The recruiting class, assembled under the direction of assistant coach/recruiting coordinator Scott Stricklin, includes two brothers of current Tech players. Outfielder Mickey Hall (Marietta, Ga./Walton HS) is the younger brother of Tech sophomore third baseman Jake Hall, and infielder/pitcher John Goodman (Marietta, Ga./Lassiter HS) is the brother of senior pitcher Chris Goodman.
Tech's two out-of-state signees -- third baseman Wes Hodges (Ooltewah, Tenn./The Baylor School) and pitcher Jason Stephens (Tallmadge, Ohio/Tallmadge HS) -- are both considered high profile prospects.
The remainder of Georgia Tech's in-state commitments include pitcher/infielder Tim Gustafson (Lilburn, Ga./Parkview HS), outfielder Avery Johnson (Atlanta, Ga./Westlake HS), catcher Nick Scherer (Roswell, Ga./Roswell HS), first baseman/outfielder/pitcher Whit Robbins (Calhoun, Ga./Calhoun HS), pitcher Ryan Turner (Dahlonega, Ga./Lumpkin County HS) and pitcher Blake Wood (Suwanee, Ga./North Gwinnett HS).
"We wanted to fill some specific needs and I feel like we ended up with a pretty good balance of players, " said Hall, who owns a 396-172 record in nine years as Tech's head coach after leading the Yellow Jackets to the College World Series last spring. "The fact that we were able to get two brothers of players that we had in the program already is exciting.
"The state of Georgia has great players and our program is always going to have a lot of in-state players," continued Hall. "High school baseball and summer baseball in the state is outstanding. That is one of the reasons that our program has been so strong for so long."
"John Goodman is a lot like his brother Chris," said Hall. "He is a great infielder and he has a great arm on the mound. We plan on trying to use him both ways."
Gustafson is a two-sport standout at Parkview High School as a two-way starter on Parkview's nationally-ranked football team and as a pitcher and shortstop on the baseball team that won the state championship in 2001 and 2002. As a junior at Parkview, Gustafson posted a 12-2 record and a 2.21 ERA, setting the school record for victories. The 6-3, 185-pound right-hander pitched for the USA Baseball Junior National Team last summer, helping lead the team to the bronze medal at the World Junior Championships in Quebec, Canada.
"I'm very pleased to have a guy from Parkview's program," said Hall. "They have won two straight state championships and Tim Gustafson has been a big part of that pitching and playing shortstop."
Hall hit .435 with eight home runs and 43 RBI as a junior for Walton High School last spring after two years at Athens Drive High School in Raleigh where he earned first-team all-state and team MVP honors in 2001. He played for the Midland Redskins last summer, batting .408 with 11 home runs. The 6-2, 195-pound Hall led his team to the Connie Mack World Series where he was named to the tournament team after going 9-for-16 with four homers and 10 RBI in the series.
"Mickey Hall is just a great player," said Hall. "He is a very good outfielder and he has a great bat. We were looking to find a guy to replace Matt Murton when he leaves and we are excited about his ability."
Hodges, 6-2, 185, earned all-state honors in Tennessee and was named to the Chattanooga Best of Preps First Team after batting .374 with six home runs and 28 RBI as a junior at the Baylor School. He was selected to participate in the Team One Showcase, the East Coast Professional Showcase and the Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association Showcase.
"Wes Hodges is a great player," stated Hall. "He could probably play shortstop, but we plan on using him as a third baseman. He has a great bat and goes to a great school in Baylor. We were extremely excited that he chose to come to school at Georgia Tech."
Johnson hit .386 with four home runs and a region-best seven triples from his leadoff position at Westlake High School last spring as a junior. The 5-11, 165-pound switch-hitter led his team with 22 stolen bases. An honor roll student, Johnson participated in the Team One Showcase and the East Coast Showcase while also being invited to three Perfect Game events.
Scherer hit .375 as a junior last spring at Roswell High School, and he has made his mark as an outstanding defensive catcher. He has been named the top defensive player on his team for three straight years and last spring threw out 65 percent of potential base stealers. The 5-8, 150-pound Scherer has spent the last the last two summers with the prestigious East Cobb Yankees program, helping the team to the Connie Mack World Series championship in 2001 and a third place finish in 2002.
