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Aggie Baseball Inks Nine Commitments

November 16, 2012
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The Texas A&M Baseball program received certification on National Letters of Intent and appropriate paperwork for nine newcomers for the 2014 season, including eight of the top high school student-athletes in the nation on the opening days of the early signing period head coach Rob Childress announced on Friday.

 "This recruiting class of nine may be one of the most talented from top to bottom that we have signed in the early period during our time here," Childress said. "So much of the credit goes to Recruiting Coordinator Justin Seely and Associate Head Coach Andy Sawyers. The two of them spent an awful lot of time on the road identifying the talent that best fits in our program. There is very good balance with five pitchers and two of them being left-handed as well as four position players with two of them being infielders and two outfielders."

All nine players hail from the state of Texas, including seven prep standouts. The class includes OF Nick Banks (Tomball, Texas/Tomball HS); IF Ryne Birk (Katy, Texas/Seven Lakes HS); LHP Kaylor Chafin (Sweeny, Texas/Sweeny HS); RHP Mark Ecker (San Antonio, Texas/O'Connor HS); OF Kaleb Goodell (Spring, Texas/Klein Oak HS/Navarro College); IF Ronnie Gideon (Hallsville, Texas/Hallsville); RHP Ryan Hendrix (Cypress, Texas/Cy-Woods HS); RHP Casey Shane (Burleson, Texas/Centennial HS); LHP Tyler Stubblefield (Lufkin, Texas/Lufkin HS).

The class includes six high school players ranked among the Perfect Game USA Top 500, including four in the top 200. The group includes Shane (17th), Banks (90th), Birk (172nd), Ecker (176th), Gideon (265th) and Stubblefield (475th).

"We believe that the newly remodeled Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park made a major impact right away along with going into the SEC," Childress said. "We feel like each one of these kids has a chance to make an immediate impact in our program right away."

A&M opens its 2013 season on Feb. 15 when the Aggies host Illinois-Chicago in the opener of a three-game series.

2012-13 Texas A&M University Baseball signing class (as of Nov. 16, 2012)
Nick Banks - OF - Tomball, Texas (Tomball HS) - 6-1, 195
Ryne Birk - IF - Katy, Texas (Seven Lakes HS) - 5-9, 175
Kaylor Chafin - LHP - Sweeny, Texas (Sweeny HS) - 5-9, 170
Mark Ecker - RHP - San Antonio, Texas (O'Connor HS) - 6-1, 185
Kaleb Goodell - OF - Spring, Texas (Klein Oak HS/Navarro College) - 6-0, 170
Ronnie Gideon - IF - Hallsville, Texas (Hallsville HS) - 6-3, 225
Ryan Hendrix - RHP - Cypress, Texas (Cy-Woods HS) - 6-3, 175
Casey Shane - RHP - Burleson, Texas (Centennial HS) - 6-4, 200
Tyler Stubblefield - LHP - Lufkin, Texas (Lufkin HS) - 6-5, 210

Nick Banks - OF - Tomball, Texas (Tomball HS)

  • Currently ranked No. 90 in the nation among high school juniors by Perfect Game USA
  • Currently ranked No. 2 outfielder in the state of Texas by Perfect Game USA
  • Perfect Game 1st Team Preseason High School Underclassman All-American Second Team in 2011 and 2012
  • Invited to USA Baseball 16U National Team Trials in 2010
  • Earned District 13-5A Heart Award in 2011
  • Garnered Class 13-5A Second Team recognition in 2010 and 2012

Quote from recruiting coordinator Justin Seely: Nick brings strength and speed to our team that very few kids at his age possess.  He has played at a high level for a long time already and we expect him to bring all those attributes to Texas A&M and help us win SEC championships.

Ryne Birk - IF - Katy, Texas (Seven Lakes HS)

  • Currently ranked No. 172 in the nation among high school juniors by Perfect Game USA
  • Currently ranked No. 2 shortstop in the state of Texas by Perfect Game USA
  • Member of the Texas Rangers Area Code Team in 2012
  • Tabbed a Class 5A All-Texas shortstop by the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association in 2012
  • Named All-Greater Houston by the Houston Chronicle
  • Named All-District 19-5A First Team as a junior and All-District 19-5A Honorable Mention as a sophomore

Quote from recruiting coordinator Justin Seely:  Ryno brings a level of confidence that allows him to play at his ability level or higher at times.  He is one of the best, if not the best, player in Houston in my opinion.

Kaylor Chafin - LHP - Sweeny, Texas (Sweeny HS)

  • Selected to Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association 3A All-Texas First Team as a pitcher
  • Named to Texas SportsWriters Association Class 3A All-Texas Second Team as a pitcher and Honorable Mention as a designated hitter
  • Garnered All-Greater Houston Second Team as a utility player during junior campaign
  • Tabbed the Victoria Advocate District 29-3A MVP in 2012
  • Registered a 12-1 record with a 1.38 ERA and batted .342 with nine doubles, one triple and 17 RBI as a junior
  • Named the Victoria Advocate District 29-3A Newcomer of the Year as a sophomore in 2011

Quote from recruiting coordinator Justin Seely: Kaylor can speed you up and slow you down.  He has an advanced feel to pitch for his age and with strength we think he will really take advantage of his full potential.  His curveball is an equalizer along with his ability to throw strikes.

