Meet the New Crop

At Tuesday's press conference, LSU head baseball coach Paul Mainieri kept the topic of conversation on the strength of his newest signing class.

BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri spoke with great enthusiasm Tuesday as he discussed a 2011 squad that features a class of 18 newcomers.

“This is a very significant day for us, and I’m really proud and happy to announce our incoming class,” said Mainieri, who guided LSU to the 2009 College World Series title. “The 2011 season will mark a transition to a new era in our program. We only have two players remaining from our original signing class that arrived in the fall of 2007 -- pitchers Ben Alsup and Daniel Bradshaw. That class was rated No. 1 in the country and was instrumental in us winning the national championship in 2009.

“Hopefully, this new class will have the same significant impact on our program that the original class had. I think there is a really good chance for that to happen.” 

The 18 newcomers start classes at LSU Monday and will join the returning players for conditioning drills and individual workouts over the next several weeks.

The Tigers begin their full-squad fall practice session on September 26, and fall workouts continue through November 5. The 2011 season starts on February 18 when the Tigers play host to Wake Forest  in Alex Box Stadium.

The new group of Tigers includes nine pitchers and nine position players. Six members of the class were selected in the 2010 MLB Draft.

“It’s a phenomenal class,” Mainieri said, “and all the credit in the world goes to (LSU associate head coach) David Grewe who coordinated the class and worked endless hours. He did everything that was necessary to evaluate the players and bring them into our program. David was capably assisted by (LSU assistant coach) Javi Sanchez,  who did a tremendous job and has become a veteran recruiter with David’s guidance.

“This is a very exciting time for us, and we’re looking forward with great optimism to this season.”


The six LSU newcomers selected in the 2010 MLB Draft:

·         RHP Kevin Gausman (sixth round, Dodgers)

·         RHP Ryan Eades (19th round, Rockies)

·         INF JaCoby Jones (19th round, Astros)

·         RHP Tyler Jones (21st round, White Sox)

·         LHP Mitchell Hopkins (42nd round, Reds)

·         C Tyler Ross (46th round, Phillies)


The class also features:

·         NJCAA Division II National Player of the Year (Raph Rhymes)

·         Mississippi Player of the Year (JaCoby Jones)

·         Illinois Player of the Year (Kevin Koziol)


Following are profiles on LSU’s class of new players for the 2011 season:


# 33 Kevin Berry, P/INF                

R-R, 6-1, 190, Jr., Tr.

Metairie, La. (Brother Martin HS/Univ. of New Orleans)

·         Transfer from University of New Orleans; eligible to play for LSU in 2011

·         Member of 2009 Sun Belt Conference Academic Honor Roll

·         All State selection as a senior at Brother Martin HS

·         All Orleans/St. Bernard Parish selection as a senior

·         Two-time Al District selection

·         High school team captain as a junior and senior

LSU Coach Paul Mainieri on Berry:

“Kevin Berry, a UNO transfer, is an experienced veteran right-hander who will help solidify our young pitching staff. Kevin put up very respectable and encouraging numbers in the prestigious Cape Cod League this summer. With UNO dropping to Division III, all of their players were allowed to transfer to Division I schools without sitting out a year, and Kevin was recommended highly by the UNO staff. Kevin popped onto our radar when he showed great poise along with good stuff when he closed out the game that we lost to UNO this past season, pitching one inning and earning the save in a game we would all like to forget. We went on to follow Kevin in the Cape Cod League and think he can fill a valuable role on our staff.”


