Seven players from area programs are among the 12 signees Tennessee Temple University baseball coach Greg Bartley announced this week.
"And we've got two or three others that are going to come," Bartley said. "I've worked harder in recruiting than I've ever worked. We had 22 last fall but ended up with 14 [for the 2014 season], and I didn't want that to happen again. We've got nine coming back."
One of the newcomers is Chandler Coley, a right-handed pitcher from Christian Heritage in Dalton, and his signing led to Chase Burke from Ringgold coming aboard.
"Chase had played with Chandler in summer ball and played for Chandler's dad," Bartley said. "I knew Chase was a first baseman and designated hitter, but I saw him catch some this summer. He'll probably help us in all three roles.
"Chandler's a guy who can throw three-quarters or can drop down. He can almost go submarine style. We've just to find where his best arm slot is."
Both of those are "really good kids," Bartley said, which pretty much describes his whole recruiting haul.
He's really excited about the possibilities from Kevin Carr, a former Silverdale Baptist player who went to Bryan College and was at Cleveland State this past year. Carr has some work to do this fall to get eligible, but he potentially could take a spot at the top of rotation.
And he's coming to Temple to prepare for ministry, Bartley said.
Other new Crusaders from the area are Clay O'Shields from Marion County, 2013 Grundy County graduate Hunter Brown and pitcher John Gilmer and catcher Tyler Cavender from Coffee County.
"O'Shields played center field for Marion, and he's got real good size and some pop in his bat," Bartley said. "He's a high academic kid and probably will play a variety of positions for us. We offered Hunter Brown a scholarship out of high school, but he decided to go to Tennessee Tech and concentrate on his education. He missed baseball a bunch, though. He's a big strong kid who can play the corner positions and can pitch. He'll probably mainly be a first baseman."
Gilmer is another submarining right-hander, and Cavender had considerable other attention but apparently liked the fact that his batterymate was coming to Temple.
"He swings the bat really well. He hit a lot of doubles," Bartley said of the catcher.
Another catcher in the group is Drew Satterfield from Gainesville (Ga.) High School, which reached the AAAAA state semifinals in 2014. He also has a strong ministry interest.
Allen Davidson is a right-handed pitcher from Gaston High in Gadsden, Ala. His fastball is in the mid to upper 80-mph range, Bartley said, and was pointed toward the Crusaders by a former assistant coach who played for Temple.
Kwynn Rury is a pitcher and middle infielder from Murfreesboro Blackman by way of Roane State. He may start at shortstop, according to Bartley, and has three years of eligibility.
Corner infielder Caleb Lee from Oneida High and pitcher and infielder Joseph Haley from Pickett County had other interest but picked Temple largely because of an attraction to Chattanooga. They knew each other as opponents and will be rooming together, Bartley said.
"Caleb could play short but probably will be a corner guy," Bartley said. "And Haley is a big strong kid. We just really hit it off with both of those guys. Caleb is another high-academic guy, and Carson-Newman and some other people had talked to him, but he just really wanted to come here. And Joseph had a couple of offers from some schools in Kentucky.
"We've really got some guys who can help us, I believe. And it's unbelievable the character kids we got."