USC Baseball Announces 17th-Ranked Recruiting Class
LOS ANGELES – USC Baseball Head Coach Jason Gill announced the Trojans' 2021 recruiting class this week, with a group of 13 players joining the fold. The class was ranked No. 17 in the nation by Baseball America.
The class includes four transfers and nine incoming freshmen, and features the top pitcher in the state of Texas as well as Top 10 players at their position in California, New York, Florida, Connecticut and Illinois.
"I feel like with this class we've brought in a Top 25 level of talent," said Head Coach Jason Gill, who enters his third season at the helm for USC. "We got a number of guys who turned down Major League Baseball, including some who had a chance to be fairly high draft picks, because they wanted to come to USC, get their education, and compete in the Pac-12. We were in the need of pitching, so it's a little pitching heavy, but I still think overall it's a balanced class. In addition to the arms, we have some left and right-handed bats and some junior college players who we feel will have an immediate impact on our club. I really think we addressed some of our needs with this group and are bringing in some excellent young men."
Here's a look at the 2021 class…
6-3 | 200 | RHP | R-R | Brooklyn, N.Y. | Poly Prep | Virginia
- Made two appearances on the mound in his lone season at Virginia
- Top-ranked third baseman and No. 5 overall player in the state of New York coming out of high school according to Perfect Game
- Named to Senior First Team All-Northeast Region and a High Honorable Mention All-American by Perfect Game
- Played four varsity seasons and was a team captain his last two prep years, earning All-League honors as a junior
- Helped Poly Prep to a pair of NYSAIS Championships and was named to the program's All-Decade Team
Head Coach Gill on Austin: "Channing is a transfer who we're really excited about. He has an electric arm and has a chance to help us right away. I think if we can get his command under control, he has a chance to be a special college pitcher."
Austin on why he chose USC: "USC provides me an opportunity to pursue all of my dreams in a beautiful city. The athletics program and coaches are second to none in how committed they are to the program and our development as athletes. I also found an academic environment where I can follow all of my creative interests. Lastly, growing up in NYC I've grown to value the diversity of people and experiences in special places like LA and New York."
6-0 | 185 | OF | R-R | Portola Valley, Calif. | Woodside HS | College of San Mateo
- Spent two seasons at College of San Mateo before transferring to USC
- Earned All-Conference first team in his lone full season in 2019 (2020 season was cut short due to pandemic)
- Batted .330 in 2019 and was batting .352 before the 2020 season was halted
- Posted 9 homers, 48 RBI, 44 runs and 14 stolen bases at San Mateo
- Played two varsity seasons at Woodside HS, earning All-League honors both years
Head Coach Gill on Gabrielson: "Cole is a junior college transfer who can play all three positions in the outfield. He's physical and can hit, and we look for him to come in and compete for a starting position in the outfield right away."
Gabrielson on why he chose USC: "I chose USC to be a part of a winning tradition and to be surrounded by people who all have a common goal, winning a National Championship."
6-1 | 215 | INF/RHP | R-R | Omaha, Neb. | Creighton Prep | Southeast CC
- Spent one season at Southeast CC in Lincoln, Neb. before transferring to USC
- Named an NJCAA Division I All-American and to the All-Region IX first team
- Also named NJCAA Division I Region IX Player of the Year
- Hit a school record 19 home runs to go along with a .404 batting average, .534 on-base percentage, .949 slugging percentage, 62 RBI, 50 runs scored and 27 stolen bases in his lone juco season
- Tossed 16 innings on the mound, recording 33 strikeouts and a 0.56 ERA
- Played two varsity seasons at Creighton Prep, while also competing in football and powerlifting
Head Coach Gill on Keating: "Matt is a two-way player out of Omaha. He's a back-end of the bullpen type pitcher and we're looking for him to compete for that eighth or ninth-inning job right away. Matt is a very physical corner infielder who can really hit as well."
Keating on why he chose USC: "I choose USC for the outstanding academics and for a chance to win the school another College World Series championship."
