MARTIN, Tenn. – University of Tennessee at Martin head baseball coach Rick Robinson announced the addition of 10 players of the program’s 2018 recruiting class during the early signing period. The Skyhawks have announced the additions of Dawson Moncrief, Chase Phillips, Noah Thigpen, Ryan Lloyd, Marcus Bersoza, Tyler Sherman, Hayden Cooper, Trey Ricko, Marcus Eusebio and Andrew Rodriguez.
“This is an exciting time of the year for our program and the coaching staff,” said Robinson. “It is very rewarding to know all the hard work has paid off by signing 10 outstanding student athletes that on signing day they all are going to make our program better. These athletes not only excel on the baseball field, but also in the classroom. They have an inner drive to compete at the highest level possible and each plays the game with great energy and passion while living a life style that is conducive to propelling them closer to their full potential while at UTM. I would like to thank Coach Murphy and Coach Jenkins for their tireless work ethic for the program. Without their hard work this day would not have been so successful.”
Ryan Lloyd – LHP, 6-5, 195, So., Morristown, Tenn. (Cleveland State CC)
Lloyd put together an impressive 2017 campaign with the Cougars as he hurled to the tune of a 3.32 ERA, picked up five victories, one save, and fanned 51 batters in 43.1 innings pitched. His best outing came against Bryan College JV as the southpaw fanned 11 batters in six innings of work. He won 2016 IMAC Pitcher of the Year and was also tabbed as the 2016 IMAC Tournament Co-MVP while under the tutelage of head coach Ryan Haun.
“Ryan was in our camp a few years back and I liked him then,” said Robinson. “Two years in a quality two-year program like Cleveland State has made into a Division I pitcher that is ready to step in and win some games for the Skyhawks.”
Marcus Eusebio – RHP, 5-10, 175, Fr., Wayne, NJ (Passaic County Technical Institute)
Eusebio has completed a task that, at any level, is an amazing feat – throwing a no-hitter. He tossed the no-no in the Passaic County baseball tournament in 2017 and fanned 11 batters along the way to advance the Bulldogs to the semifinals. In the state championship game, Eusebio pitched 6.2 innings and wrung up nine in the process but the Bulldogs fell in the 13-inning marathon. He finished third for the top junior pitcher in the state of New Jersey before being named to the All-Passaic County Honorable Mention team. Named to the Big North Liberty Division First Team. Eusebio was selected to the 2017 Under Armor Preseason Tournament team and entered the season as a preseason all-state selection. He competed for a 17U Summer League, the East Coast Lumberjacks, in which he tossed 34.1 innings, fanned 60 batters and sported a 1.63 ERA.
“Marcus is the kind of pitcher that can completely dominate a team with his fastball and keep a team off balance with his off speed pitches,” said Robinson. He should be able to come in and make a huge impact on our pitching staff. Coach Murphy saw him several times and he never threw a bad game.”
Trey Ricko – RHP, 6-2, 190, Fr., Plainfield, Ill. (Plainfield South HS)
Ricko was mentored under head coach Phil Bodine while at Plainfield South. He swung to the tune of a .329 batting average and collected 21 RBI’s to go along with a 3-0 record and a 1.49 ERA in 2016. He tossed six shutout innings to propel the Cougars to the semifinals of the Summer State Baseball Tournament in 2016 and eventually being an integral part of the championship team.
“Trey dominated the game that I saw him throw not with an over powering fastball but with an over powering Division I breaking ball,” said Robinson. “Anyone that can spin the ball like that will throw a lot harder at some point. But he is ready right now to be a Division I pitcher with that breaking ball.”
Tyler Sherman – RHP, 6-1, 190, Fr., Collierville, Tenn. (Collierville HS)
Sherman put together an outstanding 2017 campaign as he garnered Pitcher of the Year, First Team All-State and Region 8 All-Region Team accolades. He racked up an impressive 10-1 record on the mound to go along with a 1.94 ERA in 2017. He was named a pitcher for Team Tennessee after tying the Collierville High School record for most wins in a single season and was a finalist for the Commercial Appeal Player of the Year award. Along with teammate Marcus Bersoza, he helped guide the Dragons to a 33-12 record in 2017.
“The first time I saw him pitch in a game, I knew I wanted him on our staff,” said Robinson. “Tyler has pitched well in a good league for a great high school program and an outstanding high school coach. Tyler knows how to pitch and has a lot of sink on the baseball which will allow him to get lots of outs at this level.”
