Perhaps Jack Leggett’s luck has turned.
The problems created for college baseball by the Major League Draft may be universal, but through the years, Clemson has seemed to take a particularly heavy bludgeoning.
Not this year.
Instead of spending the summer scrambling to fill gaps for next year’s lineup, Leggett and recruiting coordinator Bradley LeCroy can concentrate on their 2013 recruiting class, which will sign this November.
The Tigers’ 2012 class came through the draft relatively unscathed. Atlanta-area righthander Lucas Sims was drafted in the first round, and No. 21 overall, by the Atlanta Braves, and has already signed his rookie contract.
Several others were drafted late, after turning down signing offers of up to half a million dollars which would have made them earlier picks.
LeCroy’s first full class as recruiting coordinator reflects good judgment in targeting players predisposed to taking the college route to pro baseball, and has also strengthened the Tigers’ recruiting footprint locally, from Atlanta to Charlotte.
Of Clemson’s 14 signees, 11 come from South Carolina (5), Georgia (4) and North Carolina (2). The Tigers also picked up one player each from New Jersey, Virginia and Florida.
The class of 14 includes 13 high school players and one junior college transfer, which will give Leggett and his staff a full, deep, and well-rounded class to build upon for the next three seasons.
The Tigers addressed their need for lefthanded pitching with the signing of Matthew Crownover of Ringgold, Ga., and Zack Erwin, from Duluth, Ga.; and added a trio of righthanders in Brody Koerner, of Concord, N.C., Clate Schmidt, of Acworth, Ga., and Wales Toney, of T.L. Hanna High in Anderson, S.C.
The group includes five infielders – Kevin Bradley, Pennington, N.J., Tyler Krieger, of Johns Creek, Ga., Kyle Whitman, of Fort Mill, S.C., Jackson Campana of Charlotte, N.C., and Shane Kennedy, from Orlando, Fla.
Also enrolling later this summer will be outfielders Andrew Cox, from Belton-Honea Path, S.C., Steven Duggar, from Moore, S.C., and Maleek Gibson, of Sumter, S.C.; as well as catcher Matthew Reed, from Purcellville, Va.
Following is a closer look at the members of the Tigers’ 2012 baseball recruiting class:
Kevin Bradley: An infielder-catcher from Pennington, N.J., Bradley is a three-year starter at Hopewell High School. The switch-hitter batted .446 with seven homers and led his conference in RBIs last season, and followed by batting .407 with five homers as a senior. He’s the son of Princeton head coach Scott Bradley.
Jackson Campana: A 6-foot-6, 220-pound third baseman/catcher from Charlotte, N.C., Campana is a former teammate of Richie Shaffer at Providence High. He hit eight home runs in both his sophomore and junior seasons.
Andrew Cox: An outfielder from Belton, S.C., Cox originally committed to South Carolina despite having grown up as a Clemson fan. He changed his mind last summer after his older brother, Jay, made the Tigers’ roster as a walk-on transfer and he began attending games at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. His father, Jimmy, was a kicker on the Clemson football team in 1979 and 1980. Cox is a two-time all-region choice. He earned first-team high school all-state honors as a senior.
Matthew Crownover: A lefthanded pitcher from Ringgold, Ga., as a 16-year-old Crownover was rated as the No. 1 lefthanded pitcher, and the No. 12 player overall, in the class of 2012 by Perfect Game. He chose Clemson over Georgia Tech, LSU and Tennessee, and was honored as a 2011 first-team All-American by Perfect Game. Crownover missed most of his senior season after undergoing ‘Tommy John Surgery’ on his elbow in March. Prior to being injured he was being projected as a possible first-round pick in the Major League Draft.
Steven Duggar: An outfielder from Moore, S.C, Duggar is the teammate of Clemson freshman Daniel Gossett. He earned first-team 4-A all-state honors as a junior and senior.
Zack Erwin: A 6-foot-5 lefthanded pitcher from Duluth, Ga., Erwin was 7-4 with a 3.09 ERA and 68 strikeouts in 65 innings last season. He chose Clemson over Georgia Tech and Mississippi State, among others.
Maleek Gibson: An outfielder from Lakewood High in Sumter, S.C., Gibson is a lefthanded batter who has been committed to the Tigers for nearly two years.
Shane Kennedy: A middle infielder from Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville, Fla., Kennedy batted .364 with a team-high eight homers, eight triples and 41 RBIs as a sophomore. He had a .647 slugging percentage and stole 21 of 22 bases. He earned first-team Florida junior college all-state honors. As a freshman at North Florida, he earned Freshman All-America honors after batting .324, with a .410 on-base percentage and stole six of seven bases.
Brody Koerner: A righthanded pitcher from Concord, N.C., Koerner earned all-state honors at J.M. Robinson High as a junior after going 6-3 with a 1.51 ERA. He pitched eight complete games and struck out 151 batters, and was honored as South Peidmont Conference pitcher of the year. He has a fastball in the low-90s, as well as an effective change-up and curveball, in his pitching arsenal. He went 10-2 last year for the South Charlotte Panthers.
Tyler Krieger: An infielder from Johns Creek, GA, he plays at Northview High, where he was a teammate of current Tiger Matt Campbell. He batted .375 in 2010 and earned second-team all-region honors as a junior.
Matthew Reed: A catcher from Woodgrove High School in Purcellville, VA, Reed plays for the Hurricanes Baseball Club.
Clate Schmidt: A righthanded pitcher/shortstop from Allatoona High in Acworth, GA, Schmidt posted a 1.09 ERA last season and led Cobb County in strikeouts with 97. He throws in the low-to-mid 90s.
Wales Toney: A 6-foot-3 righthanded pitcher from T.L. Hanna High in Anderson, SC, Toney is a teammate of Clemson freshman Garrett Boulware and incoming freshman Ben Boulware. He throws in the low-90s.
Kyle Whitman: A 6-foot-3, 210-pound infielder/pitcher from Nation’s Ford High in Fort Mill, SC, Whitman is a lefthanded batter and a teammate of Jackson Campana and Brody Koerner for the South Charlotte Panthers.