COLLEGE STATION – Texas A&M men’s golf head coach J.T. Higgins announced Thursday the signing of five talented golfers who will join the program in the fall of 2014.
The impressive class consists of standouts Connor Black (Humble, Texas), Cameron Champ (Sacramento, Calif.), Andrew Paysse (Temple, Texas), Peter Thorseth (Richmond, Texas) and Jacob Veerman (Sugar Land, Texas).
“This is probably the best class we have ever signed,” Higgins said of the group. “Three Rolex All-Americans, the Texas State High School Champion and a player who we think has the talent to compete with anyone in the nation. I think it is a unique group because of their incredible experience but at the same time, I don’t think any of them have hit their peak. There is a lot of room for growth and improvement and that has us really excited about the future of our program. It is a group that has competed and won at an elite level, including internationally, and knows what it takes to win championships.”
The group will come to Aggieland and join a program that has stood out among the best in college golf since winning the 2009 National Championship. Texas A&M men’s golf stands as the only program in the country to finish in the top 15 at the NCAA Championship each of the last six seasons.
“All five of them signed up knowing they were coming in with other outstanding players,” Higgins added. “I think that says a lot about their competitiveness and confidence. They know that only five guys can play but instead of backing away from the challenge, they have embraced it. They like the idea of what they can achieve at Texas A&M together and I like that attitude. I look forward to coaching players who welcome the fight and want to earn their playing time. This is a big class, bigger than we wanted, but we could not pass on players with this kind of talent, mindset and experience. This group ensures that we will be competitive at a very high level into the foreseeable future and with the toughness they have already displayed, there is no limit to what they can achieve.”
6-0 • 165 lbs
Humble, Texas / Humble Summer Creek High School
A three-time Rolex All-American (2011, 2012 and 2013) … Finished second at the 2013 Texas 4A State Championship … Won the 2011 Western Junior Championship … Ranked as the No. 23 rank player in the nation in the class of 2014 and No. 5 in the state of Texas by the Polo Golf Rankings … Had climbed to as high as No. 1 during a stellar junior career … Son of Laurie and Harvey Black.
Higgins on Black:
“Connor is one of the best and most experienced players in the country. He hits his wedges like a tour player and has an exceptional short game. He is a terrific ball-striker and plays with maturity and poise beyond his years. He has played in over two dozen major junior and amateur events including the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Junior Championships and I believe that experience will serve him well in college.”
6-0 • 175 lbs
Sacramento, California / Heritage Peak Charter School
A two-time Rolex All-American (2012 and 2013) … Member of 2012 Junior PGA Ryder Cup Team and the 2013 Toyota Junior World Cup Team … Earned runner-up at both the 2012 PGA Junior Championship and the 2012 Ping Invitational … Ranked No. 7 nationally (No. 1 in California) by Golfweek, No. 14 nationally (No. 2 in California) by Polo Junior Golf Rankings and No. 4 nationally (No. 1 in California) by Junior Golfscorboard … Son of Lisa and Jeff Champ … Has a sister, Madison.
Higgins on Champ:
“In Cameron, we are adding an incredible talent who will make an immediate impact on our team. He is one of, if not the, very best player in the nation and is capable of overpowering a golf course. Cam is one of the longest hitters I have ever seen and he hits it remarkably straight for someone who generates that much speed. Long and straight is a great combination for this game. He has competed against the top players in the world, representing the U.S. twice, and played in the best junior and amateur events around the country. That experience is invaluable and should help him from the moment he steps foot on campus.”
5-10 • 185 lbs
Temple, Texas / Belton High School (Belton, Texas)
2013 Texas 5A State Champion and District 8-5A Champion for coach Jim Hellums at Belton HS … Member of 2013 Jackie Burke Cup Team … Qualified for 2012 & 2013 Texas State Amateur Championship … Belton High School golf team MVP 2011, 2012, 2013 … Ranked by Golfweek Magazine as the No. 74 player in the nation (No. 10 in Texas) … Comes from a big Aggie family, including parents Kenny (`87) and Becky (`89) Paysse … Has two brothers Jonathan (A&M Class of `15) and William … Two uncles (Joe Kelsey `74 and Charlie Kimmey `81), an aunt (Kathy Kimmey `81) and four cousins (Travis `10, Grant `13 and Caroline `15 Chappell and Kelli Kimmey O’Donnell `12) all attended Texas A&M … Swing coach is Brad Lardon at Miramont Golf Club.
Higgins on Paysse:
“We always want the best players in Texas to come to Texas A&M and Andrew joins a long line of Texas State High School Champions to play for the Aggies. The most recent being current player Ty Dunlap. The names on that trophy are pretty impressive and we are thrilled that Andrew will be part of our team. He is a terrific player. He has a great golf swing – simple and compact – that holds up well under pressure. He works with local pro Brad Lardon and comes from a long line of great Ags who are so proud he is coming to A&M.”
5-10 • 155 lbs
Richmond, Texas / Pope John XXIII High School (Katy, Texas)
A 2013 Rolex All-American … Earned Medalist honors at the 2013 AJGA Goodman Networks Junior Championship at Traditions Golf Club in Bryan … Member of Wyndham Cup West Team (East-West AJGA All-Star Matches) … Eight Top 10 finishes in AJGA events … Ranked as the No. 16 player in the nation (No. 3 in Texas) in the Class of `14 by Polo Junior Golf Rankings … Son Lisa and Jay Thorseth … Brother William graduated from A&M in 2010 with a degree in petroleum engineering.
Higgins on Thorseth:
“Peter has really come into his own this year, becoming one of the best players in the country, winning the AJGA event here at Traditions and playing in four other major junior events. On top of that, he spent two years of high school in England competing against the best players over there as well. He is a terrific wedge player, chipper and putter who can score on any course and should be able to compete for playing time immediately.”
6-3 • 200 lbs
Sugarland, Texas / Clements High School
Honored as 2012 Texas 5A All-State … Won district champion accolades in 2011 … Ranked No. 207 in nation (No. 24 in Texas) in Class of `14 by Junior Golf Scoreboard … Son of Francisca & Johan Veerman …
Brother, Johannes, is a senior on the Aggie golf team and sister, Elisabeth, also attends Texas A&M.
Higgins on Veerman:
“Jacob is the least experienced of this class but man, can he hit a golf ball. He is big and strong and hits it a mile. He has a beautiful, fluid swing and is really good around the greens. The similarities between him and his brother are amazing – their walk, posture, mannerisms, and golf swing – they could be twins, only separated by five years. He is raw right now but I think he has the potential to be every bit as good as any player in this class. I’m excited to see him develop.”