DURHAM, N.C.—The back-to-back Big 12 Champion Texas A&M baseball team’s 2008 recruiting class was ranked sixth nationally by Baseball America, the publication announced.
The 14-member incoming class, which is on campus and participating in fall workouts, consists of eight freshmen and six transfers.
“This honor is a credit to the tireless work put in by (Assistant Coaches) Matt (Deggs) and Jeremy (Talbot),” head coach Rob Childress said. “They put in countless hours both on- and off-campus trying to find guys that not only are great players that fit our style of baseball, but are great people too.”
The eight-member freshman class will help absorb the loss of All-Americans Jose Duran and Blake Stouffer in the middle of the diamond. Childress and his staff have brought in three infielders, Scott Arthur (Spring/Klein Oak), Zack Luther (Laguna Niguel, Calif./Aliso Viejo) and Adam Smith (Spring/Klein). Randall Thorpe (Grapevine/Colleyville Heritage) will battle for a spot in the outfield, while four pitchers—Denny Clement (Bartlesville, Okla./Cascia Prep), Ross Hales (Baytown/Barbers Hill), Ross Stripling (Southlake/Carroll) and Estevan Uriegas (Round Rock/Westwood)—bolster an already deep and talented mound corps.
Junior infielder Nick Anders (College Station/Temple College) is battling for a starting position at third base, as is Joe Patterson (Tulsa, Okla./Seminole College) at catcher and Brett Parsons (The Woodlands/Navarro College) and Dylan Petrich (Wichita, Kan./Butler CC) in the outfield. Pitchers Tyler Dyer (Deer Park/San Jacinto College) and Chad Sherman (Bullard/Panola College) have also made strong contributions in the fall.
Arizona State topped the rankings, followed by Vanderbilt, Georgia, Kentucky and Florida. The Aggies were the highest ranked team from both the Big 12 and the state of Texas.
Along with the newcomers, A&M returns 15 letterwinners, four position starters and nine pitchers from a 2008 squad that won the Big 12 regular-season title and the NCAA College Station Regional championship. The Aggies conclude off-season workouts with the annual Fall World Series, set to begin on Oct. 22 at Olsen Field.
“The recognition is nice, but the bottom line is it doesn’t automatically equal a win on the field,” Childress said. “We have been working hard every day to get better and to reach our goal of being the last team standing in Omaha.”
BASEBALL AMERICA’S 2008 RECRUITING CLASS RANKINGS
1. Arizona State
6. Texas A&M
9. Texas Christian
15. Cal State Fullerton
16. Wichita State
17. Fresno State
19. Oklahoma State
22. Southern California
23. North Carolina State
24. Florida State