BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU is No. 1 in the 2022 Collegiate Baseball magazine recruiting ranking released Friday, as the Tigers have a star-studded class that features 21 newcomers who have joined the program this fall.
The top ranking is the second this month for the 2022 class, which was also rated No. 1 by Baseball America magazine on September 19.
The class includes 14 freshmen, five high-profile NCAA Division I transfers and two junior college transfers. The members of LSU’s top-ranked class are now engaged in conditioning drills and individual workouts with the Tigers’ returning veterans, and the first full-squad fall practice session will take place on Thursday, October 6.
LSU has finished No. 1 in the Collegiate Baseball recruiting ranking six times – 2004, 2007, 2010, 2014, 2018 and 2022. The Tigers are also in the Top 10 of a recruiting ranking for the 15th time in the past 16 years.
Friday’s ranking marks the first Collegiate Baseball recruiting title for LSU coach Jay Johnson. He previously helped land the second-best recruiting class in the nation in 2010 when he was the associate head coach at the University of San Diego and the third-best class as the head coach at Arizona in 2018.
“I am really excited about this class,” Johnson said. “This is the best recruiting class I have been a part of in my coaching career. Our coaching staff did a great job as we went after high school players who would be foundational pieces of our team for the future.
“We also went after players who were available in the transfer portal that would make an immediate impact. We had great success there as well. We have a nice blend of position players and pitchers. We also were looking for players with great character, which will help build team chemistry and allow us to compete for a national title. We got that with the players we brought in.”
This is the 40th consecutive year Collegiate Baseball has evaluated NCAA Division I recruiting classes. Athletes who initially signed letters of intent with a school but then signed a pro contract after being drafted do not count in the overall evaluation; only athletes who came to school this fall are factored in.
LSU’s five NCAA Division I transfers include:
- 3B Tommy White (transfer from North Carolina State) – He was named Collegiate Baseball’s Freshman National Player of The Year in 2022 after hitting .362 with 27 homers, 12 doubles and 74 RBI. He set an NCAA freshman record for homers in a season and had 26 multi-hit games and 19 multi-RBI outings as he finished the season on a 26-game reached base streak. He also was a member of Collegiate Baseball’s main All-American team.
- RHP/C/DH Paul Skenes (transfer from Air Force) – Skenes was Collegiate Baseball’s Co-Freshman Player of The Year in 2021 after hitting .410 with 11 homers, 21 doubles and 43 RBI. As a pitcher, the 6-foot-6, 235-pound righthander posted 11 saves and a 2.70 ERA. Last season, he hit .314 with 13 homers, 10 doubles and 38 RBI. On the mound as a starter, he was 10-3 with a 2.73 ERA and struck out 96 batters with 30 walks. Skenes was a first-team Collegiate Baseball All-American in 2021 and 2022. His fastball has topped out at 100 mph. He also is a skilled catcher.
- RHP Thatcher Hurd (transfer from UCLA) – He made nine appearances as a freshman at UCLA last season and posted a 2-0 record and 1.06 ERA with 48 strikeouts in 34 innings. He limited opponents to a .138 batting average. His fastball touches 96 mph.
- RHP Christian Little (transfer from Vanderbilt) – Little has pitched the past two seasons at Vanderbilt. He made 32 appearances (14 starts) and posted a 4.65 ERA with 95 strikeouts in 81 1/3 innings. His fastball touched 98 mph last season.
- INF Ben Nippolt (transfer from Virginia Commonwealth) – He was a first-team Atlantic 10 Conference pick last season at second base as he hit .308 with 9 doubles and 31 RBI. He had an on-base percentage of .430 with 31 walks and 8 hit by pitches.
LSU’s skilled group of freshmen and JUCO transfers includes:
- C Brady Neal (IMG Academy, Fla.), a 17th round pick by the Milwaukee Brewers
- RHP Jaden Noot (Sierra Canyon HS, Calif.), 19th round pick by the Milwaukee Brewers
- RHP Micah Bucknam (Mennonite Ed. Institute, Canada), 16th round pick by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2021
- SS Gavin Guidry (Barbe HS, La.), member 2021 18U Team USA national squad
- RHP Chase Shores (Lee HS, Texas), No. 1 RHP in Texas
- OF Paxton Kling (Central HS, Pa.), member of 2021 18U USA national team
- LHP Nic Bronzini (California HS, Calif.), All-State
- LHP Griffin Herring (Southlake Carroll HS, Texas), All-State
- LHP Nate Ackenhausen (Eastern Oklahoma JC), 8-1, 89 strikeouts, 14 BB
- C Jared Jones (Walton HS, Ga.), All-American, No. 1 ranked catcher in Georgia
- RHP Aiden Moffett (Taylorsville HS, Miss.), No. 1 ranked RHP in Mississippi
- C/1B Ethan Frey (Rosepine HS, La.)
- RHP Kaleb Applebey (Wabash Valley CC, Ill.)
- OF Zeb Ruddell (Neville HS, La.), No. 1 outfielder in Louisiana
- OF Mic Paul (Olympus HS, Utah), No. 1 ranked outfielder in Utah
- LHP DJ Primeaux (Central HS, La), No. 1 LHP in Louisiana
The entire Top 50 Collegiate Baseball recruiting ranking may be found at www.baseballnews.com.