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Recruiting Feature
Top Men's Classes - 2018 Winter Rankings

As we move toward the end of January, the senior class has been fully engaged. As of today, more than 900 seniors in the Class of 2018 have reported commitments to college tennis programs. Many of them signed NLIs back in November, and many more are making verbal commitments every week.

Commitments will continue to come in, but the end of January is a great time to step back and check out where things stand. We invited our panel of voters - national tournament directors, members of the media, and other experts - to give us their takes on the top recruiting classes in college tennis.

Today, January 21, 2018, we take a look at the top men's classes. TRN and YTEX Strings are excited to present the Winter Recruiting Class Rankings for the Class of 2018.


Media Poll

As we done have for the past twelve years, Tennis Recruiting and YTEX Strings have 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 we knew were starting college earlier this month.


Top 25 Men's Recruiting Classes (through January 3)

Here are the Winter Rankings of the top men's college recruiting classes for 2018. Point totals are shown in the right-most column - with the number of first-place votes in parentheses. All commitments reported through January 3, 2018 are included.

Rank School Rating  Name State Votes 
1 Florida (13) Sam Riffice CA 487
    Lukas Greif IN
    Harry Cacciatore FL
    Grey Cacciatore FL
2 Texas A&M (5) Guido Marson ITA 457
    Noah Schachter FL
    A. Verdi Asensi ESP
    Austin Abbrat TX
    Jack Pulliam CA
3 Michigan (1) Andrew Fenty DC 454
    Patrick Maloney NY
    Steven Forman MI
    Ryan Fu MA
4 Princeton Bill Duo MI 409
    William Peters MA
    Karl Poling NY
    Justin Barki INA
5 Miami (FL) Francisco Bastias ARG 399
    Franco David Aubone ARG
    Kaya Gore TUR
6 Harvard (1) Harris Walker NY 379
    Brian Shi NY
    Steven Sun FL
7 Oklahoma State Matej Vocel CZE 337
    Emile Hudd GBR
8 USC Jake Sands CA 336
    Bradley Frye KS
9 Wisconsin Jared Pratt SC 334
    Lenard Soha HUN
    Daniel Nuzhny NJ
10 Virginia Ryan Goetz NY 329
    William Woodall DC
11 UCLA Maximilian Wild CA 270
    Matthew Tsolakyan CA
    Eric Hahn CA
    Roscoe Bellamy CA
12 Oklahoma Mason Beiler FL 266
    Matthew Rodriguez FL
13 Ohio State James Kent Trotter JPN 262
    Tim Seibert GER
    Andrew Lutschaunig PA
14 South Carolina Nicholas Watson LA 248
    Joseph Brailovsky MD
    Henry Cacciatore FL
    Jake Beasley GA
15 Illinois Keenan Mayo CA 219
    Lucas Horve IL
16 Indiana Carson Haskins MO 206
    Patrick Fletchall IN
    Mac Rogers IN
17 Tennessee J. Dugo Reyes ESP 179
    Sean Presson TN
    Ali Dawani BRN
18 Stanford Alexandre Rotsaert FL 171
    Julio Vargas CA
19 Air Force Robert Baylon CA 119
    Denali Kitayama MI
    James Scotty MD
    Jefferson Hobbs NC
20 LSU Boris Kozlov FL 115
    Daniel Moreno MEX
21 Portland Nicklas Oberg TX 94
    Eleftherios Neos CYP
    Issa Yoshida CA
    Leo Hibi CA
22 Georgia Blake Croyder GA 92
    Britton Johnston GA
23 Central Florida Trey Hilderbrand TX 75
    Manoel Alencar BRA
24 Nebraska Mason Meier NE 69
    William Gleason NE
    Victor Moreno ESP
25 North Carolina Brian Cernoch MD 51

Also Receiving Votes

Other men's programs receiving votes in our rankings are: Yale (32 points), Navy (28), Florida Atlantic (16), Penn (13), Auburn (12), William & Mary (12), Brown (8), Cal Poly (6), Duke (6), Kennesaw State (4), Amherst (2), Davidson (2), Old Dominion (2).


Gators Back On Top

Welcome back, Florida. The Gators have had Top 10 recruiting classes in two of the past three years, but 2018 marks its first No. 1 rated recruiting class since 2007. Head Coach Bryan Shelton and his staff have put together a four-man class consisting of two Blue Chip seniors - both of whom have spent time at No. 1 nationally in the Senior Class Rankings - as well as a pair of Five-Star twin brothers who attend high school just ten minutes away from the UF Tennis Complex. 13 of the 20 voters on our panel had Florida at the top of their lists - as the Gators earned 487 of a possible 500 points.

Blue Chip senior Sam Riffice - the top- ranked recruit in tennis-rich California - currently sits at No. 2 nationally. This article marks the 29th feature story at TRN to feature Riffice. The Gators have to be excited to get a player with his wealth of experience. In 2017 alone, Riffice posted wins at the French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open, reached the finals at the ITF Grade 1 in Roehampton, and won the consolation draw in Kalamazoo.The 6’2” right-hander also has Orange Bowl and Clay Court Nationals championships under his belt, and he even has points on the ATP circuit.

Indiana native Lukas Greif is impressive in his own right - winning gold balls at both the Clay Court and Hard Court Nationals in the 16s division in 2016. Greif, who just celebrated his 18th birthday in December, reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon in 2017. Since the US Open Juniors, Greif has been competing exclusively on the Futures circuit.

