LSU Lands No. 1 Recruiting Class In USA 0

By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

TUCSON, Ariz. — For the sixth time in history, Louisiana St. has captured Collegiate Baseball’s national recruiting championship.

The Tigers have now won titles in 2022, 2018, 2014, 2010, 2007 and 2004.

LSU landed a star-studded class that features 21 newcomers which includes 14 high school, five high-profile NCAA Div. I transfers and two junior college transfers. It marks the first Collegiate Baseball recruiting title for LSU Head Coach Jay Johnson.

He previously helped land the second best recruiting class in the nation in 2010 when he was the associate head coach at the University of San Diego and the third best class as the head coach at Arizona in 2018.

The largest number of 4-year transfers in history took place in 2022 due to the 1-time transfer rule in NCAA Division I. The school with the highest number of NCAA Div. I transfers was 20 at Austin Peay State among its 28-man recruiting class.

It is the 40th consecutive year Collegiate Baseball has evaluated NCAA Division I recruiting classes.

Athletes who initially signed letters of intent with a school but then signed a pro contract after being drafted do not count in the overall evaluation. Only athletes who came to school this fall are factored in.

“I am really excited about this class,” said LSU Head Coach Jay Johnson.

“This is the best recruiting class I have been a part of in my coaching career. Our coaching staff did a great job as we went after high school players who would be foundational pieces of our team for the future.

“We also went after players who were available in the (NCAA Div. I) Transfer Portal who would make an immediate impact. We had great success there as well.

“We have a nice blend of position players and pitchers.

The five NCAA Division I transfers include:

  • 3B Tommy White (transfer from N.C. State). He was named Collegiate Baseball’s Freshman National Player of The Year in 2022 after hitting .362 with 27 homers, 12 doubles and 74 RBI. He set an NCAA freshman record for homers in a season and had 26 multi-hit games and 19 multi-RBI outings as he finished the season on a 26-game reached base streak. He also was a member of CB’s main All-American team.
  • RHP/C/DH Paul Skenes (transfer from Air Force). Skenes was Collegiate Baseball’s Co-Freshman Player of The Year in 2021 after hitting .410 with 11 homers, 21 doubles and 43 RBI. As a pitcher, the 6-foot-6, 235-pound righthander posted 11 saves and a 2.70 ERA. Last season, he hit .314 with 13 homers, 10 doubles and 38 RBI. On the mound as a starter, he was 10-3 with a 2.73 ERA and struck out 96 batters with 30 walks. Skenes was a first team Collegiate Baseball All-American in 2021 and 2022. His fastball has topped out at 100 mph. He also is a skilled catcher.
  • RHP Thatcher Hurd (transfer from UCLA). He made nine appearances as a freshman at UCLA last season and posted a 2-0 record and 1.06 ERA with 48 strikeouts in 34 innings. He limited opponents to a .138 batting average. His fastball touches 96 mph.
  • RHP Christian Little (transfer from Vanderbilt). Little has pitched the past two seasons at Vanderbilt. He made 32 appearances (14 starts) and posted a 4.65 ERA with 95 strikeouts in 81 1/3 innings. His fastball touched 98 mph last season.
  • INF Ben Nippolt (transfer from Virginia Commonwealth). He was a first team Atlantic 10 Conference pick last season at second base as he hit .308 with 9 doubles and 31 RBI. He had an on-base percentage of .430 with 31 walks and 8 hit by pitches.

