Florida Gators checked in at No. 2 in the nation in Baseball America’s2017 recruiting rankings Tuesday.
For the fifth year in a row, the Gators brought in at least five players from the Baseball America 500. Coach Kevin O’Sullivan has had a top-five recruiting class five years in a row and seven times in nine years.
UF’s class ranked second in the Southeastern Conference, behind Vanderbilt, and first among in-state programs.
Of the 17 newcomers, five players were selected in the 2017 MLB Draft. The groups includes 13 freshman and four junior college transfers.
“While Vanderbilt’s haul was unprecedented, Florida pushed it for the No. 1 ranking,” Baseball America’s Teddy Cahill said. “The defending national champion Gators brought in six players ranked on the BA 500, led by shortstop Brady McConnell (No. 39), the second-highest ranked player not to sign. The Gators finished ranked No. 2, their fifth straight top-five class.
Coach Kevin O’Sullivan said he likes the number of up-the-middle players and the balance of hitters and pitchers in this year’s class. That was a point of emphasis for him and recruiting coordinator Craig Bell in the 2017 and ’18 classes because they expected heavy losses in the draft those years. After losing Alex Faedo, Dalton Guthrie and Mike Rivera to the draft this year, Jonathan India, Jackson Kowar and Brady Singer, among others, are expected to follow next June.
Baseball America’s recruiting rankings are based on players who enroll at school each fall. 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.
Florida went 52-19 last season and won the program’s first-ever College World Series championship. The Gators earned a top-eight national seed for NCAA play for the eighth time in nine years, the best mark of any school in the country.
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Baseball America 2017 Recruiting Rankings
4 Arizona State
5 South Carolina
7 Florida State
17 Southern California
18 Texas A&M
19 East Carolina
21 Florida International
22 UC Santa Barbara
24 Mississippi State
25 Texas Tech