COLLEGE STATION—Eight student-athletes have signed national letters of intent to play baseball at Texas A&M, head coach Rob Childress announced Monday.
Infielders Scott Arthur (Klein, Texas), Zack Luther (Laguna Niguel, Calif.), Wes Schill (College Station, Texas) and Adam Smith (Klein, Texas), along with outfielder Randall Thorpe (Colleyville, Texas) and pitchers Denny Clement (Tulsa, Okla.), Nathan Eovaldi (Alvin, Texas) and Ross Hales (Mont Belvieu, Texas), make up the class that will step on campus in the fall of 2008.
"This is a pretty special class, and that is a tribute to the very hard work of (assistant coaches) Jeremy Talbot and Matt Deggs," A&M coach Rob Childress said. "We identified guys that fit our mold and style of baseball, and those are the guys that we got. We're really looking forward to getting all eight of these guys to campus."
Scott Arthur (6-0, 170, R-R), a shortstop from Klein Oak High School, is a hard-nosed runner and athlete that has shown great versatility. Arthur was the starting shortstop for Coach Royce Kennedy's Panthers, who advanced to the Class 5A regional quarterfinals. As a junior, he hit .429 with one home run and 17 RBI while scoring 33 runs and swiping a team-best 21 stolen bases, along with posting a .980 fielding percentage. He also plays safety and wide receiver on the playoff-bound Klein Oak football team.
Zack Luther (6-1, 180, R-R) is one of the Aggies' two out-of-state signees, hailing from Aliso Niguel High School in Aliso Viejo, Calif. A multi-tool player that possesses great speed, good hands and a strong arm, Luther hit .321 at second base and shortstop for the Wolverines and head coach Craig Hanson while fielding at a .955 clip. He also earned co-MVP honors at the prestigious So Cal Cup Invitational Tournament in June. This past summer, Luther was selected to the highly-competitive California Milwaukee Brewers Area Code team, where he played shortstop at the Area Code tournament and hit safely in every game. He is a multi-sport scholar-athlete, lettering in basketball for the past three seasons.
College Station product Wes Schill (5-10, 170, R-R) is a two-time All-Brazos Valley selection by The Bryan-College Station Eagle out of A&M Consolidated High School. He hit .419 with three home runs and 31 RBI and a .956 fielding percentage as a junior, earning first-team All-District recognition at second base and Consol Co-Defensive Player of the Year honors for Coach Chase Mann's Tigers. A two-sport standout, Schill had over 500 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns as a senior flanker on the Tiger football team this fall.
Adam Smith (6-4, 195, R-R) is a shortstop from Klein High School that possesses a great arm, good speed and good power potential. Smith helped lead the Bearkats to consecutive playoff appearances, hitting .382 with four home runs, 21 RBI, 19 runs scored and eight stolen bases. A two-sport standout, Smith is also a two-year starter at quarterback for the Bearkat football team. His father, Barry, is Klein's head baseball coach and graduated from Texas A&M in 1987. Barry was a four-year letterwinner for the Aggies and coaches Tom Chandler and Mark Johnson, and was voted team captain his senior year in Aggieland after winning the SWC championship in 1986.
Randall Thorpe (6-1, 170, R-R) is a center fielder from Heritage High School in Colleyville, Texas, who possesses a strong arm and the potential for power and may be the fastest player in the state. Thorpe was rated the No. 10 prospect in Texas by Inside Prep Baseball and the No. 60 prospect nationally by Baseball America. He was a first-team all-district selection for Coach Alan McDougal's Panthers in 2007, hitting .330 and going a perfect 20-for-20 in stolen bases. As a sophomore, Thorpe earned district 5-5A's Defensive Player of the Year honor.
Denny Clement is a (6-0, 195) right-handed power pitcher from Cascia Hall Prep School in Tulsa, Okla. His fastball is clocked in the low- to mid-90s with movement and features a good slider. Clement, a three-time all-conference and all-metro selection, plays both pitcher and outfield for Coach David Warburton. As a junior, he helped lead his team to the state semifinals by posting an 11-2 record with a 1.13 ERA and 128 strikeouts in 73 innings of work, Along with tossing four shutouts, three one-hitters and a no-hitter. He is a three-sport star for the Commandos, starting at tailback and playing safety on the state's top-ranked Class 2A football team as well as being a two-time defending state champion in wrestling.
Nathan Eovaldi (6-2, 190) is a powerful right-handed pitcher from Alvin, Texas. His fastball clocks in the 92-97 mph range with great life and sink while also featuring a slider. Eovaldi and the Jackets—under coach Mike Rogers—earned a trip to the state playoffs in 2007.
Ross Hales (6-4, 190) is the lone left-handed pitcher in the class and hails from Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, Texas. One of the top two-way players in Texas, Hales throws in the upper 80s and features three quality pitches. As a junior, he went 11-4 on the mound with a 0.93 ERA and 123 strikeouts in 75 innings of work while leading the team in hitting with a .474 batting average. Hales earned all-state accolades in 2007 at both pitcher and first base, and is a two-time first-team all-district selection for Coach Gil Stalbaum's Eagles.
"Positionally, every one of these guys have strength and speed," Childress said. "They all have motors that never stop, and that's what we look for. On the mound, the right handers are both power guys, sinker/slider guys that have the ability to dominate. Our lone lefty has outstanding pitchability and an incredible upside.
"Matt and Jeremy did a great job putting this class together, with a lot of long hours on the road. All their hard work has paid off in this great recruiting class, as we feel like we have addressed our needs and have improved our talent level and our depth."
The defending Big 12 Champion Aggies open the 2008 season, which features 39 home games, on February 22 at Olsen Field against Northern Colorado. Season ticket information is available by calling 1-888-99-AGGIE.
Aggie Baseball signs eight recruits
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