12) has produced two dominant summers for Team USA’s youth and junior national teams, while lefthander/first baseman Aaron Miller (25) rates as one of the best two-way talents in the high school class of 2006. Add in a pair of 6-foot-4 righthanders in Ryan Jenkins (58) and Kendal Volz (85), and Baylor has assembled the makings of a pitching staff that could rival the 2005 Bears staff that ranked 12th nationally in ERA and led the school to that elusive first Omaha trip.

Infielders Dustin Dickerson (64) and Raynor Campbell should also make quick impacts.

Unlike in 2003, Baylor was able to parlay its on-field success into recruiting gains, and these commitments couldn’t have come at a better time. The 2005 team featured a host of experienced players, with just three recruits from the 2003 or 2004 classes playing key roles. Now, those players are the upperclassmen, so this class and a solid one from a year ago will provide the foundation for Baylor’s future.

Keeping Their Commitments

Though Hurricane Katrina’s impact was felt on the campuses of New Orleans and Tulane, at least a handful of players stuck to their commitments. A trio of seniors from Bellaire High in suburban Houston—Jim McGongile (New Orleans), Hunter Johnson (Tulane) and Drew Zizinia (Tulane)—weren’t sure initially if honoring their commitments was in their best interest, but after speaking with the coaching staffs of the two colleges, all three players are still bound for the Big Easy.

“Before I had heard from (New Orleans head coach Tom Walter), I was very worried as far as going there,” McGonigle said. “I started calling some of the other coaches but after UNO called me and gave me a report on their facilities, I thought that it would be a good choice.

“I was hoping to maybe help rebuild the program a little bit and maybe bring some new fans if we can get a good enough team going. I’m looking forward to helping New Orleans compete for a conference championship my freshman year and who knows what else after that.”

The players’ loyalty is commendable, and made an impression on the coaching staffs of Tulane and New Orleans.

“With the challenge we have faced this fall due to Hurricane Katrina, I couldn’t be more excited about this class,” Tulane coach Rick Jones said. “I am very proud of the fact that these young men and their families are excited about coming to Tulane and the great city of New Orleans.”

Recruiting Rations

• Virginia successfully signed one of New Jersey’s top prep players for the third year in a row, as Red Bank (N.J.) Catholic senior Ryan Kalish (76) made the decision to follow sophomore Sean Doolittle and freshman Shooter Hunt to Charlottesville. Kalish, a lefthanded pitcher and outfielder, is also a standout football player and was considering playing both sports at Rutgers. While football isn’t out of the question at Virginia, he expects to play only baseball as a freshman.

• Kalish was one of more than a dozen standout football players featured in the top 100. Riley Cooper (11) and Derrick Robinson (16) are toolsy outfielders who received several Division I offers to play both sports. Toby Gerhart (50) said he planned to play both sports in college, and had narrowed his list of schools to six, including Kansas, Stanford and Utah. Ferndale (Wash.) High’s Jake Locker is one of the most intriguing athletes in the class, though he failed to make the top 100 cut. A quarterback and righthanded pitcher whose fastball has been up to 94 mph, Locker signed with Washington.

• T.J. Warren (73) decided to wait until after the Nov. 17-21 Baseball America/Perfect Game World Wood Bat Association Fall Championship to make his college choice. Loyola Marymount was among the schools the 6-foot-5 outfielder from Vallejo, Calif., was considering.

• Texas signed two Florida high school players in top 100 talents Marcus Lemon (30), a shortstop from Eustis and the son of former major leaguer Chet Lemon, and Carmine Giardina (23), a lefthander from Valrico. The Longhorns roster hasn’t featured a Floridian since Jason Moore in 1998, coach Augie Garrido’s second year there. Texas also signed Clint Stubbs, the younger brother of junior center fielder and likely first-round pick Drew Stubbs.

• After summers that carried them across the country, Chris Duffy and D’Arby Myers elected to stay close to home when it came time to make their early commitments. Duffy, a first baseman/outfielder with plus raw power from Orlando’s Cypress Creek High, signed with Central Florida while Myers, a speedy outfielder from Los Angeles, made a verbal commitment to Southern California.

