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Baseball lands eight players during early signing period

  • Chris Walsh

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama head baseball coach Mitch Gaspard announced the signing of eight players during the early signing period for the 2013-14 academic year. Included in this year’s class of signees are; Geoffrey Bramblett (Locust Fork, Ala.), Thomas Burrows (Florence, Ala.), Nick Eicholtz (Odessa, Fla.), William Elliott (Oxford, Miss.), Will Haynie (Brentwood, Tenn.), Casey Hughston (Mobile, Ala.), Taylor Propst (Huntsville, Ala.) and Hunter Webb (Salem, Ala.).

    “Our target was trying to put together back-to-back quality recruiting classes and I think we have achieved that,” Gaspard said. “Through a lot of months of evaluations, particularly with Dax Norris and Andy Phillips being on the road, we feel like we met our needs with three pitchers and five position players in this class. We want to continue building around the core players we have in the program now, and we feel we’ve done that with these eight players coming in next year.”

    In another solid recruiting class for the Crimson Tide, Alabama has signed five players from Alabama and one each from Tennessee, Florida and Mississippi. Included in the class are three pitchers, two outfielders, two infielders and a catcher.

    “It’s another class with a large number of players that can make an impact on our team as freshmen,” Gaspard said. “The position players are multi-talented, they are good offensively and defensively, and we’ve added some speed with this group. On the mound, we wanted some guys with pitch-ability. All three have good velocity, but also have three pitches they can throw for strikes. In turn, that will allow them to pitch early on in their careers when they can command the strike zone.”

    Geoffrey Bramblett is a 6-2, 200-pound senior right-handed pitcher at Locust Fork High School. Bramblett, who also plays third base, is rated as the 13th best player in the state of Alabama by Perfect Game USA. A three-sport athlete at Locust Fork in baseball, football and basketball, Bramblett was named the Blount County Baseball Tournament MVP and was an all-county selection following his junior season.

    Thomas Burrows is a 6-1, 195-pound left handed pitcher/first baseman from Mars Hill Bible School in Florence, Ala. Ranked 12th in the state of Alabama and 468th in the nation by Perfect Game USA, he ranks as the state’s no. 2 left handed pitcher. Following his junior season at Mars Hill Bible School, Burrows was a Class 2A first team all-state selection as a first baseman by the Alabama Sports Writers Association for the second straight season. Additionally, he was named the Class 2A Hitter and Player of the Year by the ASWA in 2012.

    Nick Eicholtz is a 6-4, 175-pound right-handed pitcher/shortstop from Cambridge Christian High School in Odessa, Fla. He was a 2012 Preseason Underclass High Honorable Mention All-American by Perfect Game USA. Entering his senior season at Cambridge Christian HS, Eicholtz ranks as the 39th best prospect in Florida, the fifth best among right-handed pitchers, while ranking 222nd nationally by Perfect Game USA.

    William Elliott is a 6-2, 190-pound senior outfielder at Oxford High School in Oxford, Miss. As a junior in 2012, Elliott led Oxford with a .387 batting average, a .465 on-base percentage, 35 RBIs and nine doubles. Elliott has just one home run during his junior season, but finished the season with a.449 slugging percentage. Elliott ranks as the eighth best prospect in Mississippi by Perfect Game USA and the third best outfielder in the state.

    Will Haynie is a 6-5, 225-pound catcher from the Brentwood Academy in Brentwood, Tenn. Haynie, the top rated high school catcher in the state of Tennessee, was a first team Preseason Underclassman All-American selection by Perfect Game USA in 2012, following honorable mention honors in 2011. Haynie enters his senior season ranked as the fourth best prospect overall in Tennessee, while ranking 126th nationally by Perfect Game USA. Additionally, Haynie, a two-time all-state honoree and a three-time all-mid-state selection, helped Brentwood Academy capture a state title in 2010.

    Casey Hughston is a 6-2, 205-pound left-handed hitting third baseman from Baker High School in Mobile, Ala. Hughston is coming off a 2012 season that saw the junior earn honorable mention all-state honors by the Alabama Sports Writers Association. Hughston was also selected to play in the Alabama North-South All-Star game and was a member of the Columbia Blue squad for the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Event in 2012.

