Aug. 28, 2006
Members of the 2007 Tennessee baseball team began fall classes at the university last week. The Volunteers welcomed a dozen newcomers to campus, including five players who were previously drafted. Tennessee's fall roster includes 27 total players and 11 returning letterwinners.
"We survived the (MLB) draft," UT head coach Rod Delmonico said. "We lost a few of our signees, but we also were able to bring in some players who could have easily signed professional contracts but chose college instead. I'm excited to begin fall practice and find out how dedicated this group is to becoming excellent. There's no question that we have the talent to succeed."
Highlighting the Vols' crop of newcomers are 2006 draft picks Lance McClain (LHP, Texas, 24th round), Nick Hernandez (LHP, Oakland, 32nd round), Bryan Morgado (LHP, Boston, 34th round) and Ryan Butner (RHP, San Francisco, 38th round) as well as 2005 selection Danny Lima (INF, Cleveland, 38th round).
Tennessee's other newcomers include: Baseball America's 143rd-best high school prospect Yan Gomes (C/INF), Baseball America's 259th-best high school prospect and Collegiate Baseball prep All-America selection Jeffrey Lockwood (1B/LHP), 2006 NJCAA national home runs leader Chad Maddox (OF), 2006 NJCAA national stolen bases leader Andy Simunic (INF/OF), closer for the 2006 NJCAA national championship team Zane Stone (RHP), All-State Memphis product Allen Wright (INF) and Florida Gulf Coast University transfer Shawn Griffin (OF).
Three UT signees opted to sign professional baseball contracts rather than enroll at Tennessee. Preston Mattingly was the No. 31 overall pick in June's draft and signed a seven-figure deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Right-handed pitchers Shane Hill and Michael Dubee inked six-figure deals with the Milwaukee Brewers and the Philadelphia Phillies, respectively.
The Vols are tentatively scheduled to begin fall practice Monday, Oct. 2.