# 34 Joe Broussard, P/INF          

R-R, 6-1, 209, Fr., HS           

Gretna, La. (Holy Cross HS)

·         2010 First-Team All State

·         2010 All Metro New Orleans Player of the Year

·         2010 District MVP

·         2010 Team Captain

LSU Coach Paul Mainieri on Broussard:

“Joe is a hard-nosed right-handed pitcher and infielder from Matty Ott’s high school, Holy Cross in New Orleans.  If he has the same type of career that Matty is putting together, we will be very happy with him.  He produces good movement on his fastball that tops on the low 90s and has shown signs of good off-speed stuff that we will continue develop with him.  Joe is the type of guy that has the will and endurance to be a guy that is very reliable for us on the mound. “ 


# 46 Jamie Bruno, INF/OF           

L-L, 6-2, 220, Jr., Tr. 

Mandeville, La. (Mandeville HS/Tulane)

·         Transfer from Tulane; will be eligible to play for LSU in 2012

·         Launched nine homers in the Northwoods League this summer

·         Four-time All District selection in high school

·         Earned All State and All America honors as a high school senior

·         All District and All St. Tammany Parish in junior and senior seasons

·         2008 Under Armour Preseason All American

LSU Coach Paul Mainieri on Bruno:

“Jamie Bruno transferred to LSU from Tulane, although he had originally committed to us out of high school.  He has big bat potential from the left-side and creates great leverage with his 6-3 frame. Due to NCAA transfer rules Jamie will have to sit out the 2011 season but when he returns in 2012 will have the potential to be a power threat in our line-up that will remind Tiger fans of Matt Clark. Jamie started several games as a freshman at Tulane and led the Clarke Griffith Summer Collegiate League in home runs with nine in the summer of 2009. Jamie also won the Northwoods League home run crown this summer while belting nine home runs for the Wisconsin Woodchucks despite missing 20+ games to finish up academic requirements to gain admission to LSU.”


# 41 Kirk Cunningham, P/INF     

R-R, 6-0, 210, Jr., JC

Metairie, La. (Rummel HS/Delgado Community College)

·         2010 NJCAA Academic All-American

·         Hit .315 in 2010 with nine doubles, one triple, six homers, 49 runs scored, 55 RBI

·         Recipient of Wally Pontiff Award at Rummel High School

·         Recipient of American Legion Award in high school

·         Named Nokia Sugar Bowl Athlete of the Week

LSU Coach Paul Mainieri on Cunningham:

“Kirk had a nice career at Rummel High School and Delgado CC in New Orleans. We are hoping he can  add depth to our pitching staff, as well as some versatility to our position players. He was a coach’s dream at Delgado where he could be counted on to pitch some big innings and get some big hits. Hopefully, he can do the same for the Tigers.”


# 2 Marcus Davis, OF      

L/L, 6-2, 205, Fr., HS

Cincinnati, Ohio (Princeton HS)

·         2009 All State selection

·         Three-time 1st Team Greater Miami Conference

·         Two-Time All City selection in Cincinnati

·         2010 Connie Mack World Series All Tournament Team

·         2010 All City selection in basketball

LSU Coach Paul Mainieri on Davis:

“Marcus is a very strong left-handed outfielder from Cincinnati.  He is a pure-hitting lefty with power potential from gap to gap.  He can play any position in the outfield with very smooth actions and takes great routes to balls.  We are very excited to have brought Marcus down here and expect him to do great things in the future. He missed his senior baseball season due to any injury suffered playing basketball in February. However, he is fully recovered and will compete hard for a job in the outfield this year.”


# 37 Ryan Eades, P/INF   

S-R, 6-3, 193, Fr., HS           

Slidell, La. (Northshore HS)

·         2010 19th Round draft selection by the Colorado Rockies

·         2008 and 2009 First-Team All State

·         2009 First-Team All Southeast Region

·         2010 Louisville Slugger Preseason All American

·         2009 Under Armour Preseason All American

·         Three-time 1st Team All District selection

·         2008 and 2009 All Metro New Orleans selection

·         2009 All Parish selection

LSU Coach Paul Mainieri on Eades:

“Ryan is another player we were very fortunate to have come to school.  At the end of his sophomore year of high school, Ryan was named the #1 baseball prospect in the state of Louisiana.  He has shown a fastball from 92-94 mph with a good slider and change-up that he can throw in any count.  Ryan had surgery on his pitching shoulder his junior year to repair a torn labrum after leading Northshore High School to the State Championship.  He was unable to pitch his senior season but is now almost fully recovered and showing the same stuff he did as a sophomore.  We also like Ryan a lot as hitter as he proved he was one of the best in Louisiana this year at the plate. 