• Many Hollywood hopefuls head to California after high school for a chance at stardom, but Arizona State signee Tyler Hoechlin traded his hairspray for eye-black. Hoechlin starred in “7th Heaven” and “Road To Perdition” as a teen, but hoped to parlay his baseball talents into his next leading role.

• Oklahoma State signed lefthander Brett Anderson, the No. 6-rated player in the country. Some might figure netting the son of Cowboys head coach Frank Anderson wouldn’t take much effort, but the dad stayed out of it and had assistants Greg Evans and Billy Jones adhere to the same process they use to woo other prospects.

HEAD OF THE CLASS

The top 100 prospects for the class of 2006, as ranked by Perfect Game USA, with college commitments. Football prospects are noted in parentheses.

Rank

Name

Pos

Ht

Wt

B

T

High School

College

1

Jordan Walden

rhp

6-4

185

R

R

Mansfield HS, Arlington, Texas

Texas

2

Cody Johnson

of/1b

6-4

190

L

R

Mosley HS, Lynnhaven, Fla.

Florida State

3

Jason Place

of

6-3

205

R

R

Wren HS, Piedmont, S.C.

South Carolina

4

Kyle Drabek

rhp/ss

5-11

175

R

R

The Woodlands (Texas) HS

Undecided

5

Matt Latos

rhp

6-6

200

R

R

Coconut Creek (Fla.) HS

Undecided

6

Brett Anderson

lhp

6-3

205

L

L

Stillwater (Okla.) HS

Oklahoma State

7

Dellin Betances

rhp

6-9

215

R

R

Grand Street HS, New York

Undecided

8

Colton Willems

rhp

6-3

170

R

R

John Carroll HS, Fort Pierce, Fla.

Florida

9

Chris Tillman

rhp

6-5

185

R

R

Fountain Valley (Calif.) HS

Cal State Fullerton

10

Jeremy Jeffress

rhp

6-1

170

R

R

Halifax County HS, South Boston, Va.

Undecided

11

Riley Cooper

of

6-3

200

R

R

Clearwater (Fla.) Central Catholic HS

Undecided (FB)

12

Shawn Tolleson

rhp

6-2

215

R

R

Allen (Texas) HS

Baylor

13

Kasey Kiker

lhp

5-11

175

L

L

Russell County HS, Seale, Ala.

South Alabama

14

Chris Parmelee

1b

6-1

195

L

L

Chino Hills (Calif.) HS

Cal State Fullerton

15

Chris Marrero

3b

6-3

195

R

R

Monsignor Pace HS, Opa Locka, Fla.

Miami

16

Derrick Robinson

of

5-10

160

B

L

P.K. Yonge HS, Gainesville, Fla.

Florida (FB)

17

Ryan Adams

2b

6-0

180

R

R

Jesuit HS, New Orleans

Louisiana State

18

Jason Stoffel

rhp

6-2

195

R

R

Agoura (Calif.) HS

Arizona

19

Devin Shepherd

of

6-4

221

R

R

Oxnard (Calif.) HS

Oklahoma

20

Max Sapp

c/1b

6-2

210

L

R

Bishop Moore HS, Orlando

Florida State

21

Hank Conger

c/3b

6-0

205

B

R

Huntington Beach (Calif.) HS

Southern California

22

Mark Sobolewski

if

5-11

185

R

R

Sarasota (Fla.) HS

Miami

23

Carmine Giardina

lhp

6-3

185

R

L

Durant HS, Plant City, Fla.

Texas

24

Grant Green

ss

6-3

170

R

R

Canyon HS, Anaheim

Southern California

25

Aaron Miller

lhp/of

6-3

190

L

L

Channelview (Texas) HS

Baylor

26

Torre Langley

c

5-9

170

R

R

Alexander HS, Douglasville, Ga.

Georgia Tech

27

Nic Akins

ss

6-0

175

R

R

Los Angeles (Calif.) HS

San Diego State

28

David Christensen

of

6-1

190

R

R

Douglas HS, Parkland, Fla.

