Georgia Tech signs Top 10 class for baseball

Georgia Tech baseball coach Danny Hall has announced that 16 student-athletes have signed their National Letters of Intent during the early-signing period to play for the ACC Champion Yellow Jackets next season.

This highly-regarded, deep class features 13 players from the state of Georgia, two in the Team USA system and has been ranked in the top-10 by Perfect Game.

The 16-member class that will enroll at Tech in August and play the 2014 season includes: Elliott Barzilli, IF (Los Angeles, Calif./Palisades Charter); Brandon Gold, 3B/RHP (Alpharetta, Ga./Johns Creek); Matthew Gorst, RHP (Alpharetta, Ga./Johns Creek); Josh Hart, OF (Lilburn, Ga./Parkview); Syd Hopkins, RHP (Roswell, Ga./Roswell); Keenan Innis, OF/RHP (Cumming, Ga./Blessed Trinity); Connor Justus, IF (Cartersville, Ga./Cartersville); Eric Knox, OF (Guyton, Ga./Effingham County); Terry McClure, OF (Atlanta, Ga./Riverwood); Arden Pabst, C/IF (Sherman Oaks, Calif./Harvard Westlake); Tanner Shelton, LHP (Woodstock, Ga./Etowah); Ryan Zentko, RHP (Canton, Ga./Creekview).

“This is a tremendously-talented class top to bottom and one that we’re very excited about,” said Hall, who enters his 20th season at Tech in 2013. “This should be ranked as a top-five class nationally, and one that will help in achieving our yearly goal of winning an ACC Championship and reaching the College World Series. We answered every need. We have the potential to lose a lot from this year, including our entire outfield, so I felt like we needed outfielders. We needed to add depth in pitching, and we did that. Top to bottom, there is a good balance in this class, and we’re excited to have them.

“I want to thank my assistant coaches Bryan Prince and Jason Howell for their tireless work during the recruiting process to find student-athletes that not only fill needs that we have on our team, but to find ones that are good fits academically at Georgia Tech.”

Elliott Barzilli, INF, 6-1, 175, R/R, Los Angeles, Calif./Palisades Charter

Ranked No. 4 on’s list of top middle infielders in the nation… Competed in the 15U and 16U USA Baseball National Team trials… 2012 Under Armour Second Team Preseason All-America… All-Western League shortstop as a junior at Palisades Charter.

Coach Hall Quote: “He’s a very talented, athletic shortstop with a good arm. We saw him a year ago at the US Trials, and liked him. He and his family made and unofficial visit, and committed. We are very fortunate and excited to have him next year.”

Brandon Gold, 3B/RHP, 6-3, 185, R/R, Alpharetta, Ga./Johns Creek

Set Johns Creek’s single-season records for batting average (.446) and slugging percentage (.561) in 2011 and claimed the single-season doubles record in 2012 (15)… 2012 All-Region co-Player of the Year… All-Region pick in 2011 and 2012… Ranked as the 31st-best third-baseman nationally by Perfect Game.

Coach Hall Quote: “Probably one of the best defensive third basemen I’ve seen in a while. He has power at the plate and is 88-89 off the mound, with the definite potential to be a two-way guy here.”

Matthew Gorst, RHP, 6-2, 205, R/R, Alpharetta, Ga./Johns Creek

Set Johns Creek single-season records last year for innings (73.1), wins (10) and strikeouts (70)… named the All-Region Pitcher of the Year and to the 2012 All-Region Team.

Coach Hall Quote: “Like Brandon, Matthew’s coming here from a very talented Johns Creek team. I saw him last year and he was pretty good, and I saw him again this summer and he was really good. He’s an athletic guy, a strike thrower and can really pitch right now.”

Josh Hart, OF, 6-3, 190, L/L, Lilburn, Ga./Parkview

Played in the 2012 National High School All-Star Game at Petco Park in San Diego… 2012 Under Armour First Team Underclass All-America… Ranked as the 41st-best overall player nationally, the 11th-best outfielder in the nation and the sixth-best overall player in the state of Georgia by Perfect Game… Played on Parkview’s 2011 and 2012 Georgia AAAAA State Championship teams…. Parkview finished this past season 31-6 to be named Baseball America’s No. 1 high school baseball team in the country.