# 12 Kevin Gausman, P   

R-R, 6-4, 170, Fr., HS           

Centennial, Colo. (Grandview HS)

·         2010 sixth-round draft selection by the Los Angeles Dodgers

·         Two-time All State selection

·         2-Time Perfect Game High School All American

·         2009 Under Armour All American

·         2009 AFLAC All American

·         Gold Medal winner with USA Baseball Junior National Team

LSU Coach Paul Mainieri on Gausman:

“Kevin Gausman is the main reason this is considered a special class. Hands down, he is one of the best pitchers in the country.  Kevin has a tall, slender build and is very athletic for his size.  He has a smooth and easy delivery with a fastball that usually sits in the low to mid 90s range.  His fastball has been clocked up to 100 mph.  Kevin will be a dominant figure on the mound for the next couple of years and we are excited that he passed up the opportunity to play pro ball to join the Tigers. He can be one of the next great, dominant pitchers in LSU Baseball history.” 


# 40 Mitch Hopkins, P      

L-L, 6-3, 184, Jr., JC 

Baton Rouge, La. (University HS/LSU-Eunice JC)

·         2010 42nd Round draft selection by the Cincinnati Reds

·         Helped lead LSU Eunice to 2010 JUCO national title

·         Posted an 8-0 mark with a 4.14 ERA in 2010; recorded 48 strikeouts in 37 innings of work

LSU Coach Paul Mainieri on Hopkins:

“Mitch is a very valuable left-handed pitcher who is just coming off winning a National Championship at LSU Eunice.  Drafted in the 42nd round this past year, Mitch possesses a fastball that ranges from 91-93 mph and a curveball and changeup that are extremely effective.  Unfortunately, he has had some shoulder issues that developed midway through this past season at LSU-E, but we are hoping that those will be resolved before we start up in the spring. He will miss all of fall practice as he attempts to rehab his shoulder. “


# 23 JaCoby Jones, INF

R-R, 6-3, 200, Fr., HS           

Richton, Miss. (Richton HS)

·         2010 19th Round draft selection by the Houston Astros

·         2010 Mississippi High School Player of the Year

·         2010 Louisville Slugger Mississippi Player of the Year

·         2010 2nd Team All American (Baseball America)

·         All-time career leader in hits for the state of Mississippi

·         Four-time All State selection

·         Four-time 1st Team All Area and 1st Team All District

·         Recipient of 2010 Wendy’s High School Heisman in Mississippi

·         2010 Rawlings All Region

·         2009 AFLAC All American and Under Armor All American

LSU Coach Paul Mainieri on JaCoby Jones:

“We fully expect JaCoby to be an extremely exciting player for us.  He has comparable athletic ability, bat speed and foot speed to our own Mikie Mahtook, only Jones is an infielder.  He can play all infield positions with big time range and a strong arm.  Also, he is athletic enough to put anywhere on the field.  We were lucky that Jones fell to the 19th round of this year’s MLB draft.  Before the draft, a lot of people thought he would be a top 3 round pick, but ended up falling to the 19th round because of his strong commitment and dedication to playing at LSU.”


