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College  | Recruiting  | 12/7/2022

Recruiting Notebook: December 7

Jheremy Brown      John McAdams      Isaiah Burrows     
Photo: Coy James (Perfect Game)

Will Hynes, RHP, Class of 2026
National Rank: 66 | Commitment: Wake Forest

Hynes entered the summer as a relative unknown out of Canada as the young right-hander hadn't yet been on the national scene, though it only took a couple of pitches at the Sophomore National Showcase to squarely put his name on the map. Squaring off against some of the top bats in the 2025 class, Hynes made short work of the task at hand as he pounded the strike zone with a rather simplistic operation on the bump while showing three pitches for strikes and a fastball up to 87 mph, complements of a lightning quick right arm. It proved to be more of the same as the summer unfolded and into the fall as Hynes continued to gather crowds of recruiters behind the backstop. The Demon Deacons have been on a roll as of late, landing a slew of high-end talent and with Hynes in the mix, the club looks to have one of the top 2026 recruiting classes in the country at this point. 

Coy James, SS, Class of 2025
National Rank: 20 | Commitment: Ole Miss

James has been on the national circuit since early in his prep days as he heard his named called for the 13u Select Festival in 2020 and again in 2021, only then for the 14u iteration of the Festival. Flashback a couple of years and it was easy to find his upside on the mound equally as appealing to what he brings to the offensive side of things as he spun one of the better breaking balls in the country and his athleticism allowed for plenty of strikes. And even though the fastball velocity has crept into the upper-80s present day, it very much looks as though James is going to be an impact-type bat with the athleticism and versatility to move all over the diamond. Everything he does on the field is refined with polish, from the looseness and quickness of his right-handed swing to its leverage through the zone, James is a huge pick up for the Rebels. 

Ridge Southerland, RHP, Class of 2025
National Rank: 243 | Commitment: Oklahoma

You're not going to miss Southerland as he walks out to the rubber, and if you're digging into the box to face the newly-minted Oklahoma commit, you probably won't be all too comfortable given his presence on the mound. A strongly-built 6-foot-4, 212-pound right-hander, Southerland took his stuff to the next level this summer as we saw the fastball climb upwards of 89 mph during the 15u WWBA World Championships with even more in the tank moving forward. Given how short his arm stroke is through the backside, Southerland is able to hide the ball extremely well which in turn allows the velocity to play up even more and aid in the discomfort a hitter might feel in the box. He mixes both a low-80s changeup as well as a low-70s curveball, which he tunnels well, alongside the heater and throughout 2022 averaged a strikeout-per-inning. 

-Jheremy Brown

Kai Hutchins, OF, Class of 2023
PG Rank: 500 | Commitment: Manhattan

Hutchins is the latest addition for new Head Coach David Miller and his staff, as they have named their recruiting efforts The Manhattan Project. What Hutchins brings to the table is a top-of-the lineup-ready bat with the ability to get on base frequently, while providing outstanding pitch recognition and sneaky power potential. He runs well enough to man center field, but may be better served in a corner and has enough arm strength to thwart extra bases. He has good instincts and takes exceptional routes to the baseball. He was previously committed to Old Dominion University before ultimately finding a home in New York City. The bat is the calling card, as he should be able to provide an immediate presence atop the lineup and be the catalyst for the aptly named #ManhattanProject.

Cory Sheridan, RHP, Class of 2025
PG Rank: 275 | Commitment: North Carolina State

Sheridan becomes the latest commit for the Wolfpack and Coach Elliot Avant in the Class of 2025, as he joins a bevy of talented prospects that should continue to keep #Pack9 near the top of the ACC and competing for Omaha each year. The athletic right-hander has made steady velocity gains throughout the last calendar year and comfortably works in the upper-80s, while peaking at 90 mph as of late. He repeats well, uses his powerful lower half extremely well throughout his delivery and possesses plenty of present arm speed. He sequences his three-pitch mix extremely well and shows the ability to manipulate both the speed and shape to his breaking ball effectively. He has added a cutter as another offering to miss barrels and completes his mix with a replicated changeup that he can deploy to both right-handed and left-handed hitters. There is more in the tank for the young 2025 grad and it will assuredly be fun to watch him continue to develop over these next few years.

Ethan Tolbert, MIF, Class of 2025
PG Rank: Top 1000 | Commitment: Penn State

Tolbert becomes just the third commit for Coach Rob Cooper and his Nittany Lions, as they have added young prospects from Pennsylvania, New York and now New Jersey. The long, lean and athletic middle infielder brings an intriguing set of skills that will only continue to expand with additional strength gains and maturity. He provides sound bat-to-ball skills from the left side with the ability to spray the baseball all over the field. In the grass, he displays ample lateral range to either side, soft hands and can throw from multiple arm angles that are necessary to play the middle. He will be an interesting follow over the next few years, as he adds strength to his projectable frame and certainly add other elements to a sound foundation.

Edward Werse, LHP, Class of 2024
PG Rank: T1000 | Commitment: New Jersey Tech

Werse becomes just the second commit in the 2024 class for Coach McClellan and the Highlanders, as they are known to strategically recruit throughout the country. The 6-foot, 180-pound left-hander has worked his way into the mid-80s of late and consistently throws quality strikes. He navigates all four quadrants of the strike zone, as he has the ability to cut and sink the baseball effectively. He pairs it well with a slower, more traditional shaped breaking ball that has some depth to it and a faded changeup that he is able to garner swings and misses with. The frame will allow for additional strength to be added and there should be another velocity uptick in the future. Werse is a proficient strike thrower that will limit free bases and should be able to step in right away upon stepping on campus.

-John McAdams

Alex Urias, OF, Class of 2023
PG Rank: 500 | Commitment: University of West Florida

West Florida grabbed a real solid player to its 2023 class in Urias. The Cumming, Georgia native is no stranger to high-end performance in several PG tournaments. He’s got great feel for the barrel and meets consistent contact with quick hands and a simple all-fields stroke. Urias is a well-rounded asset in the box with the ability to turn on mistakes to the pull side. Defensively, Urias is a solid mover capable of handling a corner outfield spot with accurate throws and solid instincts on the basepaths. His intangibles and overall offensive skill set make for a nice profile at the next level.

Roman Cruz, SS/MIF, Class of 2024
PG Rank: Top 1000 | Commitment: Sacramento State

Sacramento State found a nice in-state addition to its 2024 class. Cruz impressed in several facets this summer with advanced actions handling shortstop with traits, hands and enough arm to project up the middle. He’s a wiry athlete with athletic traits and feel for the leather. The swing opened eyes, creating quality extension and tons of length through contact that plays well to the pull-side gap or middle of the field. It’s good bat speed and some additional power projection as he fills out his lean frame. Cruz is an advanced defensive product with upside in the stick and he’s a big grab for the Hornets.

Joseph Moreno, LHP, Class of 2025
PG Rank: High Follow | Commitment: UC Santa Barbara

UCSB continues to hit the recruiting trail hard this fall and winter, adding a projectable lefty to its 2025 class in Moreno. Moreno has lots of length in his build with the makings of a three-pitch mix. The fastball is a current low-80s offering with feel for a two-plane breaking ball and quality changeup with good fading action. He lands on-line from a consistent stride and ease to a short three-quarter release. Moreno fills the zone, has the mechanics with more projection in store to be a sound product. He found a good home in Santa Barbara.

- Isaiah Burrows