Tim Esmay was an ASU baseball player before he was the school’s head coach. That helps with local recruiting.
But it’s winning that brings in the bigger fish in the deeper water.
And the fishing doesn’t get any easier than it is right now.
Since the Sun Devils got off to their record-setting start this season, going 23-0 to set a new school mark and earning the No. 1 ranking in the country, the number of new recruits seems to have risen exponentially. More wins, more catches to haul in the boat.
First, those in the shallow water:
The latest was a verbal commitment from Jake Peevyhouse, a prized catcher from Pinnacle HS in Phoenix, where he’s a junior. The left-handed outfielder is hitting .550 and was getting a look from a couple of other Pac-10 schools.
And the scuttlebutt now is that Nathaniel Causey, a 6’2″ catcher and left-handed hitter from Gilbert HS, is taking a closer look at ASU. The junior also is Gilbert’s starting quarterback on the football team, so Dennis Erickson may also benefit if he elects to play baseball for the Devils.
Casting a wider net:
About the same time that Peevyhouse was giving his verbal, Kramer Champlin signed on. Champlin is the No. 1 pitcher for Western Nevada College, a community college in Carson City that has a strong track record for sending players to the D-I ranks. He will be the 35th player from there to go D-I since 2005.
Champlin isn’t a fire-thrower, with a fastball that barely clocks 88 mph, but he has amazing accuracy. At the time of his signing, he was 6-1 with an ERA of 1.32, which was a major contribution to Western Nevada’s 22-9 season.
And there’s Tee McConnell, who is one of the most recent commitments. McConell is a junior at Poquoson High School in Virginia, where the infielder is hitting over .500. He’s in his third year as a starter for Poquoson and helped the school to the 2009 Group AA state title.
McConnell said he wants to be able to play in the College World Series before he finishes his college career, and he figures ASU will help him get there, since the Devils have been there three of the past six years. He just had to see that the first-year coach, Esmay, would likely continue that tradition. This year’s start apparently convinced him.
Esmay’s roots at Horizon HS in Phoenix and his time as an ASU player have helped with the local recruiting. The staff, which also includes former Sun Devil stand-out, Mike Benjamin, is always a consideration to a potential recruit.
But it’s success that brings in the top recruits from outside the area.
And there’s plenty of that so far this year.
(Photo credit: ASU Athletics)