Coach Hall Quote: “He’s one of the most athletic guys in this class. He’s an excellent centerfielder with great instincts for the game. He plays in one of the best high school programs at Parkview, and over the last three years has been one of the best players in the East Cobb program.”

Syd Hopkins, RHP, 6-2, 175, R/R, Roswell, Ga./Roswell

First Team All-Region as a junior… 2012 Under Armour Preseason All-America Honorable Mention… Georgia Dugout Club Award… Ranked No. 22 on the list of top high school players in the state of Georgia by Perfect Game.

Coach Hall Quote: “Plays for a very good high school coach in Mike Power. He’s got a good arm, but he’s an upside guy. He’s got a chance, in three years, to be a very, very good pitcher for us.”

Keenan Innis, OF/RHP, 6-0, 160, L/R, Cumming, Ga./Blessed Trinity

Rated as the 56th best high school player nationally and the eighth-best player in the state by… 2012 Under Armour Second Team Underclass All-America… His father played baseball at Illinois and in the Mets organization and his mother ran at Georgia Tech.

Coach Hall Quote: “Keenan is a very athletic, two-way guy as a pitcher and an outfielder. He has great instincts for the game. He’s just a very good baseball player, and comes from a highly successful high school program in Blessed Trinity, that has been good to Tech over the years.”

Connor Justus, IF, 6-1, 190, R/R, Cartersville, Ga./Cartersville

Won a region championship in 2011 with Carterville for head coach Stuart Chester… His team went 25-7 last season… First Team All-Region pick in 2012 and led his team with a .416 average, adding 29 RBIs and four home runs… 2012 Under Armour Third Team Underclass All-America… Ranked as the second-best shortstop in Georgia and 46th nationally by Perfect Game.

Coach Hall Quote: “Connor’s a highly skilled infielder who can make every play in the infield. He’s the first player from Carterville since I’ve been here, and we’re excited to have him. He’s a good baseball player with great defensive skill in particular.”

Eric Knox, OF, 6-3, 200, R/R, Guyton, Ga./Effingham County

2012 Under Armour First Team Underclass All-America… MVP of Perfect Game’s WWBA 15U National Championship in 2011… Played on the East Cobb team that captured the Perfect Game World Series title this past summer… Ranked 20th on the PG National Games Top Prospects lists.

Coach Hall Quote: “Eric is an upside guy. He’s big, strong and physical. He’s a lifelong Tech fan, and player we’re thrilled to have in the program.”

Terry McClure, OF, 6-2, 190, R/R, Atlanta, Ga./Riverwood

Played in the 2012 Under Armour All-America Game at Wrigley Field in Chicago… 2012 Under Armour First Team Underclass All-America… Posted the ninth-fastest 60 time (6.63) at the East Coast Pro Showcase… Ranked as the fourth-best high school player in the state of Georgia and the 41st overall player nationally by Perfect Game… Named to the All-Tournament Team of the 2012 WWBA World Championship after hitting .444 with two triples, a homer and seven RBI.

Coach Hall Quote: “Terry has been one of the best players in the East Cobb program for many years and has really emerged on the national stage this fall. He’s an athletic outfielder, that can run, throw and hit.”

Arden Pabst, C/IF, 6-4, 200, R/R, Sherman Oaks, Calif./Harvard Westlake

A member of Team USA 16 National Team that won a gold medal at the 2011 IBAF World AA/16U Youth Championships in Mexico… Participated in the 2012 Area Code Games… Rated by Perfect Game as the No. 6 catcher in California and the 23rd-best nationally.

Coach Hall Quote: “Arden’s a pure baseball player. He was in the USA Trials and made the US Team a year ago, and won a gold medal on that team in Mexico. He can catch and play in the infield. Arden plays in one of the best high school programs in the country in Harvard Westlake – it’s not only a good baseball program, but a fine academic school.”

