Although classes don't start for eight days and the competition season is more than five months away, the Chattanooga State baseball team met Saturday and will start working out together Monday.
In addition to left-handed pitcher Tyler Troutt from Alcoa, middle infielder Tripp Sullivan from Marietta, Ga., and former Ringgold standouts Read Walden and Adam Weldon, whose signings were reported in January, Tigers coach Greg Dennis has developed quite a collection of newcomers leading into the 2012-13 school year.
Among them is sophomore first baseman Aaron Wright, who led UNC-Asheville in batting average in the 2012 season.
"He's a big-time transfer who has the tools to be a 4-hole-type crusher for us," Dennis said.
Another sophomore transfer is Marquis Webb, a middle infielder from Atlanta who played both football and baseball at Lenoir-Rhyne University.
"He's a very athletic kid who has the chance to be a top-of-the-order guy, and he's strong," Dennis said. "He may have a huge impact for us."
The other new Tigers are freshmen, including local outfielder Sheldon Brogden from Notre Dame.
"He has great tools," Dennis declared. "He's a very strong kid who hits the ball well and has good athleticism in the field and on the bases. It will be fun to see him develop."
Lance Belue from Georgia's West Forsythe High School is another athletic outfielder and the nephew of former Chattanooga State player Guy Belue (1989 and '90) and of former Georgia quarterback Buck Belue, now one of the Atlanta Braves' pregame radio hosts.
Dennis, who previously coached in Texas, brought in four recruits from that state: left-handed pitchers Reid Fults and Alex Blem from Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School near Beaumont, "super fast" leadoff-type outfielder Jared Wilson from a Dallas suburb and third baseman/pitcher Brice Cell from the Fort Worth area.
Fults was the ace and Blem starred in the outfield as well as pitching for their high school. Blem additionally "has had a super summer playing in World Series competition," and Fults could be a pitcher "we count on quite a bit," Dennis added, noting that Cell "has the ability to be a big-time hitter for us and is very athletic."
Casey Henshaw from Dandridge, Tenn., is another freshman pitcher who "could be a conference arm" in the spring, and Tanner Kint from Rossview and Ryan Whitt from Franklin are Tennesseans who bring speed to the outfield.
Jefferson County's Colton Bales was an all-state catcher who also plays first base "and has the ability to be a big-time hitter for us," Dennis noted, and fellow catcher Brandon Bush is another solid hitter who was a starter on three playoff teams at Marshall County.