Rob Childress
Justin Seely
Texas A&M Baseball

Aggie baseball signing class breakdown

November 18, 2012

The Texas A&M baseball team officially inked nine players this week during the early-signing period. The Aggies added eight high school prospects and one junior college recruiting, and all of the nine players are from the State of Texas.

Here is the complete list of signees set to join the Aggies next fall:

* Ryne Birk (Katy Seven Lakes HS) - IF - 5’9 - 175
* Nick Banks (Tomball HS) - OF - 6’1 - 195
* Kaylor Chafin (Sweeny HS) - LHP - 5'10 - 175
* Mark Ecker (San Antonio O’Connor HS) - RHP - 6’1 - 185
* Ronnie Gideon (Hallsville HS) - 1B/3B - 6’3 - 225
* Kaleb Goodell (Navarro JC/Klein Oak HS) - OF - 5’11 - 175
* Ryan Hendrix (Cy Woods HS) - RHP - 6’3 - 175
* Casey Shane (Burleson Centennial HS) - RHP - 6’4 - 200
* Tyler Stubblefield (Lufkin HS) - LHP - 6’5 - 210

Head coach Rob Childress is excited about this group.

"We’re really excited about it," Childress said. "I feel like Justin Seely, our recruiting coordinator, did a phenomenal job. And Andy Sawyers, our associate head coach, those two guys spend a lot of time on the road and just put a wonderful class together with good balance. Very, very talented guys. Obviously, it looks good and great today, and hopefully we’ll get all of these guys to campus, but obviously we’ll have another hurdle, come June, with the MLB draft.

"Justin has done an amazing job with these nine guys, with the limitations that we have on us with a 35-man roster and 27 guys that we can put on scholarship," Childress added. "When we go out and offer a kid a scholarship, we're asking them to make an impact. We feel like all nine of these guys are going to be a big part of our success in the very near future."

This week felt like Christmas Day for assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Justin Seely, who has worked tirelessly for several years to bring this exciting and talented group together.

"I'm really proud of the class," Seely said. "It's not as big of a class as we've been signing and I wanted to make sure the quality matched the quantity and that we made them count. And we hit on all of that."

This was the first class that got to see a fully renovated Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park during their recruitment, and both coaches feel that the new-look ballpark played a critical role in the Aggies' ability to ink such a special signing class.

“It was huge to be able to walk these guys through a stadium that is second to none," Childress said. "For them to be able to see it and not look at plans or drawings was definitely an asset to us. From an academic standpoint, strength training and nutrition, we’ve [always] been able to offer the very best. And for these guys, now, to have a facility where they can do most of that here [in a one-stop shop] is very special."

"It was still a little bit of a vision when we recruited about half of this class, so we had to have some guys with faith in us," Seely added. "Once we got the facility built, it just cemented the guys that we already had recruited and it instantly blew away recruits that we brought on campus since [we opened the facility]."


Ryne Birk (Katy Seven Lakes HS) - IF - 5’9 - 175
* Chose A&M over Rice, Wichita State

- #172 Player in the Country by Perfect Game
- #2 Ranked SS in the State by Perfect Game
- Member of Texas Area Code Team
- 2nd Team All State
- All Greater Houston

Childress' Take:
“Ryne was one of the first commitments of this class and is kind of the heartbeat of the class, as a left-handed-hitting middle infielder and as a leader. He plays on one of the better teams in summer (The Banditos) and also at Seven Lakes. For us to have him committed so early brought a lot of stability to this class. Everybody knows who Ryne Birk is. He’s a dirtbag. He plays hard, he can run, he can hit and he’s going to be a fun one to get to campus. I wish he was here right now, but Ryan is going to make a major impact for us. Like I said, he’s going to be a good one for his three- or four-year career here at Texas A&M.”