    Taylor Propst is a 6-1, 185-pound shortstop from Huntsville High School. Propst, who earned underclass high honorable mention honors by Perfect Game USA in 2012, is ranked as the 14th best prospect in the state of Alabama, and the top shortstop prospect in the state by Perfect Game USA.

    Hunter Webb from Salem, Ala., is a 5-11 outfielder from Russell County High School. Entering his senior season at RCHS, Webb is rated as the eighth best prospect in Alabama, and the third best outfielder in the state by Perfect Game USA. Ranked as the 325th best prospect nationally by PG USA, Webb posted a .408 batting average in 2012 after being selected as a Preseason Underclass Honorable Mention All-American.

    “Our top focus every year is trying to fill out our roster with Alabama kids that have the talent to compete in the SEC,” Gaspard said. “We feel like over the past two years there have been a large number of kids that have that ability, and we’ve been fortunate enough to identify them and get the kids in state that we’ve targeted.”

    Season tickets for the 2013 season are on sale now, with season tickets starting at $60. Be sure to be there when the Crimson Tide host SEC opponents Tennessee, Arkansas, LSU and SEC-newcomers Texas A&M and Missouri. To be part of the excitement of the 2013 Alabama baseball season, log onto RollTide.com or call the ticket office at 1.877.TIDETIX to purchase your tickets.

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    Christopher Walsh covers Alabama football for BamaOnline, 247Sports, and is the author of 18 books.

  • jus wondering why auburn gets all the great players from our state every year.if its a power program in ala.and a kid is a stud aubie gets him ,

  • “Our top focus every year is trying to fill out our roster with Alabama kids that have the talent to compete in the SEC,” Gaspard said."

    I hope that's just coach speak, because if that's really his recruiting philosophy, that's terrifying.

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  • That's generally the one thing this staff has shown that they can do, is get the state's top (D1) talent to sign here, and more importantly, skip the draft and come to school here. Now, if they can just show that they know how to develop the talent when it gets here, we'd have a pretty solid program.

  • I saw that, back when we were good the roster had players from all over

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  • I've got to think that it's coach-speak. Generally speaking, one of the first things coaches like to do is make the in-state HS coaches happy. Happy HS coaches mean they're generally more favorable when asked for advice by their top players and their families.

    Alabama's usually got a pretty talented crop of in-state ballplayers (all sports, not just baseball). Is it on the level of Florida, Texas, California, or Georgia, of course not, but the top talent in our state is typically up around the same level as those states, just lagging behind in the number of talented players.

    Alabama may focus more on acquiring that local talent more than a school like LSU or Georgia because of the scholarship situations. Alabama uses less scholarship funds on in-state players (due to in-state tuition vs. out-of-state tuition), so the more quality D1-type players we can get from Alabama, the more scholarship funds we can offer to the tremendously talented out-of-state players.

    Just my take on the whole situation, anyways.

  • Yep. I remember those days. You, Keller, Vaz, Caruso, Mohr, etc.

    Even in more recent years guys like Cormier, LeBlanc, Tank, Avila, Tommy H., Dugas, etc. were all from out of state.

    Not to discount the importance of the David Robertsons, Brownie, Andy, etc. but you have to have balance and get kids from other areas. AL just doesn't produce enough talent to be consistently good at a national level by getting only in-state players.

    I want a coach who's gonna say "we're gonna knock on every door across the country and field a team with guys who love UA and will help us contend for a national title."

    It would be scary if Saban said "our main goal is to get AL kids who will help us compete in our conference."

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  • Agree, and hope you're right. I feel like the lottery situation is leaving us farther and farther behind. Hard to get a kid out of GA or Louisiana to come here and pay his way when he can stay home and play essentially for free.

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  • Dr. Hartman, I was down on the team last year pretty hard. Simply upset at the program and seeing what was going on.
    I would love for this team to come together and have a respectful year. I am still not sold on CMG and what he is doing as a whole and maybe you're right on why he's going after the recruits that he's going after. But I don't think that he can survive another year like last year.

    Heres's hoping that this team can turn the page. Roll Tide guys!

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    The Dynasty is Here! Roll Tide