Recruiting is the lifeblood of every program in college baseball. After presenting the Top 25 recruiting classes and the 10 classes that just missed the cut, Baseball America is breaking down every class in several of the biggest conferences in the country.
Presented here is team-by-team analysis for the SEC, which again dominated the rankings. SEC schools landed four of the top five classes in the country and 11 of the 14 schools in the conference brought in Top 25 classes. Additionally, Missouri’s class landed in the 10 classes that just missed the rankings. Links to full breakdowns for those teams can be found below, as well as a snapshot view of the class. Full breakdowns for the teams that didn’t make the rankings can be found here.
Player rankings refer to the 2021 BA 500, which included all draft-eligible players. Players transferring from four-year schools were not considered for the recruiting class rankings.
The Crimson Tide have recruited well since coach Brad Bohannon arrived in Tuscaloosa. This class takes it to another level, however, as Alabama has its first top-10 class since 2012. Hayslip is an excellent athlete who drew scholarship offers as a football player before quitting the sport to focus on baseball. Catcher Dominic Tamez, a junior college transfer, has solid righthanded power and is a good defender. Righthander Luke Holman (204) projects to be a weekend starter in the future thanks to his exciting three-pitch arsenal. Lefthander Brandon Clarke (233) and righthander Ben Hess have powerful fastball-breaking ball combinations.
The Razorbacks continue to recruit well and this year their class is headlined by Stovall, the second-highest ranked prep player on the BA 500 not to sign. He got first-round consideration but instead came to Arkansas, where he figures to make an immediate impact in the lineup. Infielders Drake Varnado (195) and Kendall Diggs bring intriguing offensive potential and outfielder Gabriel D’Arcy (463) stands out for his athleticism. On the mound, lefthander Hagen Smith (168) is coming off an outstanding spring and righthanders Nick Moten (287), Brady Tygart (407) and Jack Faherty all have powerful, mid-90s fastballs.
Recruiting coordinator: Karl Nonemaker
Top recruit: Chase Allsup, RHP
The Tigers this year took a smaller number of prep players, instead playing heavily in the transfer market for both players from four-year schools and junior colleges. The result is an exciting group of newcomers, but a traditional recruiting class that finished outside the Top 25 for the first time since 2015.
Righthander Chase Allsup came on strong over the last year as his fastball reached the mid 90s. He throws both a curveball and a slider, with the slider the more advanced of the two breaking balls. Under coach Butch Thompson, Auburn has consistently developed high-end pitching and Allsup could be the next in that pipeline. Righthanders Ben Bosse and Parker Carlson give the class two more intriguing arms. Bosse has a good fastball-curveball combination and Carlson offers exciting projection. Outfielder Mike Bello stands out for his lefthanded swing and profiles as a corner outfielder. He has good bat-to-ball skills and solid power potential. Seaver Sheets, the son of former all-star Ben Sheets, has two-way potential as an infielder and righthander. His tools play well at the top of the lineup offensively and on the mound he can run his fastball into the low 90s.
Blake Rambusch this spring hit .444/.563/.637 with 33 stolen bases for Grayson (Texas) JC. His speed plays well on the bases and he’s a versatile defender who can play anywhere up the middle. Infielder Mason Land, another junior college transfer, has a good lefthanded swing and makes a lot of hard contact.
Florida’s class last year ranked No. 1 on signing day, but three members of that group were drafted in the first 30 picks. The Gators slipped out of the top spot as a result, but still extended their record streak of top-five recruiting classes to nine years. Coppola might remind Florida fans of A.J. Puk and offers a lot to dream on. Joining him is an array of impressive newcomers on the mound, including lefthander Phillip Abner (106) and righthanders Jac Caglianone (122), Brandon Neely (154), Karl Hartman (312) and Kyle Larsen. Among position players, outfielders Michael Robertson (92), who has game-breaking speed, Ty Evans (187) and Corey Robinson (376) stand out. Catcher Rene Lastres (262) is a solid defender and infielder Deric Fabian, the younger brother of center fielder Jud Fabian, adds exciting athleticism.
Georgia was one of the big winners of the draft with powerful righthanders Ross and Coleman Willis (120) making it to campus—as well as righthander Jonathan Cannon returning for his third season. Ross was one of the top junior college pitchers in the class and has a big, powerful fastball that gets into the upper 90s. Willis has a more projectable look and a promising three-pitch arsenal. Cole Wagner and Glenn Green both have two-way ability and should quickly be able to find a role somewhere on the diamond for the Bulldogs.
Recruiting coordinator: Will Coggin
Top recruit: Travis Smith, RHP (No. 238)
The Wildcats this summer hit the transfer portal hard, adding eight players transferring from four-year schools. With so many older newcomers in the mix, Kentucky has a smaller traditional recruiting class, but still added some exciting talent.
Smith was one of the class’ top prep talents in Kentucky and has a projectable frame at 6-foot-4, 200 pounds. The Wildcats will have to wait to see him in action until 2023, however, as he this summer had Tommy John surgery. When healthy, his fastball sits around 90 mph and both his breaking ball and changeup show promise. Lefthander Reed Gannon also is projectable but will be out this spring as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. Before his injury, he showed a good fastball-slider combination. Righthander Colby Frieda has a projectable look at 6-foot-3, 195 pounds and can run his fastball up to 93 mph with some riding life. Christian Howe this spring was named small school player of the year by MaxPreps after a sensational season that saw him hit .547 with 21 home runs. But his upside is greater on the mound, where the righthander can run his fastball up to 92 mph.
