JONESBORO, AR (ASU) – The Arkansas State baseball program has announced the addition of eight student-athletes during the early signing period that ran through Nov. 12-19. Members of the class will be eligible to compete for the Red Wolves beginning with 2016 season and will enroll in school for the 2015-16 academic year.
The Red Wolves' signing class includes Crowder College transfer JD Miller (Sheridan, Ark.) and incoming freshmen Brandon Stuckenschneider (Poplar Bluff, Mo.), Peyton Culbertson (Collierville, Tenn.), Neil Lambert (Pontiac, Ill.), Garrett Huff (Texarkana, Ark.), Drew Tipton (Bryant, Ark.), Zachary Haake (Breese, Ill.,) and Bradey Welsh (Marshfield, Mo.).
"I would like to commend the recruiting efforts of assistant coaches Anthony Everman and Tighe Dickinson for a great early signing period for A-State baseball," A-State head coach Tommy Raffo said. "We feel very strongly about recruiting a special type of baseball student-athlete that will excel in the classroom, care for the community and have a tireless work ethic on the ball field.
"We had three goals in mind going into the early signing recruiting process. First, we wanted to find young men that show passion, toughness and a 'want' to play for A-State baseball. Second, we wanted to continue to create balance for future Red Wolves teams. Third, each young man we recruit must be able to compete and win in the Sun Belt quickly. We feel that these young men give us a great recruiting base for the 2016 team with an emphasis on pitching."
Miller, a 6-foot, 185-pound right-handed pitcher, prepped at Sylvan Hills High School under coach Denny Tipton in Arkansas. During freshman season at Crowder College he served as the closer and had nine saves to go along with a 4-1 record and 3.35 ERA in 37.2 innings. He went 3-0 with four saves during conference play and had a 2.89 ERA. He finished the year with 30 strikeouts and had a 7.17 strikeout per 9 innings mark under the tutelage of Crowder College head coach Travis Lallemand.
At Sylvan Hills, he earned all-conference honors as a junior and a senior and was a Class 5A All-State selection during his senior year. He was also a two-year starter at quarterback and a three-year starter on the baseball team. Miller joins Lucas Feddersen, Matt Burgess, Cody Jackson and Ty White as former student-athletes from Crowder College to sign with A-State baseball within the last three years.
Culbertson, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound right-handed pitcher, helped lead Collierville High School to a state championship in 2013 and was the winning pitcher in the semifinal game. He finished his sophomore season with a 6-1 record with 41 strikeouts in 31 innings of work. He had a 2.26 ERA and was named to the TBCA Region 8 Showcase and Tennessee Boarder Wars teams. As a junior he went 4-2 with a 1.79 ERA with 37 strikeouts in 31.1 innings under the guidance of head coach Jeff Hopkins. PrepBaseballReport.com ranked Culbertson the 15th best player in the state of Tennessee and has played in the Area Code games in Long Beach, Calif. He is one of the 40 finalists for the 18U National Team USA.
Stuckenschneider, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound left-handed pitcher from Popular Bluff High School and is currently coached by Steve Edwards. He is a power left-handed pitcher with the ability to be a starter in a weekend rotation. Rated at the 16th best player in the state of Missouri by PrepBaseballReport.com, his fastball has been clocked in the upper 80s, with a good curve ball and plus-changeup. He also played for several summer league teams including the Missouri Bulls and the St. Louis Gamers and was coached by former A-State & Major League Baseball pitcher Matt Whiteside.
Huff helped lead Genoa Central High School, currently coached by Chase Brewster, to the class 3A State Championship in 2014 after earning both All-State and All-Region honors. He has the ability to play several positions, including middle infield and catcher and showed off his skills at the Xtra Innings Event in Jonesboro this past summer. Offensively Huff had a .480 batting average with 46 hits, 12 doubles, two triples and two home runs. He had 19 RBIs out of the leadoff spot and had school record 32 stolen bases. He has also had success with the East Texas Canes summer league team where he had a .333 batting average with 24 stolen bases and 18 runs scored.
Lambert, a 5-foot-11, 155-pound infielder, has the ability to play multiple positions on the infield. He currently is a left-handed hitting shortstop at Pontiac Township High School and is coach by his brother Brian Lambert. PrepBaseballReport.com currently ranks him the 53rd best baseball player in the state of Illinois after a junior season in which he had a .370 batting average with six doubles and two triples. He also walked 28 times and had an on-base percentage of nearly .500. Lambert has spent the past two summers playing for Top Tier in Illinois, which has had 17 players commit to play college baseball from the 2015 graduating class.
Tipton provided the spark that led Bryant to the Class 7A state championship in 2014 with the 10-0 victory in the final under Bryant head coach Kirk Bock. He had a .384 batting average and drove in 26 RBIs to go along with 33 hits that included 13 extra base hits. Tipton utilized his speed on the base paths as he stole 16 bases and along with 30 runs scored. The 5-foot-9, 145-pound high energy played was also named to the 2014 Louisville Slugger High School Second-Team All-America team. Tipton also displayed his skills very well at the Xtra Innings Classic this past summer that included the top high school players in the state of Arkansas.
Haake prepped at Breese Mater Dei Catholic High School under head coach Travis Gebke. He has been a starter and has quickly become one of the top pitchers in the state of Illinois. The 6-foot-6, 188-pound signee was named the 2014 Bellville News-Democrat All-Area team as an outfielder in 2014 and has played summer league baseball on the St. Louis Gamers with fellow signee Stuckenschneider, who are coached by former A-State & former Major League Baseball pitcher Matt Whiteside. Haake went 3-1 with 1.69 ERA during his junior season and has also been a standout basketball player at Mater Dei.