LSU is No. 7 in the 2015 Collegiate Baseball recruiting rankings released Tuesday, marking the eighth time in nine years the Tigers are in the magazine’s Top 10.
LSU was No. 1 in the recruiting rankings in 2007, 2010 and 2014, No. 3 in 2009 and No. 4 in 2012.
The 16-man recruiting class includes 10 position players, five pitchers and one two-way player. Among the headliners are infielder Tre Dawson and right-handed pitchers Cole McKay and junior college transfer Riley Smith.
The 6-foot-5 McKay regularly throws in the low to mid 90s, while Smith isn’t a soft thrower, sitting comfortably in the low 90s.
Dawson, a slick-fielding infielder, could fill the shortstop spot vacated by Alex Bregman, the No. 2 pick in this year’s Major League Baseball draft. He’s one of several position players who could have a shot to contribute early, as Jake Fraley is the only regular returning from last season’s College World Series team.
“This was an extremely important recruiting class for us, since we lost eight of our nine everyday starters from last year’s team,” coach Paul Mainieri said. “We needed to bring in a group of guys who could compete for everyday positions, as well as guys who could add depth to our pitching staff. I think we may have some difference-makers in the players that have joined our team.”
The newcomers and returning Tigers begin their six-week fall practice period at 1 p.m. Sunday in Alex Box Stadium, and full-squad workouts extend through Nov. 9.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited over a fall practice,” said Mainieri, entering his 34th season as a collegiate head coach. “There are so many questions marks and so much teaching because of the new players. To see them compete against each other and see how the pieces fit together will be a lot of fun.”
Florida is No. 1 in the Collegiate Baseball ratings followed by South Carolina, Mississippi State, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, UCLA, LSU, Oregon, South Florida and Auburn.