# 30 Tyler Jones, P           

R-R, 6-4, 205, Jr., JC    

Milwaukee, Wisc. (Marquette HS/Madison Area Tech JC)

·         2010 21st Round draft selection by the Chicago White Sox

·         2010 Junior College 1st Team All American

·         Participated in 2010 Junior College World Series

·         9-2 record with a 3.01 ERA in 2010; recorded 77 strikeouts in 74.2 innings and limited opponents to a .238 average

·         Two-time high school All Conference selection in baseball and football

·         Helped lead baseball team to high school state championships in 2006 and 2008

·         Participated in the Milwaukee Brewers Classic (top 50 high school players in Wisconsin)

LSU Coach Paul Mainieri on Tyler Jones:

“Tyler is a big, physical pitcher with a tremendous mound presence.  Tyler was the ace of the Madison JC that advanced to the Junior College World Series for the first time since 2005.  His fastball sits in the low 90s and he has a ton of upside.  He was a 21st round draft pick because of his power arm potential.  Tyler is a dynamic addition to our pitching staff. “


# 20 Kevin Koziol, INF/P  

R-R, 6-2, 195, Fr., HS           

Orland Park, Ill. (Brother Rice HS)

·         Three-time Illinois All-State selection

·         2009 Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year

·         2009 Under Armour All American

·         Three-time member of National Honor Society

·         Received Illinois State Scholar Award

·         2010 Conference Player of the Year

·         2nd Team All Conference as a freshman

·         Three-time 1st Team All Conference selection

·         Three-time All Area selection

LSU Coach Paul Mainieri on Koziol:

“We were able to steal Kevin all the way from Orland Park, Ill.  He is a very polished defensive third baseman who plays with a lot of intensity.  He played for the same high school summer team as Connor Powers from Mississippi State and the coach of that team has told us that Kevin has just as much pop in his bat as Powers did in high school (Powers hit over 20 home runs each season as a junior and senior at Miss. State). We also think he can be a big contributor on the mound.”


# 39 Kurt McCune, P         

R-R, 6-4, 175, Fr., HS           

Norco, La. (Destrehan HS)

·         Two-time 1st Team All State selection

·         Two-time 1st Team All Region selection

·         2009 & 2010 1st Team All District choice

·         Recipient of 2010 Wendy’s Heisman Award

·         2009 Honorable Mention All America

·         Recipient of 2010 A+ Athlete Award in high school


LSU Coach Paul Mainieri on McCune:

“Kurt McCune is a talented, projectable Louisiana right-hander who first came on our radar when we saw him at our camp following his sophomore year. Kurt throws in the low 90s with a very good slider and has the potential to even add a few miles per hour with his tall, lanky frame. Kurt is a product of one of the best programs in the state at Destrehan High School and was a former high school teammate of Trey Watkins.”


# 9 Samuel Peterson, P/C          

R-R, 6-0, 185, Fr., HS   

Rosepine, La. (DeRidder HS)

·         2009 and 2010 1st Team All State selection

·         2010 Lake Charles American Press Player of the Year

·         2010 All Southwest Louisiana Player of the Year

·         Two-time Under Armour All American

·         Four-Time All District selection

LSU Coach Paul Mainieri on Peterson:

“Samuel is a battle-tested, intense, two-way player from Rosepine, La.  He is the brother of former LSU catcher Stuart Peterson, who completed his career with the Tigers in the fall of 2008.  Samuel was a standout football player in high school and takes that same football mentality to the baseball field where he is a bulldog on the mound with a fastball that touches 90 and an above average slider that he uses as a strikeout pitch.  We may also try Samuel as a catcher, if need be, because we think his tools translate very well behind the plate.”


# 26 Tyler Ross, C 

R-R, 6-3, 220, Fr., HS   

Naples, Fla. (Barron Collier HS)

·         2010 46th Round draft selection by the Philadelphia Phillies

·         Participated in 2010 Florida High School All Star Game

·         Three-time All Conference and All Area selection

·         2009 & 2010 High School Team MVP and Team Captain

·         Named to 2008 and 2010 Sarasota Classic All Tournament Team

LSU Coach Paul Mainieri on Ross:

“Ty is a very highly-touted catcher that comes from baseball-rich south Florida.  He also was talked about being a high draft pick but was chosen in the 46th round because of his strong commitment to playing at LSU.  Defensively, Ty has great actions for a catcher and possesses a cannon of a throwing arm.  I used to think Micah Gibbs had the best catcher’s body I’ve ever seen in college, but at 6’3 220 lbs, Ty might give him a run for his money.  He is a big, physical kid that also has the potential to hit balls into the seats on a regular basis.”