Miami

29

Nathan Bridges

3b/2b

6-1

170

R

R

Villa Park (Calif.) HS

Cal State Fullerton

30

Marcus Lemon

ss

5-10

155

L

R

Eustis (Fla.) HS

Texas

31

Cory Rasmus

rhp

6-0

198

R

R

Russell County HS, Seale, Ala.

Auburn

32

Clayton Kershaw

lhp

6-3

210

L

L

Highland Park HS, Dallas

Texas A&M

33

Ryan Jackson

ss

6-2

165

B

R

Gulliver Prep, Miami

Miami

34

Jeff Rapoport

of

5-11

173

R

R

Westlake (Calif.) HS

UCLA

35

Bryan Morgado

lhp

6-1

175

L

L

Florida Christian HS, Miami

Tennessee

36

Nathan Karns

rhp

6-3

198

R

R

Martin HS, Arlington, Texas

Texas

37

Billy Rowell

3b

6-4

195

L

R

Bishop Eustace Prep, Pennsauken, N.J.

Alabama

38

Taylor Hammack

lhp

6-2

210

L

L

Angleton (Texas) HS

Texas

39

Brandon Belt

lhp

6-3

175

L

L

Hudson HS, Lufkin, Texas

Texas

40

Josh Thrailkill

rhp

6-4

180

R

R

T.C. Roberson HS, Arden, N.C.

Clemson

41

Travis Snider

of

6-2

220

L

L

Jackson HS, Mill Creek, Wash.

Arizona State

42

Drew Poulk

of

6-3

185

R

R

West Carteret HS, Morehead City, N.C.

North Carolina

43

Michael Demperio

2b

5-11

165

R

R

Kell HS, Marietta, Ga.

Texas

44

Jared Mitchell

of

6-0

195

L

L

Westgate HS, New Iberia, La.

Undecided (FB)

45

Nick Fuller

rhp

6-1

175

R

R

Kell HS, Marietta, Ga.

South Carolina

46

Josh Ravin

rhp

6-3

180

R

R

Chatsworth (Calif.) HS

Undecided

47

Graham Stoneburner

ss/rhp

6-0

165

R

R

Mills Godwin HS, Richmond

Clemson

48

D’Vontrey Richardson

of

6-2

200

R

R

Lee County HS, Leesburg, Ga.

Florida State (FB)

49

Drew Rundle

of

6-2

160

L

L

Bend (Ore.) HS

Arizona

50

Toby Gerhart

of

6-1

218

R

R

Norco (Calif.) HS

Undecided (FB)

51

Robbie Alcombrack

c

6-0

200

R

R

Bear River HS, Grass Valley, Calif.

Arizona State

52

Andrew Clark

1b

6-2

195

L

L

New Palestine (Ind.) HS

Mississippi

53

Ross Smith

of

6-2

185

R

R

Dodge HS, Eastman, Ga.

Auburn

54

Taylor Thompson

rhp

6-4

210

R

R

Saint James School, Montgomery

Auburn

55

Brandon Holden

rhp

6-3

178

R

R

Douglas HS, Parkland, Fla.

Florida

56

Addison Johnson

of

5-10

170

L

L

North Forsyth HS, Winston-Salem, N.C.

Clemson

57

Chad Arnold

rhp

6-4

175

R

R

South Ridge HS, Kennewick, Wash.

Washington State

58

Ryan Jenkins

rhp

6-5

195

R

R

Cypress Falls HS, Houston

Baylor

59

James Gillheeney

lhp

6-1

176

L

L

Bishop Hendricken HS, Warwick, R.I.

North Carolina State

60

Cedric Hunter

of

6-0

170

L

L

Martin Luther King HS, Lithonia, Ga.

Undecided

61

Jason Taylor

ss

6-1

195

R

R

Kellam HS, Virginia Beach

Clemson

62

Matthew Petiton

lhp

6-0

170

L

L

Garden City (N.Y.) HS

North Carolina

63

Andy Oliver

lhp

6-3

200

L

L

Vermilion (Ohio) HS

Oklahoma State

64

Dustin Dickerson

1b

6-4

180

L

R

Midway HS, Henrietta, Texas

Baylor

65

Del Howell

lhp

6-4

180

L

L

American Christian Academy, Northport, Ala.

