Tech Baseball Signs 10 Standouts for 2012 Season

Nov. 12, 2010

ATLANTA – Georgia Tech baseball head coach Danny Hall announced Friday the signing of 10 high school standouts, including nine from the state of Georgia, to national letters of intent.

“We’re very excited about our 2011 recruiting class,” Danny Hall said. “I feel like it’s a very good class with some balance of different positions. I can’t thank Coach [Tom] Kinkelaar and Coach [Bryan] Prince enough for their hard work of recruiting these guys and spending a lot of hours to get us another great class.”

Eight of the 10 student-athletes that inked with the Yellow Jackets during the early signing period, which began Wednesday and continues until Nov. 17, are ranked as top-30 prospects in Georgia by Perfect Game Crosschecker. Leading the way is 2010 Under Armour All-American Dwight Smith (Peachtree City, Ga.), ranked No. 2 in Georgia and No. 22 overall in the 2011 class. Smith is the son of former Atlanta Braves outfielder Dwight Smith, Sr.

“We’ve said it for many years that if we can get all of our players from Georgia then we’d like to do it, but that’s impossible,” Hall added. “It’s always been a great recruiting base for us. The high school baseball and summer baseball in Georgia just continues to get better and better, and right now it is at an all-time high.”

The Jackets also signed three highly-touted pitchers from the Peach State in Josh Heddinger (Suwanee, Ga.), Cole Pitts (Moultrie, Ga.) and Jake Burnette (Buford, Ga.). All three hurlers stand above 6 feet, 4 inches in height, and were named Rawlings Underclass All-Americans in 2010. Burnette is the brother of former Tech outfielder Chase Burnette (2008-2010), who currently plays in the Cleveland Indians organization.

“One of the things that you’re always looking for is pitching, and I feel like we’ve got some guys who are very good right now and are going to do nothing but get better,” Hall said. “All of our pitchers have great size and a lot of projection.”

With lack of depth behind the plate for the 2010 and upcoming 2011 season, Georgia Tech fulfilled its needs by signing two of the top catchers in the nation in Andrew Murray (Westfield, N.J.) and Connor Lynch (Marietta, Ga.). The lone signee from out of the state, Murray is ranked No. 79 in the nation and No. 3 in New Jersey. He cast his lot with Tech after a junior season in which he was named to the Star-Ledger All-State and All-Union County first teams. A prep star at Pope High School, Lynch is rated as the top catcher in Georgia and earned All-Cobb County honors the past two seasons.

Infielders Tyler Gibson (Macon, Ga.) and Charles Sheffield (Columbus, Ga.) also signed with the Jackets. Gibson, the son of Mercer baseball head coach Craig Gibson, earned All-Middle Georgia GISA honors after batting .456 with eight home runs and 22 RBI last season for Stratford Academy.

Sheffield, a 2010 Rawlings Underclassmen All-American, led Columbus High School to the AAA state championship as a junior and is currently enrolled at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

Outfielders Michael Hodorowski (Acworth, Ga.) and Cameron Gibson (Conyers, Ga.) also signed NLI’s with the Yellow Jackets. Hodorowski led Harrison Academy to the class AAAAA state title in 2010. Gibson, who is also a right-handed pitcher, set Salem High School records in 2010 with a .459 batting average while recording 10 saves on the mound.

Dwight Smith
OF | L/R | 5-11 | 185 | Peachtree City, Ga. (McIntosh)

Coach Hall on Smith:
“He is one of the best hitters in the country and is a great outfielder. He has great blood-lines with his father having played in the big leagues.”

• 2010 Under Armour All-American
• Played in the 2010 Aflac All-Star game
• Coached by Brad Campbell at McIntosh High School
• Ranked No. 22 by Perfect Game Crosschecker for the 2011 class
• Ranked the No. 2 prospect in Georgia by PG
• Played last summer for the East Cobb Braves organization
• Father, Dwight Smith, Sr., played for the Atlanta Braves 1995 World Series team

Andrew Murray
C/OF | R/R | 6-2 | 215 | Westfield, N.J. (Westfield)

Coach Hall on Murray:
“AJ is a great athlete and is very competitive. He also plays football which is a plus for me. He can catch, as well as play in the outfield, so we are really excited to have him.”

• 2010 Star-Ledger First Team All-State
• 2010 All-Union County First Team
• Coached by Robert Brewster at Westfield High School
• Ranked No. 79 by Perfect Game for the 2011 class
• Ranked the No. 3 prospect in New Jersey by PG
• Batted .482 with 33 runs, 12 doubles and 26 RBI as a junior
• Played last summer for the Cust Diamond Jacks
• Brother, Michael, played at Wake Forest and is currently with the San Francisco Giants organization

Connor Lynch
C | R/R | 6-0 | 185 | Marietta, Ga. (Pope)

Coach Hall on Lynch:
“Connor is the best catcher in the state, if not in the entire coun try. He is an excellent defensive catcher and we are excited to have him. He played for team Georgia over the summer, which is a very good program.”

