"We're very excited about the class that we've signed," Hall said. "We went into the recruiting season hoping to get some pitching because of who we can potentially lose this year, including some of our best pitchers. So a hard focus was certainly made on recruiting guys that we felt could come in here and make an immediate impact on our pitching staff.
"After that, we felt like we were able to get some outstanding hitters, and in particular, two infielders that should give us a lot of depth. Both guys are also versatile enough that they can play several different positions. Finally, we thought that we needed some help at catcher, and I think that we signed one of the premier catchers in the country."
The recruiting class, assembled under Hall and assistant coaches Bryan Prince and Tom Kinkelaar, includes four pitchers, four infielders, one outfielder and one catcher.
"I'm very pleased with our recruiting class, especially because we had to hire two new coaches in the middle of the recruiting season, but they hit the ground running," Hall added. "As you look at this class, you can see that all of these guys have a great chance of showing up here and playing for us. I can't compliment my staff enough on how hard they worked this summer and fall to get these 10 guys in here. We're very excited about all of these players."
Georgia Tech's commitments include pitchers Jed Bradley (Huntsville, Ala. / Huntsville), Jake Davies (McDonough, Ga. / Eagles Landing Christian), Mark Pope (Marietta, Ga. / Walton) and Bryce Robinson (Kokomo, Ind. / Kokomo), infielders Jacob Esch (Chanhassen, Minn. / Cretin-Derham Hall), Evan Martin (Woodstock, Ga. / Sequoyah), Matt Skole (Woodstock, Ga. / Blessed Trinity) and Connor Winn (Suwanee, Ga. / Wesleyan), outfielder Jarrett Didrick (Rome, Ga. / Calhoun) and catcher Brandon Miller (Tyrone, Ga. / Woodward Academy).
A detailed look at Georgia Tech's signees:
JED BRADLEY (LHP, L/L, 6-4, 195, Huntsville, Ala./Huntsville)
Bradley was a two-year letterwinner for coach Jason Gendreau at Eisenhower High School (Utica, Mich.) before moving to Huntsville, Ala., to complete his final year of high school. At Eisenhower, he earned all-conference, all-district and all-county honors in 2007 after finishing the season with a 0.91 ERA, 83 strikeouts, 24 walks, 7 complete games and eight earned runs in 61.2 innings of work. Over the summer, he competed in the 2007 WWBA 16U National Championship and finished the season with a 0.29 ERA in 48.1 innings. He struck out 56 and walked just 14 while giving up 34 hits and only two earned.
Danny Hall on Bradley: "Jed Bradley was a guy that came to our exposure camp that we were very impressed with. He grew up in Michigan before moving to Huntsville when his dad was transferred for work. He's a great student with tremendous work habits, and I think he's going to be the `sleeper' of this group in terms of his being a big, tall lefty that is going to do nothing but get better."
JAKE DAVIES (LHP/1B, L/L, 6-1, 218, McDonough, Ga./Eagles Landing Christian)
Davies is rated the No. 148 high school prospect by Baseball America's Prospects Plus and in the top 300 by Perfect Game Crosschecker. A four-star recruit by Prospects Plus, Davies has helped his Eagles Landing Christian School team, under the direction of coach Doug Campbell, to a GHSA Class A State Championship (2006) and a state runner-up finish (2007) over the last two years. A talented left-handed pitcher and hard-hitting first baseman that is the brother of major league pitcher Kyle Davies, Davies has spent several years as a part of the East Cobb Baseball Program, most recently with the East Cobb Braves and East Cobb Astros. He holds the East Cobb single-season record in home runs (50), joining former Yellow Jacket standouts Danny Payne (BA - .566), Richard Lewis (SB - 91), Steven Blackwood (H - 163, R - 213) and Marc Pisciotta (K - 136) as well as his brother (wins - 19) as East Cobb record holders. As a sophomore, Davies hit .448 with 3 HR, 36 RBI and went 12-2 with a 1.28 ERA, 101 K, 30 BB in 76 IP. Last season he hit .521 with 8 HR, 11 doubles and two triples while striking out just five times in 137 plate appearances. He went 12-1 with a 1.41 ERA, 114 K and 33 BB in 79 IP. Davies has twice been named the Georgia Dugout Club Class A Player of the Year and was named the Henry County Player of the Year in 2007.
Danny Hall on Davies: "Jake Davies is the younger brother of Kyle Davies, a former Georgia Tech signee that turned professional and has been pitching at the major league level. Jake is outstanding in his own right though, and he's left-handed. We see him as a two-way guy for us - he's definitely one of the best left-handed pitchers in the country, but he is also a very good hitter. Like the whole Davies family, he's a competitive guy that likes to have the ball in his hand in big games. He's played in the East Cobb program for as long as we can remember, and is a competitive guy with a lot of experience."
