"We are extremely excited about the eight young men that we have signed in this recruiting class," declared Smith. "We believe that we have addressed our needs to get more athletic and increase our team speed to help us in the 2012 season. Our program welcomes each of these young men and their families to UNC Asheville. Our staff will continue to evaluate our team and more than likely we will add a few players in the April signing period, as well."
The incoming class begins with outfielder Cody Adkins from North Davidson HS in Lexington, N.C. Adkins earned All-County and All-Conference honors as a junior as he hit .373. He played summer baseball for NorCal East in Pennsylvania where he hit lead-off and led the team to a top 24 national ranking.
"Cody came to our camp last winter, and we really liked the energy and passion he plays with," stated Smith. "He is a tough left-handed hitter with speed and great baseball instincts. Cody plays for one of the best high school programs in the state and has a chance to be an impact guy early in his career."
Hunter Bryant, a corner infielder from nearby Erwin HS, was a first team All-Conference player last year for the Warriors program. He earned second team All-Region honors as he hit .482 with seven home runs as a junior. Bryant is ranked as the 24th best prospect in North Carolina by Impact Baseball. He plays for former Bulldog pitcher Granville Gehris. Bryant's father, Pat, was an assistant coach for the men's basketball program from 1996-2001.
"Hunter has been on our radar for a couple years," declared Smith. "He is a physical athlete that can play multiple positions. Hunter has played with and against some of the best competition in the nation, and we look for him to make an immediate impact in our line-up."
Outfielder Kyle Byrd will join the Asheville program from Holly Springs HS in Holly Springs. He has been the school's lead-off hitter since the first game of his freshman year. In his sophomore year, he set a school record for stolen bases and triples and hit .487. Byrd was an All-Conference selection and Honorable Mention All-State as a junior.
"Kyle is a young man we saw early in the summer and really liked his athleticism," commented Smith. "He is a great athlete with some tools that should get him in our line-up early in his career. Kyle has played against some great competition throughout his career, and we look forward to getting him in our program."
Infielder Heath Causey will come to Asheville via Jordan Matthews HS. He was an All-County, All-Conference and All-Tournament performer as a sophomore and junior. Causey played in the State Games last summer and also plays basketball for Jordan-Matthews, earning All-Conference and All-District honors as a junior. He played for the Proehlific Power Summer team with current Bulldog Robbie McIntosh.
"We believe Heath is a player who can really fit into our system," explained Smith. "He has tremendous speed and strength plus a short swing. Heath is quite athletic and has a chance to be very good for us early in his career."
Forest City native Stephen Crowe is the one Junior College transfer entering the program. He played at Louisburg College and hit .333 with five home runs. He played in the outfield and behind the plate. Last summer, he played American League ball for Rutherford County Post 423 which advanced to the state tournament as he hit .360 with nine home runs. Crowe played prep baseball at R.S. Central HS.
"Stephen had a good year at Louisburg as a freshman and an outstanding summer for Post 423," declared Smith. "He is a physical left-handed hitter who should provide power to our line-up. Stephen plays multiple positions and runs quite well for his size. We look for him to add some experience to our line-up next year."
Maryland native Trent Shaw is an infielder who will come to UNC Asheville via John Carroll School in Abingdon. He was named to the All-County team as a shortstop and played summer ball for the Bel Air Braves. Shaw also lettered in volleyball and indoor track and field.
"Trent is a hard-nosed player who plays the game the right way," stated Smith. "He comes from a very good baseball program in Maryland, and we believe we added an excellent player from that area. Trent is athletic, and we really like his left-handed swing. He has tools and versatility to help us out early in his career."
Left-handed pitcher Adam Spracklin from Old Farms HS in Farmington, Conn. will begin his Bulldog career next fall. Spracklin enjoyed an excellent junior campaign last spring as he had 42 strikeouts in 35 innings of work and finished with a 2.00 ERA. He was the MVP of the football team and also competed for the Unionville American Legion team.
"Adam is a left-handed pitcher who we really like," commented Smith. "He possesses a mid-80's fastball with a feel for a change-up and breaking ball. Adam has nice arm action, and we look forward to getting him into our program. He has a chance to throw a lot of innings for us early in his career."
Asheville's final signee is infielder Kyle Weston from Spotswood HS in Harrisonburg, Va. He was a first team All-District and Honorable Mention All-Region as a sophomore and junior. Weston hit .487 and stole 13 bases for Spotswood last spring. He played for the West squad in the prestigious Commonwealth games. Weston was listed as a Top 15 player in the 2011 class by Virginia Preps and was mentioned as one of the top players to watch in the state of Virginia by Baseball Clearinghouse.
"Kyle is a strong, physical kid who will have a chance to help us in the middle infield as a freshman," said Smith. He has tremendous bat speed, and we really like his actions and arm in the infield. Kyle has lot of tools and will definitely play for us."