Tiger Baseball Recruiting Ranked 12th

TUCSON, Ariz. - Louisiana State University has been ranked No. 1 in "Collegiate Baseball" newspaper's 22nd annual rundown of NCAA Division I baseball recruiting classes.

While this marks the first time in 22 years that LSU has hauled in the nation's No. 1 ranked class, it is the fourth time that Turtle Thomas, recruiting coordinator for LSU, has overseen the top class in the USA.

In 1988, 1991 and 1993 as recruiting coordinator for Miami, Fla., he led the Hurricanes to the nation's No. 1 class each year.

His fourth top ranked class sets an all-time championship record in "Collegiate Baseball's" recruiting analysis.

LSU features a star-studded class of 11 players which breaks down to seven freshmen, two junior college transfers and two 4-year transfers.

"By keeping four players drafted in the top 19 rounds, we feel like we had a great class," said Thomas.

"Most players drafted in the top 20 rounds sign. So we feel fortunate to have kept these players.

"Eric English should be a fine pitcher for us. He was the 6A Player of The Year in Florida. He only gave up two or three runs all of last season. Chris Cahill is another quality pitcher. He throws hard, and the ball jumps out of his hand. Edgar Ramirez is another who could possibly close games out for us. Daniel Forrer is a kid with great stuff. We might not have that first, second or third round draft pick. But top to bottom, this class is very good. Over the last few years when we got our teams to the College World Series, we had pretty good hitting teams. But we needed ace pitchers who could get us over the hump. I think we brought in six quality pitchers this year."

Thomas tried to downplay the fact that he has orchestrated four No. 1 recruiting classes in his coaching career (three at Miami and one at LSU).

"I don't think it has anything to do with me," said Thomas. "It has everything to do with the school you are recruiting for and offer the kids. LSU has led the nation nine years in a row in attendance. They have hosted regionals 15 straight years and have won five national titles since 1991.

"Like everyone else, we always try to get the best players we can and go to many tournaments and showcases in the summer. We have been very fortunate. It also should be pointed out that our entire coaching staff does a good job of working together on recruiting. It is a great team effort."

Thomas was asked how this class compares to his other top-ranked recruiting efforts.

"It is hard to compare classes from one year to another. It all depends on how they mature and if they can ultimately lead your team to the College World Series and win there."

The four players include: 3B/OF J.P. Padron of Clear Creek H.S. (League City, Tex.), 12th round pick of Pirates. RHP Chase Dardar, Delgado J.C. (New Orleans, La.), 16th round pick by Dodgers. LHP Daniel Forrer, Chipola J.C. (Fla.), 17th round pick by Dodgers. UT Kade Keowen, Central H.S. (Baton Rouge, La.), 19th round pick of Royals.

Other top-notch players the Tigers brought in include:

LHP Ryan Byrd, Denham Springs H.S. (Denham Springs, La.), Louisville Slugger All-American and All-State. RHP Eric English, Cypress Bay H.S. (Weston, Fla.), Florida 6A Player of The Year. INF Mike Hollander, Jesuit H.S. (New Orleans, La.), All-State. UT Keegan McCamment, Greenburg H.S. (Greenburg, Ind.), All-State. OF Trey Simon, Destrehan H.S. (Destrehan, La.), All-State. RHP Chris Cahill, Florida Gulf Coast College (Fla.), a top prospect in the Coastal Plains League.

RHP Edgar Ramirez, transfer from Florida International University and a top prospect in the Coastal Plains League.

LSU's recruiting class could have been even stronger as five Tiger signees decided to join professional teams and did not enroll at LSU.

Three of those players were drafted in the second round of the 2004 Free Agent Draft and opted to sign professional contracts in OF Reid Brignac of St. Amant (La.) H.S., pitcher Blake Johnson of Parkview Baptist H.S. in Baton Rouge, La. and pitcher Anthony Swarzak of Nova H.S. in Davie, Fla. Two others also signed pro contracts in SS Derrick Arnold of Tallahassee (Fla.) C.C. and pitcher Bobby Cassevah of Pace (Fla.) H.S.

Clemson's baseball recruiting class was ranked #12 in the nation by Collegiate Baseball Thursday.

Head Coach Jack Leggett and Recruiting Coordinator Kevin O'Sullivan brought in 15 players, including eight high school players, five junior college transfers, and two college transfers. Drew Fiorenza was drafted in the 45th round by the New York Yankees, and was the lone draftee in the class. All 15 members of the class have already begun fall practice and are eligible to compete in the 2005 season, which will begin for the Tigers on February 18 in a tournament at Myrtle Beach, SC.

The following is the top 40 rankings of NCAA Division I recruiting classes for 2004 as determined by the staff of Collegiate Baseball newspaper.

Collegiate Baseball's 2004 Recruiting Results
(As of Sept. 30, 2004)
1. Louisiana St.
2. Arizona St.
3. Texas
4. Oklahoma St.
5. Tulane
6. Arizona
7. Miami, Fla.
8. Pepperdine
9. South Carolina
10. Oklahoma
11. Stanford
12. Clemson
13. Rice
14. Texas A&M
15. Cal. St. Fullerton
16. Nebraska
17. Fresno St.
18. North Carolina
19. Vanderbilt
20. Southern California
21. North Carolina St.
22. Florida
23. Alabama
24. Florida St.
24. Tennessee
25. Kentucky
26. Texas Christian
27. Long Beach St.
29. East Carolina
30. Georgia Tech
31. Mississippi
32. Virginia
33. Mississippi St.
34. Washington
35. Arkansas
36. Wichita St.
37. Notre Dame
38. Houston
39. Nevada
40. Auburn

OTHER TOP RECRUITING CLASSES: College of Charleston, Elon, High Point, Georgia, Iowa, Pittsburgh, San Jose St., South Florida, Loyola Marymount, Kent St., Minnesota, Michigan, Oregon St., Santa Clara, Louisiana-Lafayette, Central Michigan, Louisville, St. John's, Texas Tech, UCLA, California, N.C. Wilmington, Ohio St., Oral Roberts, Illinois, U.C. Riverside, Florida Atlantic, Stetson, Villanova, South Alabama, West Virginia, Central Florida, James Madison, Lamar, Louisiana-Monroe, Northern Illinois, Ohio, U.C. Irvine, N.C. Charlotte, Creighton, N.C. Greensboro, Southern Mississippi, Baylor, Southern, Arkansas-Little Rock.

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