Noah Thigpen – 2B, 6-0, 190, Fr., Jackson, Miss. (Jackson Academy)
An all-around athlete, Thigpen played all infield positions while also seeing time on the mound under head coach Jay Powell as well as being recognized as a standout on the gridiron. In 2017, he racked up an impressive .304 batting average, eight doubles, eight home runs and 24 RBI’s in 40 games played. He was named to the 4A Division I All-District first team, MAIS All-State First Team and claimed the Clarion Ledger Top Performer award three times.
“Noah is a player I saw a few times this summer,” said Robinson. “I think his athleticism and his aggressive approach to the game will play very well in the Ohio Valley Conference.”
Hayden Cooper – INF, 6-3, 190, Fr., Wentzville, Mo. (Holt High School)
Cooper helped the Indians to a 2017 conference title while also nabbing two consecutive First Team All-Conference honors after sporting a .365 batting average, .491 on base percentage and .541 slugging percentage under head coach Joel Adam.He was named to the 2017 Perfect Game WWBA 17U National Championship All-Tournament Team, Perfect Game 2017 Underclass High Honorable Mention and listed on the Top Prospect List and Top Prospect Team at the Perfect Game National Indoor Showcase in February 2017.
“Hayden is a tall, lanky guy and in my option will grow both physically and talent wise,” said Robinson. “The day I saw him he swung the bat like a Division I hitter and I think he will step in and help us right away.”
Marcus Bersoza – 3B, 5-10, 170, Fr., Collierville, Tenn. (Collierville HS)
A multi-sport athlete, Bersoza was a decorated member of the baseball team as well as football team for the Dragons. He earned a spot in the TBCA Showcase in 2017 after sporting a .333 batting average, a .477 on base percentage and a .454 slugging percentage. Along with teammate Tyler Sherman, he helped guide the Dragons to a 33-12 record in 2017. He was a member of the Tennessee AAA Sectional Championship team in 2016 and also earned
“The first time I saw Marcus I really liked him because of his bat speed and the way the ball comes off the bat,” said Robinson. “I also think he is going to get bigger and stronger and will improve all areas of his game.”
Chase Phillips – C, 6-0, 185, Fr., Arlington, Tenn. (St. Benedict at Auburndale)
A Perfect Game All-American Honorable Mention in 2016 and 2017, Phillips has proven to be a pillar behind the plate as he earned Defensive Player of the Year for SBA during his 2016 campaign. At the prep level, he accumulated a .330 batting average, six doubles and drove in 23 runs for the Eagles. The backstop has also garnered All-Metro awards (2016, 2015) as well as an All-Region Honorable Mention (2015).
“Chase was our first committed player in this class so we have gotten to know him very well and he and his family will be a great addition to the Skyhawk family,” said Robinson. “Chase will add depth and stability behind the plate for us.”
Dawson Moncrief – C, 6-2, So., Prattville, Ala. (Wallace CC Selma)
A reliable option at catcher, Moncrief appeared in nine games while sporting a .286 batting average with one RBI and one run scored. At Autauga Academy, he was a four-time All-Metro from 2013-16 as well as garnering two All-Star selections in 2015 and 2016. He led Autauga Academy to three runner-up finishes (2012, 2015-16).
“We are excited about Dawson,” said Robinson. “Coach Jenkins saw Dawson a couple of times this past summer and we think he will have an immediate impact in the lineup.”
Andrew Rodriguez – 1B, 6-4, 260, Jr., Midlothian, Ill. (Joliet Junior College)
Rodriguez brings two years of junior college experience to the Division-I level. In 2017, he compiled a .306 batting average and belted eight doubles for the Wolves. He led the Wolves against Triton College when he belted a go-ahead three-run homer that ultimately won the game. Rodriguez also drove in three runs against Kishwaukee College. His game-high in hits came against Columbia State Community College as he compiled four base knocks. He collected three hits against Harper College and tallied a total of eight two-hit games. Rodriguez was named All-Conference in 2015 and 2016 while at Oak Forest High School.
“Andrew is a left handed hitter that generates as much power as I have seen in a young hitter,” said Robinson. “He is a big guy that moves well and with some work should be ready to make a big impact in the OVC his first year.”