Top Men's Classes - 2017 Winter Rankings
by TennisRecruiting.net, 30 January 2017
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The spring college tennis season is about to begin in earnest, and there are many exciting things going on this year. In addition to the ITA Kick-Off Weekend that just wrapped up around the country this past weekend, the ITA Women's and Men's National Indoors are coming up over the next couple of weeks at Yale and Virginia, respectively. And that says nothing about the launch of College MatchDay at the USTA National Campus and the upcoming USTA NCAA Division I College Poll.
Amidst all of this excitement, late January is also the time we check in on college recruiting for next season. Many high school seniors signed their NLIs in November - and more are making verbal commitments every week as we move towards the spring. In all, there are more than 850 seniors (boys, girls) on our commitment lists.
With so many players committing, this is a great time to check in on the various programs. Who has the best recruiting class? And how is your favorite school doing on the recruiting trail? We invited our panel of voters - national tournament directors, members of the media, and other experts - to give us their take on the top recruiting classes in college tennis.
Today, January 30, 2017, the Tennis Recruiting Network takes a look at the top men's classes. We present the Winter Recruiting Class Rankings for the Class of 2017.
As we have for the past twelve years, Tennis Recruiting has enlisted the aid of junior tennis experts from around the country to vote for the top classes. We list the panelists for this voting period below.
Each of our panelists submitted his/her take on the Top 25 recruiting classes. Schools received 25 points for each first-place vote, 24 points for each second-place vote, on down to 1 point for each 25th-place vote. The panelists did not consider incoming transfer students in their voting - and they also did not consider players starting college this January.
Top 25 Men's Recruiting Classes (through January 4)
Here are the Winter Rankings of the top men's college recruiting classes. Point totals are shown in the right-most column - with the number of first-place votes in parentheses. All commitments reported through January 4, 2017 are included.
Also Receiving Votes
Other men's programs receiving votes are: Duke (31 points), Amherst (25), San Diego (17), Virginia Tech (16), Chicago (14), Stetson (14), Denver (12), Florida State (12), UC Davis (11), Northwestern (9), St. Mary's (CA) (8), Arizona (7), Boston University (5), Liberty (3), Indiana (2), Georgia Tech (1).
Bears Get Top Spot
Things don't get any tighter at the top of the rankings, where California and Florida each have powerhouse classes. The Golden Bears and Gators both have two Blue Chip recruits for 2017 - as well as strong international players who should make immediate impacts.
Our panel had a tough time sorting it all out. The two programs evenly split 16 of the 19 first place votes, with each class earning the top spot on eight ballots. In the end, only one point separated the two recruiting classes, with California edging the Gators 461 points to 460.
Cal coach Peter Wright has his Bears pointing in the right direction. After a Final Four appearance at the NCAA Championships this past May, California was picked fifth in the ITA/Oracle Preseason Rankings earlier this month. With three seniors on the 2016-17 roster, Wright has bolstered his team for years to come with a five-man class that includes Californians Paul Barretto and Jacob Brumm, Jackson Suh of Washington State, and Ben Draper and Jack Molloy from the UK. This quintet of athletes has achieved success on big-time stages, including deep runs at the USTA Hardcourt and Claycourt Nationals, Easter Bowl, and Pan American ITF - as well as appearances in the Wimbledon Junior Championships.
"I'm excited to have a great signing class for men's tennis," said Coach Wright in a school release. "Everyone on the team and the coaching staff welcome Jacob, Paul, Jackson, Ben and Jack to the Cal tennis family."
Give Me Five
The Florida Gators have been steadily improving under Coach Bryan Shelton, reaching the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament last season before running into eventual national champion Virginia. The Gators start the year ranked No. 11 nationally in the ITA pre-season rankings, and they look to build even higher next season with a strong class. Blue Chip seniors Oliver Crawford and Andres Andrade are joined by Duarte Vale of Portugal to form the No. 2 recruiting class in college tennis.
The UCLA Bruins hold down the No. 3 spot in our poll, earning the remaining three first-place votes. The all-California class of Connor Hance, Keegan Smith, Bryce Pereira, and Lucas Bellamy - all of who signed with Billy Martin's squad in November - has a slew of USTA gold, silver, and bronze balls to their names.
Rounding out the Top Five are the Illinois Fighting Illini (No. 4) and Columbia Lions (5).
PAC-12, Ivies Lead the Way
The PAC-12 and Ivy League have the most impressive showings in the rankings. Both conferences have three classes in our Top 10.
The PAC-12 is strong at the top, led by California
(No. 1) and UCLA
(3). They are joined by the Stanford Cardinal
at No. 8.