# 38 Nick Rumbelow, P    

R-R, 6-0, 175, Fr., HS           

Bullard, Texas (Bullard HS)

·         2010 Rawlings All Region Team

·         2010 2nd Team All State

·         2010 1st Team East Texas

·         Selected to play in 2010 Texas High School All-Star Game

·         2010 District MVP

LSU Coach Paul Mainieri on Rumbelow:

“Nick is an athletic, right-handed strike thrower from Bullard, Texas.  He has a fastball that sits in the low 90s and a slider that he uses as an out pitch.  He put up incredible numbers his senior year of high school with an ERA under 1.00.  He is a proven winner and a guy that I think we will be able to count on.”


# 4 Raph Rhymes, INF    

R-R, 6-0, 185, So., JC           

Monroe, La. (Neville HS/LSU-Eunice JC)

·         2010 Division II National Junior College Player of the Year

·         2010 NJCAA Division II 1st Team All American

·         Led LSU-Eunice to the 2010 national title, batting .483 with 31 doubles, four triples, 12 homers, 98 RBI and 15 steals

·         Struck out only nine times in 238 at-bats in 2010

·         Two-time All State selection at Neville HS

·         Four-time All District selection and three-time All Area choice in high school

·         Senior Captain

·         1st Team All Region JUCO

·         All District as a football player in his senior season

LSU Coach Paul Mainieri on Rhymes:

“Raph has the potential to make a great story for himself at LSU.  He attempted to walk on to the team in the fall of 2008 but we did not have a roster spot available for him.  We knew he could really play, but with the 35-man roster limit, we did not see him making a very big impact on that year’s team.  He decided to go play at LSU Eunice this past year where he put up one of the greatest offensive seasons in the history of college baseball.  He hit .483 with 31 doubles, 12 homers, 98 RBI, and only struck out 9 times in 238 at bats.  Raph was named a first team All American and the Junior College National Player of the Year.  To say the least, we are ecstatic about the offensive contributions that Raph will bring to this year’s team.”


# 35 Jackson Slaid, C

R-R, 5-10, 190, Fr., HS         

Sibley, La. (Lakeside HS)

·         Three-time 1st Team All State selection

·         2010 Shreveport Times All Area Player of the Year

·         2010 Minden Press Herald MVP

·         Five-time All District selection

·         2010 District MVP

·         Honorable Mention Academic All State selection

LSU Coach Paul Mainieri on Slaid:

“Jackson is a hardnosed Louisiana kid that is primarily a catcher.  His athletic build and actions might open the door for some versatility, but his focus will be behind the plate.  Jackson has good feet, quick hands, and a strong arm.  He has short swing and has demonstrated the ability to consistently hit line-drives.  He is going to be a great program guy for years to come and a great addition to our team. “


# 6 Jordy Snikeris, C       

R-R, 6-0, 210, Jr., JC

Austin, Texas (St. Michael’s HS/Texarkana College)

·         2010 1st Team JUCO All Region selection

·         Two-time All Conference JUCO selection

·         Batted .400 in 2010 and helped lead Texarkana College to a conference title

·         Team MVP and Team Captain in high school senior year

·         Two-time 1st Team All State selection in high school

LSU Coach Paul Mainieri on Snikeris:

“Jordy is a tough, hard-nosed catcher from Austin, Texas.  He hit .400 at his junior college in Texas and caught almost every game last year.  We were able to recruit him away from the Longhorns this past summer and look forward to him having a great career at LSU.  He will add great depth to our catching situation and we are looking forward to his experience and leadership with our young pitchers.”



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