Deadline Passes Without Surprises for Gators

The MLB Draft signing deadline came and went late Monday night without much news for the Gators—and that's a good thing for head coach Kevin O'Sullivan. Four players who signed with the Gators out of high school signed professionally on the final day, but the biggest news came in a player returning to Gainesville, as outfielder Preston Tucker will return for his senior season.

Tucker comes back to Gainesville with 208 career RBIs, just six behind the school record set by Brad Wilkerson.

After his freshman year, it looked like there would be no chance Tucker would play four years in Gainesville. He hit .364 with 15 home runs that season and set a school record with 85 RBIs. In what was perceived as a down season during his sophomore years, Tucker hit .331 with 11 home runs and 49 RBIs.

As a junior, Tucker hit .308 with 15 home runs and 74 RBIs. However, his slipped to the Colorado Rockies in the 16th round of the draft after Tucker told scouts that he wanted to return for his senior year.

The Gators also got good news when right-hander Greg Larson decided to return for his senior year after appearing out of the bullpen in 33 games in 2011 and posting a 2.09 ERA. Larson was a 29th round pick of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The senior will join Austin Maddox and Steven Rodriguez to lead the Florida bullpen in 2012.

Outfielder Tyler Thompson also returns after hitting .264 with one home run during an injury plagued junior season. The Washington Nationals selected him in the 46th round.

Ranked as the top recruiting class in the country heading into the draft, the group lost three pitchers and a first baseman. West Boca High School right-hander Michael Kelly was taken in the supplemental first round by the San Diego Padres and agreed to a contract around a half hour before the deadline. Bishop Verot right-hander Hudson Boyd was also a supplemental first rounder and signed with the Minnesota Twins Monday afternoon.

First baseman Daniel Vogelbach, a high school teammate of Boyd, was a second round pick of the Chicago Cubs and signed early Monday. Santaluces High School right-hander Kyle Smith signed with the Kansas City Royals after being a fourth round pick.

None of the four losses came as a surprise because of where they were drafted.

The class coming to Gainesville will still be one of the top freshman classes in the country. Head coach Kevin O'Sullivan will bring in a class of ten players into one of the top teams in the country during the 2012 season.

The headlines of the class include four Aflac All-Americans in right-hander John Magliozzi, catcher Brandon Sedell, utility player Josh Tobias and third baseman Sean Trent.

Stay tuned to as we analyze what the outcome of this draft means for the Gators heading into next season.

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