Signing Period Recap

Mission Viejo (Mission Viejo, Calif.) senior RHP Kieran Lovegrove is one of nine 2011 Area Code Games participants that signed with Arizona State. Scott Kurtz/ESPNHS

The early signing period concluded in mid-November and 175 participants from the 2011 Area Code Baseball Games ended up signing with D-I programs. Here’s breakdown of what schools signed the best classes and who ended up with most Area Code Games participants.

Longhorns and Sun Devils lead way with nine Area Code Games alums each

Arizona State has a whopping 22-member signing class. For a school with Arizona State’s tradition, conference and location, it’s not hard to see why many of the nation’s top players are headed to Tempe.

The Sun Devils kept right-handed pitchers Tony Blanford of Boulder Creek (Anthem, Ariz.), David Graybill of Brophy Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Eric Melbostad of Pinnacle (Phoenix, Ariz.) and infielder Mitch Nay of Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.) in state.

Outside of the desert, Arizona State signed RHP Paul Blackburn of Heritage (Brentwood, Calif.), C Clint Coulter of Union (Camas, Wash.), RHP Trey Kamachi of Kapolei (Kapolei, Hawaii), LHP Brett Lilek of Marian Catholic (Chicago Heights, Ill.) and RHP Kieran Lovegrove of Mission Viejo (Mission Viejo, Calif.).

Like Arizona State, Texas benefits from being in state loaded with talent. The Longhorns loaded up on top talent as nine of its 13 signees played in the Area Codes Games list past August.

Led by C.J. Hinojosa (who will enroll early and be a member of the Longhorn team this spring), Texas has a class that will look to continue the College World Series-reaching ways of the program.

Hinojosa, an infielder at Klein Collins (Spring, Texas), is joined by fellow Lone Star State products in RHP Dalton Brown of Ponder (Ponder, Texas), LHP Ty Culbreth of Bryan (Bryan, Texas), 1B Austin Dean of Klein Collins (Spring, Texas), RHP/INF Tyler Gonzales of Madison (San Antonio, Texas), OF Courtney Hawkins of Carroll (Corpus Christi, Texas), RHP Chad Hollingsworth of Robinson (Robinson, Texas), Wyatt Mathisen of Calallen (Corpus Christi, Texas) and Nick Williams of Ball (Galveston, Texas).

Eight of the nine Texas signees played on the Texas Rangers Area Code team — Gonzales was on the roster of the Washington Nationals.

While UCLA was edged out by Arizona State and Texas in landing the highest total of Area Code Games members, no class in the country had as high of a percentage of its class made up of Area Code alumni as did UCLA with eight in its nine-member class. And few other schools had as much success in their home base as every member hails from Southern California.

Pitcher Lucas Giolito of Harvard-Westlake (Studio City Calif.) headlines the UCLA early signing class and is considered by many to be the nation’s top player. The right-handed Giolito forms a potential dynamite one-two combo with Harvard-Westlake teammate Max Fried — a left-handed pitcher who’s also a top prospect. That the 2011 MLB Draft saw former Bruins Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer selected as first and third picks likely helped UCLA coach John Savage, who had no shortage of pitchers ready to sign.

Giolito and Fried are joined on the mound by right-handed pitchers Felipe Perez of Fairmont Prep (Anaheim, Calif.) and Cody Poteet of Christian (El Cajon, Calif.) as well as left-handed hurler Hunter Virant of Camarillo (Camarillo, Calif.).

Catcher Darrell Miller of Servite (Anaheim Calif.), third baseman Daniel Robertson of Upland (Upland, Calif.) and outfielder Ty Moore of Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) are the other Area Code participants who inked with the Bruins.

On Deck

Here are the schools that followed Arizona State, Texas and UCLA with the most Area Code participants.

Stanford, 7

Utah, 7

Cal State Fullerton, 6

USC, 6

Arkansas, 5

Mississippi, 5

Oregon State, 5

Vanderbilt, 4

Florida, 4