The Texas A&M men’s golf team earned its highest preseason ranking in school history on Wednesday, as the Aggies debuted at No. 6 in the first edition of this year’s Golf World/Nike Golf Division I Coaches’ Poll.
A&M’s previous high was No. 7 prior to the 2007 and 2010 seasons.
“It is nice to be ranked so high to start the season,” head coach J.T. Higgins said. “I think that is mostly due to the success we have had over the last few years and I appreciate that other coaches respect that; however, we have a lot of work to do to live up to that ranking. It’s early and we have to replace a lot of experienced players, so I am not sure where we belong right now. But I think we have the ability to be that kind of team by the end of the year.”
The Aggies enter the year as one of just four programs nationally to have advanced to the last four NCAA finals, and join Oklahoma State, USC and Illinois as the only schools to post four straight top-15 finishes at nationals.
Higgins, entering his 11th season at A&M, returns four letterwinners from a 2011 team that won two tournaments and finished ninth at the NCAA Championships.
Leading the charge into 2012 for the Aggies will be a pair of two-time All-Americans, senior Jordan Russell (College Station) and junior Cameron Peck (Olympia, Wash.). Also back are senior Geoff Shaw (Edmond, Okla.); juniors Case Cochran (Paducah, Ky.) and Drew Evans (Dallas); and sophomore Ryan Kelley (The Woodlands).
A pair of redshirts, sophomore Jade Scott (Daingerfield) and Greg Yates (Mansfield) will join three newcomers to the program—sophomore Johannes Veerman (Sugar Land), a transfer from the University of Tulsa, and freshmen Tyler Dunlap (Westlake) and Andrew Lister (San Diego, Calif.).
The Aggies, who will play six tournaments in the state of Texas this year, open the 2011-12 campaign Sept. 26-28 at the Husky Invitational outside Seattle.
2011-12 Golf World/Nike Golf Preseason Coaches’ Poll (Aug. 31)
Rk Team (1st place votes)
1. UCLA (8)
2. Oklahoma State (9)
4. Georgia Tech
5. Texas (1)
6. TEXAS A&M
14. San Diego State
20. Ohio State
22. Augusta State (1)
23. Texas Tech