Ben Parr, LHP, 6-4, 175, L/L, Social Circle, Ga./George Walton Academy

Helped his team come within one victory of the 2012 state championship… GWA won a school record 28 games this past season… Played summer baseball with Team Elite.

Coach Hall Quote: “Ben’s a sleeper left-handed pitcher. He’s under the radar to a degree now. He played this summer for a team with several Division-I players on it, and held his own.”

Ryan Peurifoy, OF, 6-3, 175, R/R, Peachtree City, Ga./Starr’s Mill

(”pure-ee-foy”)… 2012 Underclass Preseason All-America Honorable Mention… Listed by Perfect Game as having one of the top-15 outfield arms in the Southeast… Sound fundamentally… Strong academically.

Coach Hall Quote: “Ryan is a sound outfielder with really good bat potential. He’s a good, physical athlete that also plays football at Starr’s Mill. We’re fortunate to have him, and I know the family is excited as his father is a Tech grad.”

Matt Phillips, RHP, 6-1, 175, R/R, Milton, Ga./Milton

Ranked by Perfect Game as the eighth-best right-handed pitcher in Georgia and the state’s 25th-best overall prospect… Was a member of the East Cobb Yankees that won the 2012 WWBA 18U National Championship… 2012 Under Armour Second Team Underclass All-America… Helped Milton to region championships in 2012 with his 6-0 record and 1.50 ERA.

Coach Hall Quote: “Matt is an excellent pitcher already, with a 90-plus fastball, and a very good breaking ball and change-up. He was one the first commits in this class and I know he’s excited to be a Yellow Jacket.”

Zac Ryan, RHP/IF, 6-2, 195, R/R, Valparaiso, Ind./Andrean

Went 9-2 on the mound with a 1.80 ERA and 80 strikeouts in 60 innings pitched for Andrean… At the plate he hit .400, with 48 RBI and seven home runs… Ranked by Perfect Game as the No. 3 right-handed pitcher in Indiana and the Hoosier State’s seventh-best overall high school prospect… Named the All-Tournament Team of the 17U Perfect Game World Series.

Coach Hall Quote: “Zac played for the Indiana Prospects, which is a very, very good team out of Midwest. He’s a two-way guy as a pitcher and an infielder with a 90—plus fastball. We saw him this summer and are very excited about him.”

Tanner Shelton, LHP, 6-1, 190, L/L, Woodstock, Ga./Etowah

Ranked as the state of Georgia’s No. 5 left-handed pitcher, the 48th-best lefty nationally and No. 37 on the list of overall high school players in the state… 2012 Under Armour Third Team Underclass All-America… Played in the 2012 PG WWBA World Championship in Jupiter, Fla… Was on the East Cobb 18U National Championship Team.

Coach Hall Quote: “Tanner is a lefty with a tremendous upside. We’re excited to get him in our program and we feel he has great potential to be a dominate lefty at our level.”

Ryan Zentko, RHP, 6-7, 195, R/R, Canton, Ga./Creekview

Named to the All-Tournament of the WWBA 18U National Championship after going 1-0 with a 0.88 ERA and 11 strikeouts against two walks in 8.0 innings… Listed among 22 players nationwide as a Top Academic Prospect by Perfect Game… Named to Georgia’s 7-AAAA All-Region Team.

Coach Hall Quote: “Ryan is very talented two-way guy. What I like is that he possesses a dominate slider, one that can get guys out right now. He’s a big strong, physical guy that’s got some power at the plate.”

– Courtesy of

11 comments Add your comment


November 30th, 2012
9:55 am

TechFalcon fan

November 30th, 2012
11:23 am

Do great recruiting in every sport except Football. That’s got to change, asap.