Sealy's Scout:
"Ryno Birk is a stud left-handed hitter. The first time you get around him, you fall in love with the kid and then you watch him play and you go, 'This is too good to be true.' If you saw him on the street, you wouldn't think much of him. If you see him in a baseball uniform, he runs the whole field. He's the guy that everybody wants to play with and be on his team, because he's a winner and he can flat-out hit. It doesn't matter if you're throwing 96 or 76 … he lines it up. He's probably spearheaded this class and we plan on him being in the middle of the infield as long as professional baseball will allow him to be here."

Nick Banks (Tomball HS) - OF - 6’1 - 195
* Chose A&M over Texas, LSU

- #90 Player in the Country by Perfect Game
- #2 Outfielder in the State by Perfect Game
- Perfect Game All-American

Childress' Take:
“He’s one of the better players, not just in the Houston area, but in the state. He’s just very athletic and can hit and run, and he’s also going to pitch for Tomball High School. I don’t know if he’ll pitch for us, but he’s got a chance to hit in the middle of our order right away, and another guy that we hope to get to campus. There’s a lot of draft interest in him, but I feel like he’s committed to having a great collegiate career and starting a professional career [after that], but I feel like he’s got a chance to be a very, very special player.”

Sealy's Scout:
"You see this guy in a uniform and you think, 'This is what they look like.' He's 6-1, 195 pounds and he plays with a chip on his shoulder. Left-handed and ultra-athletic. He's a good athlete who was a Perfect Game All-American. He's going to have a decision to make when it comes to the MLB Draft, but he has full intentions on coming to school. He has a strong commitment, not just to us (coaches), but to his teammates in this class."

Kaylor Chafin (Sweeny HS) - LHP - 5'10 - 175
* Chose A&M over LSU

- 2nd Team All-Greater Houston
- 3A All-State by THSCA

Childress' Take:
“Kaylor is a guy that can flat-out pitch. He had a great year for Sweeny [last year]. I think he went 12-1 and we got a chance to see him in the summer and also at our camp. He can pitch right away for us. He’s going to come in and be a guy that we can count on because he can throw strikes and he can throw three different pitches for a strike. Our strength program with Coach McMillan is just going to help continue to develop him physically, but I expect him to have another great senior year for Sweeny High School and just a special career for us, and be a guy that makes an immediate impact.”

Sealy's Scout:
"Kaylor is not the biggest guy but he'll remind you of Estevan Uriegas. He's a mid-to-upper 80s left-hander with a great feel for pitching and a really good breaking ball. His role early on is to come get the lefties out of the pen, and hopefully he'll evolve in his role. He has more than enough ability to [be great]."

Mark Ecker (San Antonio O’Connor HS) - RHP - 6’1 - 185
* Chose A&M over Ole Miss

- #176 Player in the Country by Perfect Game
- #7 RHP in the State by Perfect Game
- Member of Washington Nationals Area Code Team
- San Antonio area Player of the Year

Childress' Take:
“Mark was a young man that showed up at our pitching camp and really stood out. We had the opportunity to see him pitch a couple of times in the summer. He was a guy that we targeted early, as we felt like he would be able to come in and make an impact right away. He went and had a great junior year and a great summer. He continues to grow and mature and develop. I know he’s going to have a great senior year for O’Connor High School in San Antonio and he’s going to have a great career here at Texas A&M right away.”

Sealy's Scout:
"Mark is a strick pumper with a good fastball. He'll get you to 92-93 miler per hour. He was the San Antonio area player of the year as a junior. He's a good player and has a good feel for baseball. He'll be fun and has a chance to pitch in the back of the rotation as early as his freshman year, depending on his secondary stuff. He's got a shot to make an impact for us right away and we expect that out of him."

