Oct. 20, 2011
Baseball America recruiting release (PDF)
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Baseball America has ranked NC State's current 13-man crop of new players as the fourth best recruiting class in the country, the magazine announced Thursday.
The Durham-based publication, which specializes in player development and the Major League Baseball draft, gives extensive coverage to minor league, college and high school baseball.
According to Baseball America, Vanderbilt had the top-ranked recruiting class in the country, followed by Texas, Southern Miss and the Wolfpack. The only other Atlantic Coast Conference school in the top 10 was Virginia at No. 8. North Carolina was the last of three ACC schools in the rankings at No. 20.
The No. 4 ranking for NC State was its highest ever by Baseball America. The 2008 class was ranked No. 11.
"We're very excited about the high school and junior college talent that we've been able to add to our program this past offseason," Wolfpack head coach Elliott Avent said. "The ACC is a great conference, and adding exceptional talent is a key to being able to compete year-in and year-out in this league.
"Tom Holliday and Chris Hart worked extremely hard to put this class together. I can't say enough about the job they did. It's a great compliment for a publication like Baseball America to recognize us this way, and that's largely a tribute to Tom and Chris. They put in countless hours to help make this class possible."
Eight of NC State's newcomers hail from North Carolina, which reflects a standing point of emphasis for the Wolfpack coaching staff, always to concentrate on recruiting the state of North Carolina. Assistant coach Chris Hart spearheaded the effort to land in-state talent.
"Our job is to bring in the best talent and the best charcter players we can find into our program," Hart said. "We're really pleased that in a state as talent-rich as North Carolina, with as many quality college baseball programs as there are in this state, that we were able to attract some of the best players in the state to come to NC State.
"At the same time, we continued to recruit quality players from the state of Florida, which has been a great talent base for us, and we continued to attract players nationwide, getting players from Texas, Colorado and California in this class."
This year's recruiting class features three highly regarded players -- catcher Brett Austin, lefthanded pitcher and first baseman Carlos Rodon, and infielder Trea Turner -- who turned down substantial money in the MLB draft in choosing to attend NC State.
Austin was a supplemental first-round pick, 54th overall pick in the draft by the San Diego Padres. Austin was the second-highest drafted player in the 2011 MLB draft to attend college, and the highest-drafted hitter. He is the highest-drafted player to come to NC State since Dan Plesac in 1980-81.
Rodon was a 16th-round pick by the Milwaukee Brewers, but the 2011 North Carolina High School Player of the Year could have gone much higher except for signability questions due to his commitment to NC State.
Turner also was a middle-round pick in the 2011 draft -- 20th round to the Pittsburgh Pirates -- but he also had made a strong commitment to attend college, scaring off potential interest from MLB teams who did not want to risk a premium pick on a player who might not sign.
The Wolfpack's recruiting class was much deeper than just three players, however. Several others in the class will push hard for playing time this spring, and virtually everyone in the class will have a chance to be regular contributors at some point.
"Brett, Carlos and Trea have gotten a lot of attention, and justifiably so," Avent said. "They have a chance to make an early impact. But this is a deep class, and as talented as all these kids are, they may have even more character than talent. They've all competed hard for jobs and they've pushed our returning players in practice. Because of that alone, they've made us a better team."
Avent noted that the quality of this year's class reflects positively on the the program and the university.
"Great players want to play with other great players and in a great environment," Avent said. "The fact that players of this caliber wanted to come here says something very positive about the players already in our program, about our coaching staff, support staff and NC State University. They recognized that good things are happening here and they wanted to be a part of that. That speaks very highly of this program."