Mark Ecker - RHP - San Antonio, Texas (O'Connor HS)

  • Currently ranked No. 176 in the nation among high school juniors by Perfect Game USA
  • Currently ranked No. 7 right-handed pitcher in the state of Texas by Perfect Game USA
  • Member of the Washington Nationals Area Code Team in 2012
  • Tabbed Class 5A All-Texas Third Team as a pitcher by the Texas SportsWriters Association as a junior
  • Named Class 5A All-Texas Honorable Mention as a shortstop by the Texas SportsWriters Association as a junior
  • Tabbed the San Antonio Area Player of the Year by the San Antonio Express-News in 2012
  • Named District 27-5A MVP as a junior
  • Batted .416 with five home runs, 42 hits and 46 RBI and went 8-0 with a 0.74 ERA and 110 strikeouts in 56.2 innings as a junior
  • Led O'Connor to a 27-5A championship and a 29-8 record in 2012

Quote from recruiting coordinator Justin Seely: Mark was the San Antonio Player of the Year as a junior.  He has a really quick arm that can get him into the low 90's in every outing with feel for getting punch outs.

Kaleb Goodell - OF - Spring, Texas (Klein Oak HS/Navarro College)

  • Named a second-team NJCAA All-America in 2012
  • Tabbed the Region XIV Freshman of the Year in 2012
  • Named Rawlings/Perfect Game Preseason All-Texas Region Second Team
  • Played in 53 games for Navarro Junior college, hitting .401 with 14 doubles, three triples, 37 RBI and 40 runs in 2012
  • Tabbed All-District 13-5A First Team as an outfielder in 2010 and 2011

Quote from recruiting coordinator Justin Seely:  Kaleb has been an advanced hitter for Klein Oak High School and now Navarro College. He is now physically more mature, stronger and running better which will allow him the opportunity to impact our lineup at the top as soon as he steps on campus.

Ronnie Gideon - IF - Hallsville, Texas (Hallsville HS)

  • Currently ranked No. 265 in the nation among high school juniors by Perfect Game USA
  • Currently ranked No. 3 third baseman in the state of Texas by Perfect Game USA
  • Named second-team Class 4A All-Texas by the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association in 2012
  • Tabbed Class 4A All-Texas Second Team as a Third Baseman by the Texas SportsWriters Association as a junior
  • Honored as District 14-4A Offensive Player of the Year in 2011 and 2012
  • Tabbed Harrison/Marion County Most Valuable Player by the Marshall News Messenger and All-East Texas by the Longview News-Journal in 2012
  • Batted .374 with 11 doubles, two triples, five home runs and 43 RBI as a junior
  • Tabbed Class 4A All-Texas Second Team as a shortstop by the Texas SportsWriters Association as a sophomore
  • Named the 2011 East Texas Player of the Year by the Longview News-Journal
  • Hit .469 with 11 home runs, 11 doubles and 50 RBI and posted a .564 on-base percentage and .895 slugging percentage as a sophomore
  • Logged six doubles, two home runs and 19 RBI as a freshman
  • Won the NFL's Punt, Pass and Kick national title as a seventh grader

Quote from recruiting coordinator Justin Seely:  Ronnie brings not only right-handed power but the ability to hit and play defense.   Ronnie physically gifted and he also has an advanced knowledge of the game of baseball.

Ryan Hendrix - RHP - Cypress, Texas (Cy-Woods HS)

  • Tabbed an UnderArmour Top 60 player in 2012
  • Played the last three seasons at Big Sandy High School
  • Earned Class 1A All-Texas Third Team honors from the Texas Sportswriters Association in 2012
  • Named Class 1A All-Texas Second Team by the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association in 2012
  • Hit .371 with five home runs, one triple, one home run and 12 RBI and posted a 4-4 record with a 2.29 ERA in 36.2 innings as a sophomore
  • Named All-District 24-1A First Team as a pitcher in 2011

Quote from recruiting coordinator Justin Seely: Ryan has four pitches that he can throw for strikes.  He is athletic with plenty of room to grow into his frame.  He will pitch in the upper 80's to low 90's comfortably and with strength that will only increase.

Casey Shane - RHP - Burleson, Texas (Centennial HS)

  • Currently ranked No. 17 in the nation among high school juniors by Perfect Game USA
  • Currently ranked No. 2 right-handed pitcher in the state of Texas by Perfect Game USA
  • Tabbed a Perfect Game USA Preseason All-American
  • Played in the Perfect Game All-American Classic at San Diego's Petco Park in 2012
  • Played on the Texas Rangers Area Code Team in 2012

Quote from recruiting coordinator Justin Seely:  Casey is physical with a big arm.  He has a low to mid 90's fastball with a put-you-to-bed breaker and developing feel for the changeup.  Casey is a great competitor as well.

Tyler Stubblefield - LHP - Lufkin, Texas (Lufkin HS)

  • Currently ranked No. 475 in the nation among high school juniors by Perfect Game USA
  • Currently ranked No. 6 left-handed pitcher in the state of Texas by Perfect Game USA
  • Logged a 5-3 record with a 2.30 ERA and 86 strikeouts as a junior in 2012
  • Also an All-District 14-5A quarterback for Lufkin's football team who earned Built Ford Tough Texas High School Player of the Week for Class 5A after completing 29-of-43 passes for 562 yards and eight TDs in an OT win against A&M Consolidated
  • Brother of current Aggie Gandy Stubblefield

Quote from recruiting coordinator Justin Seely: Tyler got better every time we saw him pitch and I expect the same when he steps on campus.  Big frame, left-handed with an upper 80's to low 90's fastball and feel for the slider.  For his size Tyler is a good athlete who also plays quarterback at Lufkin High School.

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