The Ivy League is represented in the Top 10 by the Columbia Lions (5), Princeton Tigers (9), and Penn Quakers (10). Those programs are joined by Ivy programs Dartmouth (16) and Yale (24) in the Top 25.
Conference USA is the only conference outside of the six tennis power conferences to have multiple classes in these recruiting rankings. Our (owl-loving) voters were impressed with both the Florida Atlantic Owls (18) and Rice Owls (21).
Other notable conferences are the ACC and Big 10 with five and four ranked classes, respectively.
Scattershooting across the rankings...
- Welcome Aboard: Five of these programs are making their first appearances in our recruiting class rankings. A big welcome to the Iowa Hawkeyes (No. 17), Oklahoma State Cowboys (19), Michigan State Spartans (20), Georgetown Hoyas (22), and Furman Paladins (25).
- Welcome Back: Florida Atlantic returns to our rankings for the first time since 2006. The Owls are listed at No. 18 in our 2017 class rankings.
- Powering Up: As we mentioned above, Florida Atlantic and Rice (No. 21) represent Conference USA - a conference outside of the six tennis power conferences. Other programs outside the power conferences are Georgetown (22) and Furman (25).
- Banner Year: In addition to the five newcomers, six programs have earned their highest recruiting class ranking in the twelve-year history of our poll. Cal takes the top spot for the first time in school history, and they are joined with historically strong classes from Illinois (No. 4), Columbia (5), Penn (10), Clemson (15), and Florida Atlantic (18).
- Back For More: This is Stanford's eleventh straight appearance in our recruiting class rankings - most among all programs. The Cardinal have had a ranked recruiting class every year except 2006 - the first year of our rankings. Close on their heels, this is the tenth year in the class rankings for Virginia and Vanderbilt.
- Roaring Lions: Head Coach Bid Goswami has gotten a lot of well-deserved attention for the job he is doing at Columbia. The Lion recruiting classes in 2015 and 2016 - ranked No. 10 and No. 9, respectively - are the only Top 10 recruiting classes in school history. His 2017 class - currently ranked No. 5 - continues the strong run of recruiting in New York City.
Panelists for January 2017
The 19 panelists for this voting period are shown below alphabetically. We sincerely appreciate them donating their time and talents to this effort. Please join us in thanking them when you see them out and about in the tennis world.
- Brian Cory, Director of Tennis at Carmel Valley Athletic Club (CVAC), USPTA
- Sonny Dearth, Daily Press newspaper and dailypress.com Web site in Newport News, Va.
- Tim Donovan, Donovan Tennis Strategies, DTS College Prospects Showcases
- Sally Grabham, National Tournament Director, USTA Winter Nationals, National Junior Competition Committee, Southwest Junior Competition Committee, Southwest Section Executive Committee
- Larry Haugness, USTA/Missouri Valley Executive Committee, Former ITF and USTA National Tournament Director, PTR National Tester, USPTA, Junior Davis Cup Coach
- Marty Hennessy, Director of Tennis at The Stirling Club, USPTA professional, National Tournament Director
- Granger Huntress, Texas College Tennis blog
- Larry Jackson, Director, Dayton Center Courts and Tennis Academy, National Tournament Director
- Ernie Katko, Junior Development Coach in Chicago, USTA High Performance Coach, USTA/Midwest High Performance Committee
- Bobby Knight, College Tennis Today
- Patty Lambropoulos, Junior Tennis Coordinator, College Park Athletic Club, National Tournament Director, Chicago District Board of Director and Endorser, Midwest Junior Competion Committee
- Colette Lewis, ZooTennis.com
- Rick Limpert, Tennis Recruiting contributor, freelance writer
- Tony Minnis, Former head coach, LSU women's tennis, principal at Advantage Tennis Recruiting, host of College Sports Weekly on Fox College Sports
- Phil Parrish, Tennis Director, The Longfellow Club, National Tournament Director, Former College Coach
- Robert Sasseville, National Tournament Director, USTA Junior Competition Committee Member, USTA National Referee
- Lisa Stone, ParentingAces.com
- Jeffrey Szekely, Former National Tournament Director, USTA Clay Courts
- Julie Wrege, TennisInformation.com, TennisRecruiting.net, former National Tournament Director, former USTA junior ranking chair and USTA Tennis Rules Committee member
Up Next... The Ladies
These men's rankings are the first of our Winter Rankings. Next Monday, the Tennis Recruiting Network continues its rankings with the Top 25 Women's Recruiting Classes.
Don't see your school? These 2017 Winter Rankings are only preliminary. We will update them again in May after the spring signing period begins. During that time, we will also post rankings focused on schools outside the power conferences.
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