Ronnie Gideon (Hallsville HS) - 1B/3B - 6’3 - 225
* Chose A&M over Texas, Arkansas, Florida

- #265 Player in the Country by Perfect Game
- #3 Ranked 3B in the State by Perfect Game
- 2nd Team All State
- 2011 East Texas Player of the Year

Childress' Take:
“Ronnie is a big, strong, physical guy that is going to make an impact in the middle of our lineup. He’s going to challenge the fences and be an RBI and run producer, and he can play a lot of different positions … third base, first base and he can catch a little bit and will for his high school just out of necessity. He’s a baseball player. He’s grown up around it his whole life with his dad, Ronnie Sr., being in the Colorado Rockies organization. His mom is a high school [volleyball] coach, so he comes from an athletic family. We’re just excited to get him. He plays for Coach Mitchell there at Hallsville … a great high school coach that turns out a lot of good players. We’re excited about Ronnie."

Sealy's Scout:
"Ronnie's mom is a volleyball coach and his dad works with the Colorado Rockies and was a really good player in his day. Ronnie is a chip off the old block. He's got right-handed power and he can drive in runs. If there is a runner on first base, he's got a good shot at driving him in. Power is not easy to get at a young age, but Ronnie already has that. He has the ability to hit and has control of a very large body. He has great feet and hands for a guy his size and he has a shot to play third base for us. We recruited Ronnie for quite some time and we were really fortunate to get him. He fell in love with this place, and the facility and the move to the SEC was big for him. He wanted to play in the SEC. The schools that we battled him for, with the exception of one (Texas), were all in the SEC. Power in general is hard to get and it's an element that we need to add to our team. He's going to bring that."

Kaleb Goodell (Navarro JC/Klein Oak HS) - OF - 5’11 - 175
* Chose A&M over Miami, West Virginia, Texas State

- 2nd Team All American NJCAA
- Region XIV Freshman of the Year

Childress' Take:
“Caleb went to Klein Oak High School and was a freshman when Scott Arthur was a senior, and was kind of in that same mold as a very good athlete who can run and do some things [on the bases]. He had a great freshman year for Navarro last year. He doesn’t strike out, he puts the ball in play, he gets on the basis and he’s going to create havoc. He’s a pure hitter and I feel like we needed a guy that could step in and have that maturity form a junior college standpoint and Caleb really stood out every time Justin went to watch Navarro. He was somebody that we had to have.”

Sealy's Scout:
"Caleb is a guy that I've seen play for three years, and everything I see him play, he gets hits. He led his junior college region in hitting and he walked about 40 times and struck out 20 times. He's a table-setter who is very patient at the plate. When he swings the bat, he makes contact. We may need him to be a table-setter for us. Over time and with strength [training], he's gotten to be a much better runner. He's a really good athlete with really good hand-eye coordination. Guys like that find a way to hit .350 in college, steal some bases, score a lot of runs and they end up being on championship teams."

Ryan Hendrix (Cy Woods HS) - RHP - 6’3 - 175
* Chose A&M over Texas Tech, Houston

- 2nd Team All State
- Under Armour top 60 Player

Childress' Take:
“He came to our camps and we’ve kind of seen him grow up a little bit. He transferred from Big Sandy to Cy Woods and he’s going to help bolster an already good team and help them on a run in another tough district and then in playoffs. Ryan is a big, strong, athletic kid. He’s 6’3, 175 pounds and has a very, very good arm. He’s just going to continue to get better and has a great frame to add weight. He’s got a loose arm and can really spin the ball, and he’s got a feel for pitching and is going to be a fun one to coach for three years.”

Sealy's Scout:
"Ryan is a very athletic kid with long arms and long legs. Once he feels out, the velocity is really going to come. He's 86-91 right now with a four-pitch mix. He's got imagination on the mound and can really pitch. He's got a feel for when the bat is moving and when it's not. Coach Childress will have a lot of fun calling pitching for him."