6-1 | 205 | INF | S-R | Santa Ana, Calif. | Jserra Catholic | Illinois-Chicago | Santa Ana CC
- Played one season at the University of Illinois-Chicago (2020) and one season at Santa Ana CC (2021) before transferring to USC
- Last season at Santa Ana, batted.380 and slugged .750 while finishing tied for the conference lead in homers (8), doubles (8), hits (35) and RBI (31)
- Struck out just twice in 25 games while finishing second in MVP voting in the Orange Empire Conference
- Played four varsity prep seasons, earning All-Conference honors and winning a league championship
Head Coach Gill on Lopez: "Nick's a switch-hitting infielder from Santa Ana College who we look to fill one of the corner spots on the infield or possibly be a really physical second baseman. With the versatility of being a switch hitter, his bat will see some time in the middle of the order."
Lopez on why he chose USC: "USC gave me the opportunity to compete in one of the best conferences in the country and the opportunity to attend one of the best university's in the country."
6-1 | 195 | RHP | R-R | Bellaire, Texas | Emery Weiner School
- Played four varsity seasons at Emery Weiner School
- For his prep career, tossed 92 innings, posting 166 Strikeouts and a 0.75 ERA
- Was named team MVP as a sophomore and junior, earning All-District honors all 4 years
- Also named a Preseason All-American in 2021 and a Preseason Underclass All-American in 2020
- Helped the Jaguars to a 5A Area Championship in 2021
- Also played football for four years, earning All-District recognition each season
Head Coach Gill on Blum: "Josh is a right-hander who we're hoping to develop. He has a three-pitch mix and we really think that as he adjusts to the college game, he has a chance at a bright future. We expect him to come out of the pen in his early years."
Blum on why he chose USC: "I chose USC because of its historic baseball team, challenging academic programs and the spirit of the school."
6-0 | 180 | LHP | L-L | Western Springs, Ill. | IMG Academy
- Played three prep seasons at Fenwick HS in Illinois before playing his final season at IMG Academy in Florida
- As a prep senior, tossed 23 innings, giving up 8 hits and 6 runs while striking out 44 batters
- Was the 8th-ranked pitcher in the state of Illinois according to Perfect Game and the 5th-ranked LHP in Florida according to Prep Baseball Report
- Played travel ball with Chicago White Sox Elite
Head Coach Gill on Clark: "Evan is a lefty out of the Midwest who we expect to come out of the pen early and contribute right away. His presence in the class is really important as he'll be one of three left-handers on our roster."
Clark on why he chose USC: "I chose USC because it is the perfect balance of a top tier baseball program and world class academics. I'm excited to contribute to USC's winning tradition."
6-2 | 225 | RHP | R-R | Mill Valley, Calif. | Tamalpais HS
- Played three varsity seasons at Tamalpais HS
- Named the North Bay Co-Player of the Year and the Tamalpais Varsity Pitcher of the Year as a senior
- Also named to the All-League first team and helped team to an MCAL title and No. 6 ranking in California
- As a senior, went 7-0 with a 1.86 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 55 strikeouts in 41.3 innings pitched
- Also started at third-base, posting a .288 batting average as a senior and played catcher during his career
- Ranked 26th among right-handed pitchers in California according to Perfect Game
Head Coach Gill on Dargan: "Alex is another freshman who we're looking to develop. He's a strike thrower with a three-pitch mix, and we look for him to come out of the bullpen as a freshman for us."
Dargan on why he chose USC: "I chose USC because it combines high academic and athletic standards, with a strong sense of community, tradition and school pride. I am excited to contribute to the historic Trojan baseball program and its commitment to excellence."
6-1 | 205 | OF | R-R | Greenwich, Conn. | King School
- Played three varsity seasons at King School in Stamford, Conn. (junior year cancelled due to pandemic)
- Earned All-League recognition as a sophomore and senior, and was a 2020 Preseason All-American
- In 15 games as a senior, had a .525 batting average, .672 OBP, and 1.822 OPS, with 6 HR, 16 RBI and 20 runs scored
- In 21 games as a sophomore, had a .338 batting average, .494 OBP, and 1.017 OPS with 2 HR and 28 runs scored, while also batting .400 with 2 homers as a freshman
- According to Perfect Game, was the No. 6 player overall in Connecticut and the No. 2 outfielder
Head Coach Gill on Feinberg: "Harrison's a good athlete. He's a physical kid from the East Coast who has a chance to be a future centerfielder in our program. We think he has the tools to be an everyday player in the Pac-12."
Feinberg on why he chose USC: "I chose USC because it has a great history of both academic and athletic excellence, which I feel are both the perfect fit for me."
