"We are excited about the group of guys that started classes today," Slater said. "The staff has worked extremely hard in both evaluating and recruiting this group and we are looking forward to starting our four-on-one work and fall practices next week."
Bennett spent last season with the Miami Hurricanes, but did not see any action due to an injury. A left-handed hitting 6-0, 205 lbs. first baseman/outfielder, he spent his first two years of college ball at Polk Community College in Winter Haven, Fla. where he was a Florida Junior College All-State selection. He has also found success in the Virginia Valley League, as he was named a league all-star and team MVP in 2004.
Stanley heads south from Georgia Tech. A right-handed hitting first baseman/outfielder that stands 6-4, 220 lbs., he saw limited action for the Yellow Jackets last season. An all-county selection out of Jesuit High School in Tampa, Fla., he was rated among the top 30 high school first baseman by Team One Baseball and was a member of the Team Florida USA summer baseball program that won the USA Baseball Junior Olympics national championship and the CABA World Series along with current Tiger Jeff Boutwell.
Stapleton spent last season with the Jaguars of South Alabama. A 6-1, 185 lbs. infielder/outfielder, he made 27 starts for the Jags, which also included action against Auburn in the Tallahassee Regional. A two-sport athlete at UMS Wright High School in Mobile, he was a 4A All-State selection in baseball as a senior while also playing in the East-West All-Star Game and the East Coast Professional Showcase.
Tom Slater and his staff have added 17 new players to the Tigers' roster for the 2006 season.
A 6-2, 180 lbs. right-handed pitcher, Butts joins the Tigers after a year at Darton Junior College in Albany, Ga. where he was the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association Freshman Pitcher of the Year. As a freshman at Darton, he completed the regular season with a conference-best .189 batting average against and an ERA of 2.08, allowing just eight extra-base hits, none of which were home runs, in 77 innings of work while owning a 7-3 record.
Masten, a 6-0, 190 lbs. right-hander, heads to Auburn after two years at Iowa Western Community College. In his first season at IWCC, he set the single-season and career records for saves with nine. As a sophomore, he broke his own record by tallying 16 saves. He also spent time in IWCC's outfield, hitting .353 with four home runs and was 11-for-12 in stolen bases in 2005. This past season he played an integral part in IWCC's run to the 2005 Junior College World Series in Grand Junction, Colo.
Burnside joins the Tigers from Jeff Davis High School in Montgomery. He was considered one of the top 2005 pitchers in Alabama heading into his senior year prior to undergoing Tommy John surgery, from which he is now fully recovered and will be able to pitch this fall. He stands at 6-4, 185 lbs. and is the son of former major leaguer Sheldon Burnside, who pitched with Detroit and Cincinnati in the 1980s.
These six join the 11 others who signed earlier and started
classes on Wednesday.