Alabama

66

Kyle Snyder

rhp

6-2

170

R

R

Wellington (Fla.) HS

Miami

67

Tommy Pham

if/rhp

6-2

185

L

R

Durango HS, Las Vegas

Cal State Fullerton

68

Austin Rauch

c

6-3

205

B

R

El Capitan HS, Lakeside, Calif.

San Diego State

69

Jonathan Edwards

of

6-4

210

R

R

Keller (Texas) HS

Undecided

70

Brandon May

if

6-0

180

R

R

Lassiter HS, Marietta, Ga.

Alabama

71

Austin Evans

rhp

6-3

185

R

R

Chamberlain HS, Tampa

Alabama

72

Jacob Brigham

rhp

6-2

185

B

R

Central Florida Christian, Ocoee, Fla.

Central Florida

73

T.J. Warren

of

6-4

180

R

R

Bethel HS, Vallejo, Calif.

Undecided

74

Josh Prince

ss/of

6-1

175

R

R

Barbe HS, Lake Charles, La.

Texas

75

Michael Morrison

rhp

6-1

180

R

R

Cypress (Calif.) HS

Cal State Fullerton

76

Ryan Kalish

of

6-1

190

L

L

Red Bank (N.J.) Catholic HS

Virginia

77

Jonathan Pigott

of

6-2

175

R

R

Seabreeze HS, Daytona Beach, Fla.

Florida

78

Stephen Englund

ss

6-2

185

R

R

Bellevue (Wash.) HS

Washington State

79

Kyler Burke

of/lhp

6-3

197

L

L

Ooltewah (Tenn.) HS

Vanderbilt

80

Lars Anderson

1b/of

6-4

190

L

L

Jesuit HS, Fair Oaks, Calif.

California

81

Brent Brewer

of

6-0

180

R

R

Sandy Creek HS, Tyrone, Ga.

Undecided (FB)

82

Charles Brewer

rhp

6-4

180

R

R

Chaparral HS, Scottsdale, Ariz.

UCLA

83

Chase Anderson

rhp

6-5

235

R

R

Mandarin HS, Jacksonville, Fla.

Undecided (FB)

84

Justin Reed

of

5-11

190

L

R

Hillcrest Christian HS, Jackson, Miss.

Mississippi (FB)

85

Kendal Volz

rhp

6-3

190

R

R

Smithson Valley HS, Spring Branch, Texas

Baylor

86

Cam Nobles

lhp

5-11

165

L

L

Jackson HS, Mill Creek, Wash.

Washington

87

Brandt Walker

rhp

6-2

165

R

R

Saint Stephen’s Episcopal HS, Austin, Texas

Stanford

88

A.J. Wirnsberger

3b

6-1

175

B

R

Tuscaloosa County HS, Northport, Ala.

Georgia Southern

89

Diego Seastrunk

if

5-8

180

B

R

Channelview (Texas) HS

Rice

90

Travis Tartamella

c

6-0

187

R

R

Los Osos HS, Alta Loma, Calif.

Pepperdine

91

Gabby Saade

2b

5-10

175

R

R

Gulliver Prep, Miami

Unavailable

92

Daniel Cropper

rhp

6-4

180

R

R

Snow Hill (Md.) HS

UNC Wilmington

93

Sam Dyson

rhp

6-1

170

R

R

Jesuit HS, Tampa

South Carolina

94

John Bivens

of

6-1

195

L

R

Prince George (Va.) HS

Undecided

95

Preston Claiborne

rhp/3b

6-3

190

R

R

Newman Smith HS, Carrollton, Texas

Tulane

96

Erik Castro

c

6-1

175

L

R

Fallbrook (Calif.) HS

Arizona

97

Billy Bullock

rhp

6-6

210

R

R

Riverview (Fla.) HS

Florida

98

Kevin Cravey

ss

6-1

170

R

R

Klein Oak HS, Spring, Texas

Texas A&M

99

Clint Franklin

rhp

6-3

175

R

R

Lyman HS, Longwood, Fla.

Florida

100

Gavin Brooks

lhp

6-2

190

L

L

Rancho Buena Vista HS, Vista, Calif.

UCLA

 
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