6-4 | 185 | RHP | R-R | Keller, Texas | Keller HS
- Comes to USC after three varsity seasons at Keller HS
- As a senior in 2021, went 12-2 in 72.2 innings pitched, posting a 1.06 ERA and 102 strikeouts
- For his career, recorded 160 strikeouts in 109.2 innings
- Named the 2021 Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star Telegram Pitcher of the Year
- Also named to the 6A All-District first team and 2021 State Championship All-Tournament Team
- Ranked the No. 1 RHP and No. 3 player overall in the state of Texas by Perfect Game, and the No. 14 RHP overall in the nation
- Drafted in the 19th round of the 2021 MLB Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks
Head Coach Gill on Hammond: "Eric is a frontline, weekend starter type of arm who turned down some opportunities to go play professional baseball so he could come to USC. He has an electric arm, with four pitches he can throw for strikes, so we expect as soon as he's ready that he'll compete for a weekend job. I believe he has Pac-12 Friday night type of ability."
Hammond on why he chose USC: "I chose USC because of the incredible athletics and academics, and I want to help bring back the USC baseball winning tradition."
6-3 | 195 | INF | L-R | Yucaipa, Calif. | Yucaipa HS
- Played four varsity seasons at Yucaipa HS prior to coming to USC
- In his final prep season in 2021, batted .330 with a .500 OBP and .549 slugging percentage, while posting 31 RBI, 34 runs, 31 walks, 11 doubles and 3 HR
- Earned All-American and All-Region first team honors twice during his prep career
- Joins the Trojans as the No. 9 shortstop and the No. 27 player overall in the state of California according to Perfect Game, as well as the No. 51 shortstop in the nation
Head Coach Gill on Huber: "Caiden is a strong, left-handed hitting infielder, who was a shortstop in high school. We feel he can play all the infield spots at the college level, but we're looking for him to eventually settle in on the left side and be a middle of the order bat during his career."
Huber on why he chose USC: "I chose USC because it's a great school, with a great environment and is a great place to call home."
6-2 | 190 | RHP | L-R | Aptos, Calif. | Aptos HS
- Played his prep baseball at Aptos HS, but lost the last two seasons to the Covid-19 pandemic and injury
- Helped team to the CCS D3 championship game in 2019
- Also played football and was a two-time All-League wide receiver
- Helped Aptos to a league title in basketball as well
Head Coach Gill on Johnson: "Fisher is a right-handed pitcher with a lot of upside. We feel that he has a chance to help us out of the bullpen right away as a freshman, and then develop into a starter down the road."
Johnson on why he chose USC: "I chose USC because the school checked every box for me. The academic and athletic excellence at USC runs parallel to the legacy I want to have. Combine that with the Trojan tradition and family, there's no other place I'd want to be."
6-1 | 195 | L-L | LHP | Newport Beach, Calif. | Newport Harbor HS
- Played three varsity seasons at Newport Harbor HS
- As a senior, pitched 30 innings and had a 3.00 ERA
- Named to the All-Tournament team at the PG World Series and was a Preseason Under Armour All-American
- Earned All-Academic Sunset League recognition as a sophomore
- Played travel ball for the Saddleback Cowboys
Head Coach Gill on O'Neill: "Will's a left-handed pitcher who helps bolster our ranks from that side of the mound. We feel like he can help us out of the bullpen as a freshman and then we can nurture him along to hopefully one day be a starter down the road."
O'Neill on why he chose USC: "I chose USC because of the great location, the academic excellence, the great coaches and the great traditions."
6-3 | 190 | RHP | R-R | Hudson, N.Y. | Millbrook School
- Played four varsity seasons at Millbrook School before coming to USC
- Earned All-Star recognition as a sophomore in 2019
- Garnered All-League recognition as a varsity basketball player and competed in cross country early in his prep career
- Joins the Trojans as the No. 10-ranked RHP in New York and the No. 20 player overall in the state according to Perfect Game
Head Coach Gill on Wendell-Braly: "Owen has a big upside and a bright future as a Trojan. He throws three pitches for strikes, and we feel that his velocity is going to increase here in the early stages of his collegiate career."
Wendell-Braly on why he chose USC: "I chose USC because it had the best combination of a top level baseball program and great academics as well."