• Ranked No. 131 by Perfect Game Crosschecker for the 2011 class
• Ranked the No. 7 prospect in Georgia by PG
• Coached by Jeff Rowland at Pope High School
• Named All-Cobb County in 2009
• Played last summer for team Georgia

Josh Heddinger
RHP | R/R | 6-5 | 220 | Suwanee, Ga. (Buford)

Coach Hall on Heddinger:
“A power pitcher that is good and will get even better. He plays for team Elite and at Buford with fellow signee Jake Buford.”

• Ranked No. 193 by Perfect Game Crosschecker for the 2011 class
• Ranked the No. 11 prospect in Georgia by PG
• Coached by Tony Wolfe at Buford High School
• Helped lead Wolves back to the playoffs in 2010 for the first time in three seasons
• Teammate of other Tech Commitment Jake Burnette
• Had a 3-1 record, 3.36 ERA and recorded 66 strikeouts in 41.2 innings his junior season.
• Held opponents to a .242 batting average
• Batted .333 with 3 HR and 20 RBI
• Also had a .465 on-base percentage and a .551 slugging percentage

Cole Pitts
RHP | R/R | 6-6 | 192 | Moultrie, Ga. (Colquitt County)

Coach Hall on Pitts:
“A righty that is really good but has tremendous upside. One of three pitchers we signed that have great size and good projection.”

• Ranked the No. 14 prospect in Georgia by Perfect Game Cross Checker
• Coached by Tony Kirkland at Colquitt County High School
• Named to the 1 AAAAA all-region team in 2010
• Played for Team Georgia over the Summer
• 2010 Rawlings Underclass All-America Honorable Mention

Michael Hodorowski
OF | R/R | 5-11 | 165 | Acworth, Ga. (Harrison)

Coach Hall on Hodorowski:
“A very good outfielder and hitter, and a really good competitor. He helped lead Harrison to the state title last year, and plays summer ball with the East Cobb program.”

• Ranked the No. 19 prospect in Georgia by Perfect Game Crosschecker
• Coached by Mark Elkins at Harrison High School
• Helped lead the Hoyas to the 2010 class AAAAA State Title
• 2009 Rawlings Underclass All-American
• All-Cobb County First Team honors in 2009 and 2010

Tyler Gibson
INF/OF | L/R | 6-2 | 175 | Macon, Ga. (Stratford)

Coach Hall on Tyler Gibson:
“A really good offensive infielder and he can play any infield position. He is a great hitter with a lot of power, and he has tremendous upside. He has a great wealth of baseball knowledge as his father is the head coach at Mercer.”

• Ranked the No. 24 prospect in Georgia by Perfect Game Cross Checker
• Coach by Jeff Treadway at Stratford Academy in Macon, Ga.
• 2010 All-Middle Georgia GISA First Team
• Batted .456 with 8 HR and 22 RBI his junior season
• Son of Mercer baseball head coach Craig Gibson
• Also offered by LSU among others

Jake Burnette
RHP | R/R | 6-4 | 175 | Buford, Ga. (Buford)

Coach Hall on Burnette:
“Jake is a tall, lanky right-hander that is really good but will get even better. He also brings good blood-lines, being the brother of former Tech outfielder Chase Burnette.”

• Ranked the No. 27 prospect in Georgia by Perfect Game Crosschecker
• Coached by Tony Wolfe at Buford High School
• Gainesville Times All-Area in 2010
• Had a 3-1 record, a 3.16 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 25.0 IP as a junior in 2010
• Also was a three-year letterwinner in basketball, leading the team in 3-point field goals during the 2009-2010 season.
• A 2010 Rawlings Underclass All-American Honorable Mention
• Brother of former Georgia Tech outfielder Chase Burnette, now in the Cleveland Indians organization
• High School Teammate of Tech Commitment Josh Heddinger

Charles Sheffield
INF/OF | R/R | 6-3 | 190 | Columbus, Ga. (Columbus)

Coach Hall on Sheffield:
“A strong right-handed hitter that can play a lot of positions. He can play corner infield and on the corner in the outfield. Charles played for one of the best high school programs in the country at Columbus, and is currently enrolled at IMG Baseball Academy in Florida.”

• Coached by Bobby Howard at Columbus High School (2008-10)
• Helped lead the Blue Devils to the 2010 class AAA State Title
• Currently enrolled at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
• 2010 Rawlings Underclass All-America Honorable Mention
• Uncle, Chan Reeves, played Golf at Georgia Tech.

Cameron Gibson
OF | R/R | 6-1 | 175 | Conyers, Ga. (Salem)

Coach Hall on Cameron Gibson:
“Cameron is a good outfielder that can play any of the three positions. He has a lot of upside as an outfielder and a hitter.”

• Ranked the No. 29 prospect in Georgia by Perfect Game Cross Checker
• Coached by Chad Kitchens at Salem High School in Conyers, Ga.
• Broke the school single-season record in batting average (.469) and saves (10) in 2010.
• Also had had 38 RBI his junior season.
• Holds career records at Salem H.S. for hits, home runs, and saves.
• Named First-Team All-Area as a sophomore after hitting .410 with two home runs in 2009.
• 2010 Rawlings Underclass All-America Honorable Mention
• Played over the summer for the Conyers Post 77 American Legion team

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