HERMITAGE, Tenn. (BVM) — A year ago, Chase Burns was the consensus top high school senior in Tennessee. Now he is the Friday night starter for one of the top pitching staffs in the country at the University of Tennessee.
The 2022 class is nearly as talented, littered with Division I talent. These are the top names to look out for this spring.
1. Grayson Saunier, RHP, Collierville
Saunier burst onto the scene in his junior campaign for Collierville high school posting a 2.18 ERA along with 63 punchouts in 48 innings. The 6-foot-4 righty possesses a four-pitch mix highlighted by a 90 mph fastball and a sweeping slider which he can locate on either side of the plate. Saunier committed to Ole Miss in the fall, but he could have a decision to make if he is selected within the first few rounds in this summer’s MLB Draft.
— Grayson Saunier (@GraysonSaunier) November 10, 2021
2. Jayden Davis, SS/RHP, Cookeville
Jayden Davis fits the description of a five-tool player. Davis finished 2021 hitting .625 with 10 home runs and 44 RBIs. The high school shortstop also got the most out of his speed, swiping 17 bags. The 5-foot-10 infielder can touch the low-90s when he is on the mound. Davis committed to Samford last July, where he could get the chance to continue being a two-way player.
First off, thank you God for blessing me with the ability to play baseball. Thank you to my family and all the coaches that have helped me throughout this process. I am proud to say I have committed to further my education and baseball career at Samford University. #AllForSAMford pic.twitter.com/OhkOx2qcWH
— Jayden Davis (@JaydenDavis191) July 29, 2021
3. James Smith, SS/OF/RHP, Northpoint
It is hard to match the numbers that James Smith put up in his junior season, whether on the mound or in the batter’s box. On the bump, Smith put up 103 strikeouts in only 54.2 innings, while also accumulating an ERA of 1.67. He was arguably just as good at the plate, hitting .434 with eight home runs and 55 RBIs. Smith is also committed to the University of Mississippi and will be joining Saunier in Oxford.
4. Henry Godbout, SS/3B/RHP, Baylor
A Brooklyn, New York, native, Godbout has made quite the impression in the Chattanooga area. The middle infielder was a force in the Red Raider lineup hitting .366 in 2021. Godbout also brings a nice, versatile glove that can be useful at the next level. The Virginia commit stands at 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, with room to put on good weight before he arrives in Charlottesville.
5. Austin Hunley, RHP/SS, Mount Juliet
Before the beginning of his junior season, Hunley committed to the University of Tennessee, setting high expectations for the rest of his high school career. The staff in Knoxville could not ask much more out of the middle Tennessee native as he went on to post a 0.46 ERA with 63 strikeouts in 46 innings in 2021. Hunley possesses a nifty fastball-slider combination while also working on a developing curveball and changeup. Hunley should fit in well with the prestige that the Volunteer pitching staff has.
Blessed and excited to announce my commitment to the University of Tennessee to continue my baseball & academic career! Thanks to my family, coaches, and friends who supported me along the way! #GBO 🍊🍊@PBRTennessee @MJbearsbaseball @PerfectGameUSA @5starmidsouth @Vol_Baseball pic.twitter.com/XNpmtrCJOW
— Austin Hunley (@AustinHunley11) March 5, 2020
6. AJ Russell, RHP/IF, Franklin
Another Volunteer commit, Russell brings a unique ceiling with his size. He stands at 6-foot-5, 175 pounds with plenty of raw power. Once he fills out, the third baseman could develop some truly special pop. He also is quite intriguing on the mound, already touching the low 90s with his fastball. He put up a 0.63 ERA with 67 strikeouts in 44.1 innings last spring.
I am extremely blessed and excited to announce my commitment to further my academics and baseball career at the University of Tennessee. I would like to thank God, my coaches and my family for everything they have done to get me to this position. Go Vols! #committed pic.twitter.com/8e1TWNLzhC
— AJ Russell (@AJRusse63736553) July 11, 2021
7. Joe King, LHP/OF, Ravenwood
King may be the biggest wild card on the list. Ezell-Harding Christian School did not have a baseball season last spring, leading to King’s transfer to Ravenwood High School in Brentwood. Whatever stats King missed out on, he makes up for it with the eye test. King has a smooth, repeatable delivery from the left side, pumping out low-90s fastballs. The Vanderbilt commit should have plenty of scouts’ eyes on him for his senior season.
8. Cooper Clapp, IF, Hardin County
Clapp fits the cliché of being a baseball player. He has a knack for making all the plays at shortstop with a good mental clock and a high baseball IQ. The statistics from 2021 also pop off the page for Clapp, hitting .409 at the plate and tossing to a 0.64 ERA on the bump. In November, he signed with Notre Dame.
— Cooper Clapp (@Cooperclapp11) November 11, 2021
9. Langston Patterson, 3B/OF, Christ Presbyterian Academy
Patterson is one of the top high school athletes in the state. His muscular frame of 6-foot, 190 pounds stands out on the diamond, making it no surprise that he is committed to Vanderbilt to play football. With that being said, he is a crucial part of the Lions’ lineup. He finished 2021, with a .421 batting average, 12 home runs and 48 RBIs. He was just as effective on the base paths with 34 stolen bases. Tim Corbin may try to convince Clark Lea to let him swap his pads for a bat during his college springs in Nashville.
— Langston Patterson (@Langston_patt) March 22, 2021
10. Jake Wilson, LHP/OF, Trinity Christian
Wilson has been a nice, versatile player for the Lions program. He plays a reliable center field, with a great bat, hitting .358 as a junior. On the mound, he has a solid repertoire from the left side. He throws the kitchen sink with his fastball, curveball and slider and he also has a nifty changeup in his back pocket. Following his high school career, he will be heading to Murfreesboro, hoping to become a key member of the baseball program at Middle Tennessee State University.