COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M’s 2012 volleyball recruiting class is ranked 20th in the nation, according to PrepVolleyball.com.
A&M’s recruiting class consists of seven highly acclaimed and versatile athletes:
Player Pos. Ht. Hometown (High School) Club Team
Jazzmin Babers MB 6-1 Waco, Texas (Midway) Austin Juniors
Darby Graff MB 6-1 Hallsville, Texas (Hallsville) East Texas Juniors
Angela Lowak OH 5-11 New Braunfels (New Braunfels) Austin Juniors
Sierra Patrick OH 5-10 Austin, Texas (Lake Travis) Austin Juniors
Kate Praslicka DS/S 5-8 Waxahachie, Texas (Waxahachie) Skyline Juniors
Shelby Sullivan MB 6-1 Richardson, Texas (J.J. Pearce) Texas Advantage
Shelbi Vaughan OH/MB 6-2 Mansfield, Texas (Mansfield Legacy) Tejas
“This recruiting class is definitely deserving of a top-20 ranking,” said A&M head coach Laurie Corbelli, who is entering her 20th season at the helm of the Aggies. “I can’t say I didn’t think that it would come in a little higher given their size, their athletic ability and their accomplishments in volleyball. Many of them also have great accomplishments in track in field, which lends itself to jumping and throwing. The class includes a world-class discus thrower, a high school state champion in the high jump and two youth national team athletes. Those are only a few of the honors, and those are really nice accolades to have.”
PrepVolleyball.com‘s John Tawa compiled and published the rankings after consulting more than 120 college coaches, who were instructed “not to judge based on immediate impact during the 2012 season, but to assess based on the cumulative impact the class could make in 4-5 years at the school.”
Although A&M has also added setter transfer Mariah Agre from New Mexico, the ranking is based solely on players making their initial appearance in a four-year program.
The following is Tawa’s take on A&M’s incoming freshman class:
“The athletic Aggie class includes three players from last year’s 17 Open National Champions at Austin Juniors with Babers, Lowak, and Patrick. Babers is a high flyer with outstanding blocking instincts who has only been playing high-level club volleyball for a short time but was still an All-Tournament selection in Atlanta last year. Lowak is a six-rotation outside hitter who reminds Corbelli of graduating senior Kelsey Black with her quick swing, jumping ability, and spirited play. Patrick, the daughter of two Olympic Track and Field athletes, is the No. 64 Senior Ace with a long list of high school and club accomplishments. She is an explosive leaper with an ability to score in pressure situations. Sullivan, a former member of the USA Youth National Team, will bring a high level of consistency and experience as a middle blocker who can score in front of and behind the setter. Vaughan recently broke the National High School record in the Discus with a throw of 191-6; she is an all-state selection in volleyball and a very powerful athlete who will compete in Volleyball and Track and Field for the Aggies. Graff also is a multi-sport athlete who won the Texas 4A High Jump this season and is also an all-state middle blocker. Graff’s explosiveness will be an asset in the middle. Praslicka is another First Team All-State recruit for A&M and will add depth with her quickness, ball control and tenacity. This class looks to compete right away along with five returning starters who are hungry to push deep into the NCAA playoffs next fall.”
Corbelli added, “I can foresee us possibly using at least two or three of them on a full-time basis this season. We have 10 returners who are markedly improved from last fall, yet I see these athletes as coming in and really challenging for spots. I think that many of them will make their mark sooner than later.
“Because this class already is so athletic and accomplished, part of the excitement for me is not just getting them as freshmen but working with them daily and seeing them continue to develop into the athletes and volleyball players that they are going to be when they are 20 and 21 years old. The excitement really lies in the future for them. They are going to be a huge part of Texas A&M volleyball. This year as freshman, they will play a big part, but they are going to be the leaders of Texas A&M volleyball through 2015.”
A&M’s class is the third highest ranked recruiting class in the Southeastern Conference, behind No. 9 Florida and No. 15 Kentucky. For the complete list of The Top 30 Collegiate Recruiting Classes of 2012, go to PrepVolleyball.com.
The Aggies report August 2 and have their first official practice on August 3. Corbelli will be aiming for her 500th career victory as a head coach -- including her 400th victory at A&M -- when the Aggies make their season debut against Texas State on August 24 at Reed Arena.