Infielder James McCoy is a switch-hitter with a projectable build at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds. He creates good bat speed that portends even more power in time. Michael Dallas has good speed and athleticism that play well up the middle. The righthanded hitter also has some pop in his bat. Infielder Jase Felker, the lone junior college transfer in the class, is coming off an impressive season at the plate and adds a strong righthanded bat and solid speed to the lineup.
The Tigers took a hit in the draft, losing four high-profile commits, but new head coach Jay Johnson still has a strong group of newcomers in his first season. While LSU this summer hit the transfer portal hard, the high school and junior college recruits primarily were recruited by the previous staff before Paul Mainieri’s retirement. Leto and Connor Simon (418) both have two-way ability but stand out more for their all-around offensive talents. Outfielders Josh Pearson and Joshua Stevenson bring speed and hittability to the lineup. Righthanders Grant Taylor (381) and Cole Lansville (468) have powerful fastball-curveball combinations.
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With nearly every position player returning from this spring’s super regional team, Ole Miss went heavy on pitching in its recruiting class. Elliott stands out for his strong frame and pitchability. Righthanders Dylan DeLucia and Matt Parenteau, both junior college transfers, can quickly take on roles on the Ole Miss staff. John Kramer has a quick lefthanded swing and profiles well in an outfield corner. Tywone Malone is the latest Rebel to do the football-baseball double and on the diamond the first baseman has huge raw righthanded power.
Coming off the first national championship in program history, Mississippi State has another strong recruiting class under head coach Chris Lemonis and Gautreau. Walling, a junior college transfer, saw his stuff make a jump in the last year, seeing his fastball reach 98 mph while also improving his control. Lefthander Pico Kohn (265) has a projectable 6-foot-5, 205-pound frame and a long track record of success. Righthander Jack Walker (489) is coming off an outstanding spring and can make an immediate impact. Third baseman Aaron Downs (422) has big-time raw tools and Matt Corder, another junior college transfer, brings athleticism and versatility.
Mizzou hit the transfer portal hard as it looks to reset following a last-place finish in the SEC, but it also brings in a strong recruiting class. Colon and outfielders JuJu Stevens (310) and Carlos Peña (426) all drew draft interest but made it to campus and bring significant upside to Columbia. Colon stands out most for his defensive ability and is the Tigers’ shortstop of the future. Stevens and Pena, however, are more offensive oriented. Stevens has the speed for center field, while Pena profiles in right field. Mizzou’s transfer class is more focused on the mound, but it does add some intriguing arms through its traditional recruiting class as well, including lefthanders Tony Neubeck and Nathan Landry.
South Carolina lands another solid recruiting class, anchored by some exciting, high-upside position players. Braswell has two-way ability, but his biggest impact is expected to come as a position player, where he has a well-rounded skill set. Outfielder Thaddeus Ector (325), infielder Vytas Valincius (485) and infielder Carson Hornung bring plenty of promise offensively, particularly as power hitters. Lefthander Michael Esposito and righthander James Hicks, both junior college transfers, should quickly provide impact on the mound.
The Volunteers have been recruiting well under coach Tony Vitello and Elander, who came to Knoxville in 2017. They broke through with a top-20 class in 2020, but their 2021 class takes it to another level. Burns has the stuff to make an immediate impact in Knoxville—his fastball touches 100 mph and his offspeed stuff is solid. Chris Moore (298), James McCracken and Kruise Newman all have exciting two-way upside. Shortstop Seth Stephenson (245), a junior college transfer, stands out for his speed and athleticism, while first baseman Blake Burke (264) adds a powerful lefthanded bat to the lineup.
After Jim Schlossnagle was hired in June to take over the program, Texas A&M hit the transfer portal as hard as any program in the country. But the new staff also will get an influx of talent—especially on the mound—from this year’s recruiting class, which was largely put together by the previous staff. Cortez was committed to Arizona until the Wildcats’ own coaching change this summer and brings a high-upside, fast arm to College Station. Righthander Rawley Hector (413) stands out for his pitchability and solid three-pitch mix. Lefthander Ryan Prager also has advanced pitchability and righthanders Landon Ellington and Will Rizzo have powerful fastballs. Robert Hogan, a junior college transfer, has two-way ability and brings power at both positions.
The Commodores again land an elite class, as this is their fifth straight to land in the top five. Vanderbilt joins Florida as the only programs to bring in so many consecutive top-five classes. Diaz was drafted in the 12th round by the D-backs but did not sign and instead now headlines the Vanderbilt newcomers. He has an advanced feel for the game and a well-rounded skill set, doing a bit of everything on the diamond. Jonathan Vastine (207) also is a good athlete whose skill set fits up the middle. The Commodores have a bevy of exciting freshmen pitchers, including lefthanders Carter Holton (133), Devin Futrell (304) and Ryan Ginther (329) and righthanders Greysen Carter (165) and Miles Langhorne (390).