JARRETT DIDRICK (OF, R/R, 6-1, 185, Rome, Ga./Calhoun)
A Georgia Dugout Club Top 100 prep standout, Didrick, playing for coach Chip Henderson, helped his Calhoun High School team to the finals of the state championships in 2007. The Rome, Ga. native has also been a long-time member of the East Cobb Baseball Program, most recently playing for the East Cobb Astros. He has played in four WWBA National Championship Tournaments - the 16U/08 and the 17U/07 championships in 2006 and the 16U and 15U championships in 2005. He is also slated to be a part of the 2008 East Cobb Yankees team that will also include future teammates Jake Davies, Evan Martin, Brandon Miller and Matt Skole.
Danny Hall on Didrick: "Jarrett is another great player from Calhoun High School. [Former Georgia Tech first baseman/outfielder and current professional baseball player] Whit Robbins was from Calhoun, and I tell everyone that Jarrett is the right-handed version of Whit. He's a very good hitter that has tremendous power, and he played on the Calhoun team that played for the state championship last season. Every time I saw him play this past summer, he hit a home run - he hit two of them in our stadium early in the summer, one of which went into the middle of our scoreboard. Again, he's just a good outfielder with very good speed and great power."
JACOB ESCH (SS/RHP, R/R, 6-3, 180, Chanhassen, Minn./Cretin-Derham Hall)
Esch is a two-sport standout at Cretin-Derham Hall in Minnesota, where he is a shortstop/pitcher for baseball coach Jim O'Neill and serves as the starting punter for football coach Mike Scanlan. Rated the No. 704 baseball prospect by PG Crosschecker, Esch helped his high school to its 11th state title in 2007, earning a shutout victory in the championship run before coming on in relief in the title game, where he also picked up the win. He is 3-0 in state tournament games in his career, tying the Minnesota record for wins in tournament play. The right-handed pitcher went 8-0 on the mound at CDH in 2007 and was named the Pioneer Press Baseball Player of the Year before earning all-state honorable mention honors at the end of the season. He earned all-conference honors in both his sophomore and junior seasons.
Danny Hall on Esch: "Jacob Esch was the top prep player in the state of Minnesota last season. He's a very good athlete that plays football as well as baseball. His high school football team played for the state championship this year in Minnesota, and his baseball team won the state championship last season. He's a good athlete with tremendous upside, he's a great student, and I think he's a guy that will be a household name here in three years at Georgia Tech."
EVAN MARTIN (SS/3B/2B, R/R, 5-7, 150, Woodstock, Ga./Sequoyah)
Martin is a talented three-star recruit that hails from the same high school that produced former Yellow Jacket center fielder Danny Payne. He stands tied with Payne for the Sequoyah High School record with 26 doubles in his career and set new single-season records for hits (46), doubles (20) and runs (36) in 2007. Martin, rated in the top 300 among high school prospects by Baseball America's Prospects Plus and among the top 600 by PG Crosschecker, was named the Sequoyah Offensive Player of the Year in 2007 after hitting .489 with 20 doubles, two triples, six home runs, 26 RBI, 36 runs, 18 stolen bases, 88 total bases, a .936 slugging percentage and a .960 fielding percentage as the starting shortstop. A two-time Cherokee Ledger and Cherokee Tribune all-county honoree, Martin has a career .425 batting average and .710 slugging percentage as a three-year letterwinner for coach Steve Bohn at Sequoyah.
Danny Hall on Martin: "Evan Martin is another great athlete that played for the East Cobb Braves last summer. He's from Danny Payne's high school and can play any position on the field. Every time I saw him play this past summer, he got two or three hits in every game. He can run extremely well, and he plays both the infield and outfield. He's also a very smart guy, whose father graduated from Georgia Tech, and we are just very excited to have another great player from Sequoyah."
BRANDON MILLER (C, R/R, 6-1, 195, Tyrone, Ga./Woodward Academy)
Miller, a four-star catcher that is rated the No. 131 high school prospect by Baseball America Prospects Plus and No. 157 by PG Crosschecker, helped his Woodward Academy team to a 25-6 record and second round appearance in the 2007 state tournament. He has participated in multiple World Wood Bat tournaments over the last year, including the World Championship and 18U National Championship, and was named the MVP of his East Cobb Yankees team in 2005. He is also slated to be a part of the 2008 East Cobb Yankees team that will also include future teammates Jake Davies, Evan Martin, Jarrett Didrick and Matt Skole.
Danny Hall on Miller: "Brandon Miller, from Woodward Academy, is one of the best catchers in the country. "He's got tremendous power and a great throwing arm. We're very excited about him - he goes to Woodward Academy, so he's definitely had great preparation in high school to get him to Georgia Tech. We can't say enough good things about Brandon - he will be a valuable addition to our team, not only offensively, but defensively."
MARK POPE (RHP, R/R, 6-2, 193, Marietta, Ga./Walton)
Four-star recruit Mark Pope is ranked among the top-350 high school prospects by PG Crosschecker and hails from Walton High School, where he is a three-year letterwinner for coach Shane Amos. Pope helped his prep team to a 32-7 record in 2007, culminating with the 6AAAAA state championship, earning Cobb County all-region and AJC Northside Player of the Year honors in the process. As a junior at Walton, Pope went 11-3 with 103 strikeouts and just 19 walks in 87.1 innings pitched. He also tossed nine complete games and had a 1.76 ERA while hitting .396 with 11 doubles and six home runs in his third season on the team.