Casey Shane (Burleson Centennial HS) - RHP - 6’4 - 200
* Chose A&M over Texas, Texas Tech, TCU

- #17 Player in the Country by Perfect Game
- #2 Ranked RHP in the State by Perfect Game
- Perfect Game All-American

Childress' Take:
“He was a guy that didn’t get to play [much] varsity baseball last year. He had to play junior varsity because of transfer rules [from Burleson High School] but he’s a big strong physical guy with a powerful fastball and he's known nationally. He’s going to be a hard one to get to campus. There’s going to be a lot of interest in him coming June, as far as the draft goes, but if you don’t sign him, you’ve got a 100 percent chance of never getting him to campus. I know he has a strong interest in Texas A&M, obviously in signing with us. Should he choose to come to Texas A&M, he’s going to have an All-American type career, and no doubt, help himself in the draft. But [we also] understand that the draft could be a great opportunity for him in June and that’s a decision that he and his family will have to make next spring. Hopefully he’ll have a great year for his high school and we’ll get a chance to get him to campus.”

Sealy's Scout:
"Casey is the prototype. The guys that you see pitching on TV … he looks like them. He's a physical kid with a big fastball and a big breaking ball. We'll be incredibly fortunate to get Casey on campus, but the first thing on Casey's mind is college baseball and that's a big thing. He was on the JV as a junior because of a transfer rule but we saw him during the summer and fell in love with him, and he fell in love with us, too. It ended up being a great match and we're jacked about hopefully getting a chance to get him on campus."

Tyler Stubblefield (Lufkin HS) - LHP - 6’5 - 210
* Chose A&M over LSU, TCU

- #475 Player in the Country by Perfect Game
- #6 LHP in the State by Perfect Game

Childress' Take:
“He’s the second of three Stubblefield brothers and Tyler is also the starting quarterback for Lufkin High School. He’s a 6’5, 220-pound lefty. He’s got a big, strong frame and he’s got a great arm that is anywhere from 86-88 [miles per hour] right now, and sometimes a click or two better. I really feel like when he’s focused on baseball 12-months a year, he’s going to make his biggest jump. We love to sign two- and three-sport guys and Tyler is one of those. We feel like he’s got a chance, like all of these guys, to make an immediate impact. And he’s got a sense of comfort here because his brother (Gandy) is in our program. We’re excited to keep the Stubblefield Family coming back through Texas A&M baseball.”

Sealy's Scout:
"Tyler may be a click taller than Gandy and a little bit heavier at this point. He's having a really good year with Lufkin (football). He has proven to be a great quarterback so you know he's a good athlete and you know he's competitive. I had seen Tyler on multiple occasions because we recruited Gandy. And every time I saw him pitch, he kept getting better and better. He just pumps in strikes. We saw him one outing where he was throwing too many strikes, which is encouraging. We're really excited about Tyler."

While this signing class features just about everything that the Aggie coaches were looking for, the true potential impact of this class will not come close to being estimated until after the Major League Draft in early-June, and more importantly, the signing deadline in mid-July for drafted players. While many on this list have a chance to get selected high enough to give them a tough decision, the A&M staff is confident that the overwhelming majority in this class will choose to come to Texas A&M and help impact the Aggie squad in the SEC.

"We've really tried to identify guys that are not just really good players but guys that have intentions of coming to school," Seely said. "These guys all understand that there is a certain price to be paid to buy them out of the experience that they're going to have [at A&M]. All these guys are committed to [coming to school]. We have a good feel for what we think we're going to get. I think everyone of these guys has a chance to make it to school. Things [could] change, but I feel like our chances of getting these guys on campus are [really] good."

Childress' message to each of these signees is simple and direct.

“Coming in, we expect them to be ready to go, physically, mentally and emotionally. Once they step on campus, the fall start goes in a hurry and they need to be as ready as they can, but they understand that and that’s why they chose to come to Texas A&M and be in the SEC and compete against the best, week-in and week-out. We’re just excited about all nine of them and we look forward to getting them here.”

*Note: St. Pius X RHP Kohl Stewart is also signing with Texas A&M but his scholarship is through football and he'll official sign with the football team in February, 2013. At that time, the baseball coaches can talk about him publicly.
Discussion from...

Aggie baseball signing class breakdown

Gabe Bock
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Make sure to listen to Justin Seely's breakdown. The man is an old-school baseball guy and I love talking about the game with him!
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TexAgs is nofollow...and whomever hired you should really get a new cheap assed link builder...
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