"Pound for pound I would put Nick Scherer against anybody," said Hall. "He plays hard and does everything that you want to see a guy do on the baseball field. He can really catch and throw and he can surprise you with the bat."
Stephens was been named to the all-Suburban League team, all-Plain Dealer team and the all-Beacon Journal Team following both the 2001 and 2002 seasons at Tallmadge High School. The 6-4, 185-pound Stephens pitched in the Ohio state semifinals as a freshman and started the state championship game as a sophomore. Last summer he pitched a one-hit shutout in the Mickey Mantle regionals.
"Jason Stephens is probably the best player in Ohio," stated Hall. "He is a great student and a great player. He plays for a guy that I had a chance to coach at Miami of Ohio and I'm really excited about that."
"Whit Robbins has had some shoulder problems, but he's led Calhoun to the state championship and has been a big factor swinging the bat for them," said Hall. "Everybody knows that he can hit, but if he can get his arm back to where it was I think he is a guy that can really contribute on the mound for us."
Turner went 8-1 with a 0.90 ERA as a junior at Lumpkin County High School, striking out 109 batters in 57 innings. The 6-2, 170-pound southpaw spent the summer with the Ohio Warhawks where he posted a 4-2 record and a 2.12 ERA while helping the team win the 2002 All-American Classic in Memphis. Named to the Gainesville Times all-area baseball team, Turner is also a four-year letterwinner in basketball where he helped lead Lumpkin County to the state playoffs for the first time in school history in 2002.
"Ryan Turner is a Cory Vance clone," said Hall referring to his former Tech all-American. "He has the same kind of stuff coming to college. He is a great competitor and we are really excited about him coming to Georgia Tech."
Wood, a 6-4, 200-pound right-hander, posted a 5-2 record as a junior at North Gwinnett High School last spring. He played with the East Cobb Astros last summer and posted a 13-1 record and a 1.61 ERA, and the team won the AAU national championship, the CABA championship and the Super 7 Series championship.
"Blake Wood is the sleeper of the class and a lot of people don't know about him," said Hall. "He has great size and he has a great sinker. His record last summer with the East Cobb Astros speaks for itself."
Fayette County High School standout pitcher and designated hitter Lee Hyde joined the recruiting class on April 17, 2003.
The 6-2, 185 pound Hyde earned first-team all-region and all Fayette-Coweta honors as a junior when he led the region with 13 home runs and hit .410 with 38 RBI. He posted a 7-2 record and a 1.81 ERA as a left-handed pitcher.
"Lee Hyde is a guy that is going to be a great prospect for us as a two-way guy," said Hall. "He has an outstanding arm as a left-handed pitcher. I saw him early last summer, and he has continued to get better and better. He can also hit, and we feel like he is a guy that can help us both ways."
Georgia Tech Baseball Signees Name POS B/T HT WT Hometown(High School) John Goodman INF/P R/R 6-0 180 Marietta, Ga. (Lassiter) Tim Gustafson P/INF R/R 6-3 185 Lilburn, Ga. (Parkview)
Mickey Hall OF L/L 6-2 195 Marietta, Ga. (Walton)Wes Hodges 3B S/R 6-2 185 Ooltewah, Tenn. (Baylor School) Lee Hyde P/DH L/L 6-2 185 Fayetteville, Ga. (Fayette County) Avery Johnson OF S/R 5-11 165 Atlanta, Ga. (Westlake) Nick Scherer C R/R 5-8 150 Roswell, Ga. (Roswell) Jason Stephens P R/R 6-4 185 Tallmadge, Ohio (Tallmadge)Whit Robbins 1B/OF/P L/R 6-1 190 Calhoun, Ga. (Calhoun) Ryan Turner P L/L 6-2 170 Dahlonega, Ga. (Lumpkin County) Blake Wood P R/R 6-4 200 Suwanee, Ga. (North Gwinnett)