Danny Hall on Pope: "Mark Pope was the top pitcher on Walton's state championship run last season and was another athlete to play for the East Cobb Braves over the summer. He is an outstanding pitcher, but we will give him a chance to swing the bat as well. We really recruited him to come in and eat a lot of innings for us as a freshman. He's ready to pitch right now and has a good fastball, breaking ball and changeup. We're very excited to get another guy from Walton and the East Cobb Braves in here."
BRYCE ROBINSON (LHP, L/L, 6-2, 170, Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo)
Robinson, a four-star recruit that is rated the No. 99 prospect in the country by Baseball America's Prospects Plus and in the top 300 by PG Crosschecker, helped his Kokomo High School baseball team to the state championship game in 2007. He led his conference with 93 strikeouts and a 0.96 ERA in 2007, giving up just nine runs, only seven of which were earned, in 51 innings of work. The Indiana native also picked up seven wins on the season while tossing five complete games for Kokomo.
Danny Hall on Robinson: "Bryce Robinson is one of the best left-handed pitchers in the country. He tossed a great game in the state tournament last year to win, 1-0, and played for the Indiana Bulls over the summer, which is a part of one of the premier summer programs in the country. I frequently compare him to [former Yellow Jacket pitcher] Cory Vance, and if he can turn out to be as good as Cory Vance was for us, we'll be extremely excited about him. Bryce is a tremendous left-handed pitcher that we expect will make an immediate impact on our program."
MATT SKOLE (1B, L/R, 6-3, 220, Woodstock, Ga./Blessed Trinity)
Skole, a three-year letterman for coach Andy Harlin at Blessed Trinity in Roswell, Ga., has helped his high school team to a state championship (2006) and elite eight (2007) finish in each of the last two seasons. Another East Cobb Baseball standout, Skole is ranked by PG Crosschecker and has played in multiple World Wood Bat tournaments over the last year, including the World Championships and 18U National Championships. He is also slated to be a part of the 2008 East Cobb Yankees team that will also include future teammates Jake Davies, Evan Martin, Jarrett Didrick and Brandon Miller.
Danny Hall on Skole: Matt Skole is our top-recruited power hitter in this class. He plays at Blessed Trinity, which has been a perennial state power in Georgia over the last couple of years under coach Andy Harlin. Matt also played for the East Cobb Yankees this past summer and is a guy that has been getting better and better every year. I think he's just scratched the surface on how good he is going to be. He's a big left-handed hitter that we think is a great fit for our ballpark. We expect that he's going to hit a lot of home runs in his college career. He also comes from a very athletic family, as his uncle is the head baseball coach at East Tennessee State and played at The Citadel."
CONNOR WINN (IF, R/R, 5-10, 175, Suwanee, Ga./Wesleyan)
Winn is a three-year letterwinner from the Wesleyan School that helped his high school team to the semifinals of the state championships in 2007. He shattered the Wesleyan home run record (27) in just three years by hitting .421 with 12 home runs, 26 RBI, 41 runs, and 11 stolen bases while posting a .500 on base percentage and a .841 slugging percentage in his junior season. He helped his Wesleyan team to a state runner-up finish during his sophomore season, setting the school record with 48 runs scored while leading the team with 10 home runs, a .405 average and 47 hits. A three-year starter for coach Michael Shaheen at Wesleyan, he was tabbed first-team all-county by the Gwinnett Daily post in 2007.
Danny Hall on Winn: "Connor Winn, a shortstop from Wesleyan, has played the last couple of summers for the Georgia Roadrunners, which is coached by Eric McQueen, a former standout catcher for us in the late 1990's. He's also a great student and very good shortstop, and was a valuable part of Wesleyan's deep run in the playoffs over the last two years. He is a perfect fit for Georgia Tech - he's a great student, a great player, and he can play any of the three infield positions. He also is a good runner and can hit for some power."
Name Pos. B/T Ht. Wt. Hometown (High School) Jed Bradley LHP L/L 6-4 195 Huntsville, Ala. (Huntsville) Jake Davies LHP/1B L/L 6-1 218 McDonough, Ga. (Eagles Landing Christian) Jarrett Didrick OF R/R 6-1 185 Rome, Ga. (Calhoun) Jacob Esch SS/RHP R/R 6-3 180 Chanhassen, Minn. (Cretin-Derham Hall) Evan Martin SS/3B/2B R/R 5-7 150 Woodstock, Ga. (Sequoyah) Brandon Miller C R/R 6-1 195 Tyrone, Ga. (Woodward Academy) Mark Pope RHP R/R 6-2 193 Marietta, Ga. (Walton) Bryce Robinson LHP L/L 6-2 170 Kokomo, Ind. (Kokomo) Matt Skole 1B L/R 6-3 220 Woodstock, Ga. (Blessed Trinity) Connor Winn IF R/R 5-10 175 Suwanee, Ga. (Wesleyan)