…and about half of the draft selections that I saw that were high school players were committed to SEC schools. A couple to Florida, a couple to MissState, one to OleMiss, one to Vandy, and a couple to A&M. These were all first rounders and most will sign, but is this an indication that our recruiting is a little behind several of the SEC powers? We ended up with one recruit drafted in the second round.
Does anyone have a link to an article on how many SEC recruits got drafted yesterday and what teams they were committed to?
I’d defer to Matt on this, but I don’t think it means we’re behind other SEC schools. One of the difficulties a college coach has is to find guys good enough to play in the SEC, but not someone who is almost certain to go early. I heard DVH talk about that one time. He’s not going to offer or waste time recruiting a kid who he knows will go so early that his scholarship offer is competing with $1-2M bucks.
Sometimes you lose the bet, but if you’re losing too many, there’s a good chance you’re recruiting poorly, not well
I trust DVH but it appears that Florida has been very successful and OleMiss, MissState, & A&M have improved a lot with a “different” recruiting strategy. Since DVH recruited a catcher who went yesterday and probably won’t sign, I guess he doesn’t avoid all of the likely high draft choice recruits. In the end, it doesn’t matter how many MLB high draft choices you recruit, it only matters how good the ones you get on campus are as a team not as individuals. We are holding our own against a team with three first round draft picks versus none for us by having a very strong overall lineup versus their superstars and the rest not so great lineup, I guess.
Tony Vitello told me a few years ago that Dave Van Horn has changed his recruiting approach to try to find players that project to blossom at 19 and 20 years old instead of at 17 or 18, like Heston Kjerstad, as well as to focus more on players who are going to stick to a high number for a signing bonus, like Cole Turney, Andrew Benintendi, Zack Cox, Keaton McKinney, etc.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be a player who blows up the summer after his junior year or that someone won’t suddenly accept a few-hundred thousand less dollars than they said they would, but overall that philosophy has worked well the last few years. Arkansas has not been hammered in the draft like it used to be.
Just because a player isn’t taken in the first few rounds does not mean scouts do not think they have big league talent. These MLB teams are pretty good about only selecting players they know will sign and staying away from the ones who they know want to play college ball. That’s why you see great players taken low out of high school. Benintendi didn’t just go from a 31st rounder to seventh overall. He was the national high school player of the year and scouts loved his swing, but he let it be known that it was going to take a substantial amount of money to keep him from having a college experience.
IIRC, Breaux was highly thought of, but not this highly . . . and then he blew up this past year, after he committed. It happens, and that actually just reaffirms that we’re going after the right types of recruits, per the strategy that Matt described above.
Baseball recruiting has to be the hardest of all the college sports for P5 (SEC) teams. You have limited scholarships. You want great players who command a higher % of those scholarships yet could easily choose to leave you hanging by signing in the draft.
Take Vanderbilt. Advisors (per-cursors to agents) will push a kid to commit to Vandy because that gives them extreme leverage when negotiating with a professional team. They value that Vandy education much higher and get their clients a larger bonus. Go back and look at the last few years pre-draft and see how many high level draft picks Vandy has had. Most of them never had an intention of going to school. However, this year it does appear that a top pitcher has opted to go to school…Kumar Rocker (son of former Razorback DL coach Tracy Rocker). Ironically the kid lived in Fayetteville and played youth ball there.
Florida is similar although their pitch is not leverage with education but leverage with exposure and winning a title. That along with the slew of high level players in Florida is a great combination.
LSU had developed a brand. MSU and OM have done well recently. As Matt said, AR has focused on players likely to get to campus. This current freshman class was rated #3 after the draft last year and had they actually rated Kjerstad and Martin correctly would have probably been #1.
As far as AR ties go I would expect to see Jaden Hill of Ashdown (LSU commit) and PJ Hilson of Nettleton (Alabama commit) picked today. I think both sign. Kaleb Hill of Watson Chapel (Ole Miss commit) is a question. Word is his number is too high.