Tony Vitello’s Tennessee baseball program is red-hot after winning the SEC East and making it to the College World Series last season. That momentum has carried onto the recruiting trail where the Vols signed the nation’s fifth best recruiting class according to Baseball America.
Tennessee’s 2020 signing class was the highest rated class of the Vitello era at that time— landing in the nation’s top 20. Vitello and recruiting coordinator Josh Elander took it to another level this year, landing the Vols’ first top 10 class since 2005.
Baseball America calculates their signing class based on the players who will arrive on campus, not just the players who sign with a school. For instance, Brady House— the nation’s top prospect— and Ryan Spikes, who both signed with Tennessee out of high school, don’t count towards the Vols’ signing class since they signed with professional baseball teams this summer.
Tennessee’s highest rated prospect is instate pitcher Chase Burns. The former Beech High School standout is a top 50 recruit nationally and will make an instant impact in Knoxville. After no MLB teams selected Burns in the first two rounds of this July’s draft, the hard throwing right hander announced he would play collegiate baseball.
Infielders Seth Stephenson and Christian Moore will have a chance to immediately make an impact after Tennessee lost three of its starting infielders to the MLB Draft.
Stephenson is a junior college transfer who shined at Temple College in Texas. The versatile infielder hit .383 with nine home runs, 30 extra base-hits, 47 RBIs and 31 stolen bases a season ago. Stephenson will be one of the best base stealers in the SEC next season.
Moore is a prep shortstop from New York who fell in the MLB Draft and decided to play college baseball at Tennessee instead.
Prep first baseman Blake Burke has a powerful left handed swing and ranks as a top 300 prospect. Burke will have a hard time finding immediate splaying time behind Luc Lipcius, but when Lipcius runs out of eligibility, Burke will have a chance to replace him at first base.
SEC baseball dominates the recruiting world with 10 schools landing in the top 25 of Baseball America’s rankings.
While Tennessee ranks fifth nationally, they rank fourth in the SEC behind Florida, Vanderbilt and Arkansas. West coast power UCLA landed the No. 1 signing class in the 2021 cycle.