Other members of the recruiting class include:

  • C Brady Neal (IMG Academy, FL), a 17th round  pick by Brewers.
  • RHP Jaden Noot (Sierra Canyon H.S., CA), 19th round pick by Brewers.
  • RHP Micah Bucknam (Mennonite Ed Institute, Canada), 16th round pick by Blue Jays in 2021.
  • SS Gavin Guidry (Barbe H.S, LA), member 2021 18U Team USA national squad.
  • RHP Chase Shores (Lee H.S. TX), No. 1 RHP in Texas.
  • OF Paxton Kling (Central H.S., PA), member of 2021 18U USA national team.
  • LHP Nic Bronzini (California H.S., CA), All-State.
  • LHP Griffin Herring (Southlake Carroll H.S., TX), All-State.
  • LHP Nate Ackenhausen (Eastern Oklahoma J.C.), 8-1, 89 strikeouts, 14 BB.
  • C Jared Jones (Walton H.S., GA), All-American, No. 1 ranked catcher in Georgia.
  • RHP Aiden Moffett (Taylorsville H.S., MS), No. 1 ranked RHP in Mississippi.
  • C/1B Ethan Frey (Rosepine H.S., LA).
  • RHP Kaleb Applebey (Wabash Valley C.C.).
  • OF Zeb Ruddell (Neville H.S., LA), No. 1 outfielder in Louisiana.
  • OF Mic Paul (Olympus H.S., UT), No. 1 ranked outfielder in Utah.
  • LHP DJ Primeaux (Central H.S., LA), No. 1 LHP in Louisiana.

NOTE: A complete rundown on the top 25 recruiting classes is featured in the Oct. 1, 2021 issue of Collegiate Baseball. A chart also breaks down the top 50 classes in the nation as far as total number of new players for each school and how many freshmen, junior college and 4-year transfers were brought in. A record number of players were landed by ranked teams from the NCAA Div. I transfer portal. It also lists 76 other teams that received votes. To purchase this issue or subscribe, CLICK HERE.

Collegiate Baseball’s
Top 50 Recruiting Classes

  1. Louisiana St.                     
  2. Mississippi St.                                                           
  3. Arkansas                           
  4. Mississippi                        
  5. Georgia Tech.                   
  6. Louisville                                                                   
  7. Texas A&M                       
  8. Auburn
  9. Texas Christian                 
  10. Texas Tech.
  11. Tennessee                                                                
  12. Florida St.                         
  13. Virginia                              
  14. Vanderbilt                          
  15. Miami (Fla.)                       
  16. Alabama
  17. Clemson
  18. South Carolina
  19. Oklahoma St.
  20. North Carolina
  21. Florida
  22. Texas
  23. N.C. State
  24. Duke
  25. Virginia Tech.
  26. Oklahoma
  27. West Virginia
  28. Southern Mississippi
  29. Oregon St.
  30. Long Beach St.
  31. Wichita St.
  32. Georgia
  33. Coastal Carolina
  34. Oregon
  35. Indiana
  36. Stanford
  37. Baylor
  38. Arizona
  39. Arizona St.
  40. Jacksonville
  41. UCLA
  42. East Carolina
  43. Kentucky
  44. U.C. Santa Barbara
  45. Connecticut
  46. Cal. St. Fullerton
  47. Purdue
  48. San Diego
  49. Georgia St.
  50. Kennesaw St.

Previous NCAA Div. I
Recruiting Champions
By Collegiate Baseball

2021: UCLA
2020: Miami (Fla.)
2019: Vanderbilt
2018: Louisiana St.
2017: Vanderbilt
2016: Arizona St.
2015: Florida
2014: Louisiana St.
2013: Florida
2012: Vanderbilt
2011: South Carolina
2010: Louisiana St.
2009: Florida
2008: Arizona St.
2007: Louisiana St.
2006: South Carolina
2005: South Carolina
2004: Louisiana St.
2003: North Carolina
MMMlSouth Carolina
2002: Georgia Tech.
2001: Southern California
2000: Cal. St. Fullerton
1999: Southern California
1998: Georgia Tech.
1997: UCLA
1996: Texas A&M
1995: Arizona St.
1994: Mississippi St.
1993: Miami (Fla.)
1992: Florida St.
1991: Miami (Fla.)
1990: Arizona
1989: Florida St.
1988: Miami (Fla.)
1987: Stanford
1986: Stanford
1985: Hawaii
1984: Florida St.
1983: Arizona St.

Source: Collegiate Baseball