Harry and Grey Cacciatore are twins from Gainesville who complete the four-man class. The Cacciatore brothers combined to post 16 victories in the most recent four USTA National Championships - including eight wins at the USTA Clay Court Nationals in Delray Beach, Fla. We featured the brothers - along with South Carolina commit Patrick Cacciatore (no relation) in this article.

Shelton’s Gator squad - ranked No. 9 in the preseason in the Oracle/ITA Men’s Rankings - should be able to reload next season with the help of this deep and talented class.


Power at the Top

Several other teams impressed our panel, as the Texas A&M Aggies and Michigan Wolverines earned 457 and 454 points, respectively, to claim the No. 2 and 3 spots in our rankings.

Texas A&M’s class has a nice mix of Eurpoean and American players, with Guido Marson and Alejandro Aseni coming to College Station from Italy and Spain, respectively. Head Coach Steve Denton also attracted Americans from the three most prosperous tennis states: 5-Star seniors Austin Abbrat (Texas) and Noah Schachter (Fla.) have committed to the Aggies along with 4-Star prospect Jack Pulliam (Calif.). Texas A&M garnered five first-place votes from our panel.

Michigan Head Coach Adam Steinberg has a four-man class that comes from three US states and the District of Columbia. Blue Chip senior Andrew Fenty of Washington, D.C. - whose commitment we covered back in October - leads the way for the Wolverines, and he is joined by fellow Blue Chip athlete Patrick Maloney (NY). Top-50 recruits Steven Forman (Mich.) and Ryan Fu (Mass.) also join the class which earned a first-place vote.

Rounding out our Top 5 are the Princeton Tigers (No. 4) and Miami Hurricanes (5).


Kings in the Southeast

This year, the Southeastern Conference leads the way in terms of both power and depth. The SEC is one of two conferences to put six teams in our rankings - led by No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Texas A&M. The Gators and Aggies are joined in the rankings by SEC brethren South Carolina (No. 12), Tennessee (17), LSU (20), and Georgia (22).

Not to be outdone, the Big Ten Conference also has six representatives led by No. 3 Michigan. Joining the Wolverines in our rankings are Wisconsin (9), Ohio State (13), Illinois (15), Indiana (16), and Nebraska (24).

No other conference has more than three ranked recruiting classes.


Conference Call

While the SEC and Big Ten had the best showings in our recruiting class rankings, all six power conferences were well-represented. In fact, the Top 12 programs consisted of two programs each from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Ivy League, PAC-12, and SEC. In all, 22 of the 25 programs in our rankings hail from power conferences.

That leaves three spots for other programs from other conferences. Those are the Air Force Falcons (No. 19), Portland Pilots (21), and the Central Florida Knights (23) - who won a share of the NCAA Football Championship.


Service Winners

Scattershooting through the rankings …

  • Red Carpet Welcome: Three programs are making their first-ever appearances in our rankings. The Air Force Academy (No. 19), Louisiana State (20), and Nebraska (24) are all ranked for the first time in their programs’ histories.
  • Happy Returns: Three programs are returning to our recruiting class rankings after an absence of three or more years. South Carolina (14), Oklahoma (12) and Central Florida (23) are back for the first time since 2014, 2013, and 2012, respectively.
  • Keeping it Alive: The Stanford Cardinal have now had 12 straight ranked recruiting classes. They have appeared in our rankings every year since 2007 - including three classes that were ranked No. 1. The second-longest streak belongs to the University of Illinois with five straight ranked classes.
  • Banner Year: Ten programs have the highest-ever ranking in program history. In addition to the three first-year programs listed above, programs posting their highest rankings are Texas A&M (2), Princeton (4), Miami (5), Harvard (6), Oklahoma State (7), Wisconsin (9), and Oklahoma (12).
  • New Surroundings: Only two programs have recruiting classes consisting entirely of in-state students. UCLA (11) and the University of Georgia (22) have classes comprised solely of recruits from California and Georgia.
  • Change In May: These rankings are very preliminary. Indeed, there have been several big commitments since we locked the recruiting classes and started the voting in early January - and we expect more commitments over the coming weeks and months. TRN and YTEX Strings will conduct another poll in the late spring.

Panelists for January 2018

The 20 panelists for this voting period are shown below alphabetically. Please join us in thanking them for donating their time and talents to this effort.

  • 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.
  • Joey Dillon - TRN contributor, freelance writer
  • Tim Donovan - Donovan Tennis Strategies, DTS College Prospects Showcases
  • Sally Grabham - National Tournament Director, USTA National Sportsmanship 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 Hennessey - Director of Tennis at The Stirling Club, USPTA professional, National Tournament Director
  • Granger Huntress - Texas College Tennis blog
  • Ernie Katko - Junior Development Coach in Chicago, USTA High Performance Coach
  • 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 - TRN contributor, freelance writer
  • Tony Minnis - Former head coach, LSU women's tennis, host of College Sports Weekly on Fox College Sports
  • Parsa Nemati - Junior and college tennis expert
  • 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
  • Jeff Szekely - Former National Tournament Director, USTA Clay Courts
  • Clayton Taylor - Former ATP and Collegiate Coach. Former Director of U.S. International Hard Courts and National Opens
  • Julie Wrege - TRN principal, TennisInformation.com principal, former National Tournament Director, former USTA junior ranking chair and USTA Tennis Rules Committee member

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Colette Lewis has covered topflight junior events as a freelance journalist for over a decade. Read her weekly column, follow her on Twitter, and and find more of her daily commentary at ZooTennis.

Page updated on Monday, March 12, 2018
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