Ga Tech Old Timer

November 30th, 2012
10:52 pm

Hey!!! Where are those lame excuses that: 1) Tech doesn’t have the classes or majors these kids are looking for and 2) Tech is too tough a school for the “athletic” type to get into based on SAT / ACT scores. Men’s and women’s basketball along with baseball all have top recuited classes. This speaks directly to the football team coaches recuiting process and lack of ability to get the players Tech needs to make it at our current level – forgetting for a minute about any level higher we might have thought about reaching – like the level of play of the SEC for instance! THE TIME FOR EXCUSES IS OVER!! Johnson – your fellow coaches in these other sports at Tech are showing you up. I put the same question to you as you put to your players: When you get hit in the mouth by your fellow coaches out performing you by excellent recruiting – when you get hit in the mouth with pi$$ poor seasons – one after another – when you’ve lost every game you’ve played against UGA except one (with Gailey’s players) – are you going to rise up and be do a better job or are you going to blame it all on the players as you’ve done in the past? When are you going to put in the same effort and intensity to your job as you expect from the players? Just asking ………


December 1st, 2012
11:34 pm

I suspect it’s possible that if you used your brain instead of ranting, you would realize that for basketball, 1 or 2 academic exceptions can make a class great. For baseball, maybe suburban white kids who are good at baseball tend to have higher grades than the thugs UGA gets for football that you seem to prefer for our football team.

Ga Tech Old Timer

December 1st, 2012
11:55 pm

And, I suspect that it’s possible that if you used YOUR brain instead of pulling assumptions out of thin air about exceptions for any program and dredging up your racial issues – YOU would realize that I have made no assertion that UGA has any thugs on their team nor does Tech. Neither have I implied as you have that color has ever made or will ever make a difference in acedemics or athleticism. What I did say was the excuses need to stop from our fans about every reason that can be thought of to excuse our poor recruiting ability and thereby justify our poor record – year after year.

You need to either put down the bottle or lay your personal racial issues aside to further this blog.

Tokyo jacket

December 2nd, 2012
12:05 am

@Chuck, I’m a CPJ fan, but that’s an apologist talking. I heard a great comment today “The only people that claim recruiting rankings don’t matter are fans of losing teams.” If Harbaugh can lure top talent to Stanford and Kelley can get it to South Bend, we should be able to at least get somewhere close at Tech. Tech has to get better talent on the football field to consistently win 9+ games per year, which is I think what Tech fans would be comfortable with.

By the way, congratulations on yet another milestone in coach Danny Hall’s legacy of excellence.

Tokyo jacket

December 2nd, 2012
12:08 am

Oh, and don’t forget Hoke at Michigan, Franklin at Vandy, et al.

LC Jacket

December 2nd, 2012
8:48 pm

Stanford, Michigan and Vanderbilt all play in much more prestigious conferences than the ACC. Georgia Tech plays football in what most see as a prestigious basketball conference (although not as strong as they once were). I was told by a long time Tech fan that Bobby Dodd left Georgia Tech because he could not out recruit Vince Dooley. Georgia has 30 commits already (how many does the NCAA allow). The SEC has teams that are known for taking more commits than they have the ability to sign and then tie them up for the class next year but more importantly taking them off the board of another teams commits. Look at the quality of football being played by ACC teams (sub par) and not even the top teams Florida State and Clemson could beat their SEC rivals. I have to tell you that all things considered Paul Johnson is as good as or better than most coaches in the ACC. How many years in a row have SEC teams one the National Championship? There is only a couple of teams in the ACC that can get comparable quality athletes that the SEC teams are able to recruit. You can hypothesize, live in LaLa land or make whatever goofy claim you want to make but it’s not only CPJ having trouble recruiting great talent in the ACC it’s most of the ACC coaches. Do I want to see Tech winning right away? Absolutely. But unless some major changes occur in the college football world real soon, I don’t think were going to see any elite football schools in the ACC.

Dawg Fud

December 3rd, 2012
8:47 am

Congrats to Danny Hall and Tech. Coach Hall is class all of the way and lots of young men want to play for him.


Omaha or bust

December 3rd, 2012
10:07 am

Sounds like Danny Hall has recruited a talented group of players for next year! Are we likely to lose many of these boys in the draft?

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December 4th, 2012
9:30 am

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