A down year on the baseball diamond did not keep South Carolina from excelling on the recruiting trail.
According to Collegiate Baseball, the Gamecocks signed the No. 2 class in the country for 2015. Perfect Game ranked the USC class No. 8 in the nation.
South Carolina brought in 19 newcomers, including eight players who have been selected in the MLB draft. Of the first-year players, seven are from junior college and 12 are straight out of high school.
After missing out on the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1999, USC coach Chad Holbrook said he knew he had to find immediate help. He believes he did.
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“This recruiting class is important because we had a difficult time last year, we had a difficult season,” Holbrook said. “We also lost a couple of key players in Kyle Martin and Max Schrock and Jack Wynkoop and, obviously, Wil Crowe probably being out this season with an injury.”
The Gamecocksfinished their second weekend of fall scrimmages this past Sunday, and Holbrook has been impressed by what he has seen.
“It was very important for this class to be a very good one, and they haven’t done anything since they’ve been on campus to disappoint me in the way that they’ve worked, their work ethic, camaraderie and the way that they performed in the scrimmages,” he said. “You hate to put a label on a class or a group of kids, but, thus far, I can see why some others thought they were ranked so highly.”
Holbrook said several of the newcomers turned down six-figure signing bonuses to play for the Gamecocks.
Outfielder Danny Blair, catcher Chris Cullen, pitcher Cody Morris, outfielder DJ Neal and infielder LT Tolbert were ranked as top 250 overall prospects for the 2015 MLB draft by either Perfect Game or Baseball America.
In addition, South Carolina’s 2016 recruiting class is ranked No. 1 in the nation, according to Perfect Game.
“This program is one of the best in the country, and it’s going to be that way for a long period of time,” Holbrook said.
Baseball recruiting rankings
South Carolina baseball’s 2015 recruiting class has been ranked No. 2 in the nation by Collegiate Baseball.
2. SOUTH CAROLINA
3. Mississippi St.
4. Georgia Tech
7. Louisiana State
9. South Florida
12. Oregon State
16. North Carolina
18. Texas Christian
USC’S 2015 recruiting class
Kyle Anderson – LHP - Evans, Ga. (Evans HS)
Danny Blair – OF - Bel Air, Md. (IMG Academy, Fla.)
Colie Bowers - RHP - Lexington (USC Sumter)
Jonah Bride – INF - Owasso, Okla. (Neosho JC, Kan.)
Chris Cullen – C - Cumming, Ga. (West Forsyth HS)
Ross Grosvenor - 1B - Franklin, Tenn. (Walters State CC)
Hayden Heflin – RHP - Summerville (Spartanburg Methodist College)
Adam Hill – RHP - Anderson (T.L. Hanna HS)
TJ Hopkins – OF - Summerville (Summerville HS)
John Jones – C - Orlando, Fla. (State College of Florida)
Cody Morris – RHP - Laurel, Md. (Reservoir HS)
DJ Neal – OF - Stone Mountain, Ga. (Stephenson HS)
Hank Nichols – LHP - Greenville (J.L. Mann HS)
Colton Provey – RHP - Columbia, Tenn. (Walters State CC)
Harrison Smith – RHP - Mt. Pleasant (Wando HS)
Dom Thompson-Williams – OF - Sioux City, Iowa (Iowa Western CC)
LT Tolbert – INF - Piedmont (IMG Academy, (Fla.))
Braden Webb – RHP - Owasso, Okla. (Owasso HS)