South Carolina associate head baseball coach Chad Holbrook can exhale after this week's Major League Baseball Draft.
The draft ended Wednesday afternoon, and the final toll on the USC recruiting class for 2011 shows eight players selected, 10 if you count football recruits Shon Carson (44th, Reds) and Ahmad Christian (46th, Brewers).
Holbrook, the Gamecocks' lead recruiter, watched closely as he saw the class he so carefully crafted be picked apart by the men with the checkbooks.
"I was on the phone with all our high school kids that were drafted, congratulating them and talking about the next step," Holbrook said Wednesday. "Those conversations go on every single day. We can't wait for our season to be over, or we'll be left without the players we need for the following season. That's something we work on every day. We have to stay in touch with those guys to let them know how important they are to the future of our baseball program."
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Two of the recruits who in all likelihood won't be part of that future are RHP Taylor Guerrieri (1st, Rays) and OF Brian Goodwin (supp, Nationals). They are expected to sign for larger bonuses.
But the rest of the Gamecocks' drafted recruits could eventually find their way to Columbia. Those signees are RHP Evan Beal (8th, Royals), OF Tanner English (13th, Rays), LHP Andrew Faulkner (14th, Rangers), RHP Joel Seddon (20th, Blue Jays), SS TJ Costen (22nd, Rangers), and RHP Joey Pankake (42nd, Rangers).
"With the draft, you take it day by day," Holbrook said. "You've got to have plans B's and C's and D's. But we think the majority of our plan A's are coming to school so we are excited about that.
"We're going to get some very good young players in here that we could have easily lost to the draft because they are certainly talented enough. If they wanted to sign they could have signed within five or six rounds but they didn't want to. They put a high price tag on themselves, and it looks like we're going to benefit from that."
Holbrook expects many of the recruits to enroll for summer school. The drafted players have until Aug. 15 to sign.