USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - The Bulls' new batch of commits is loaded with instant impact pitchers and local talent.
USF recently signed 10 players for next season in a class that's headlined by Jefferson High School right-hander Jimmy Herget and two-way star Walker Lockett from The Providence School in Jacksonville.
"We feel every one of those guys has a chance to be a very good college baseball player," head coach Lelo Prado said. "If they do that, they're going to have a chance one day to play pro baseball. Some of them are going to have that chance right out of high school, so hopefully we won't lose many of them and they show up here at campus.
The Bulls went heavy on right-handed pitching and didn't have to go too far to get most of the fresh arms. Herget, Dylan Drawdy (Riverview High School), Nathan Hahn (Alonso), Derek Martin (Tampa Catholic) all come from the Tampa area, while Tommy Peterson has been playing fairly close to campus at River Ridge High School in New Port Richey.
The only pitcher in this class from outside of Florida is Justin Patrick, who comes from Cumberland High School in Rhode Island.
Regardless of where they're from, Prado is excited that each pitcher has a similar potential with the Bulls.
"Every one of those, we feel is a very good arm that could come in and pitch as a freshman," he said.
USF will be losing a good group of seniors after this season, so getting guys that can contribute right away was vital.
"We feel good about the future on the mound," Prado said.
That future could include Lockett, who has the ability to pitch along with packing a punch at the plate. Also a first baseman, Lockett cranked out 18 homers as a junior.
"I don't care what league you're playing in, that's pretty good," Prado said. "He's got some big power. With him, it's just hoping he gets on this campus because he's going to get drafted."
Herget, who also can play first base, hit .383 last season and posted a 1.69 ERA.
"He's done great things at Jefferson and he's had a great summer," Prado said. "This is more of a polished class that can really step in right now and pitch."
The Bulls went to Tampa Jesuit High School to get two key pieces in the field - catcher Joey Altieri and outfielder Vincent Leto, whose had three family members attend USF.
"It's USF in his bloodlines," said Prado of Leto, who has a chance to be an everyday player with the Bulls because of his work ethic.
Playing under Prado will be somewhat of a family affair for Sarasota Riverview High School shortstop Luke Maglich, whose uncle, Dan, played for USF's head coach when he was with the University of Tampa.
"I think this guy has a chance to be a really, really good player. Great student and I think he's a guy that can come in as a freshman and play," said Prado of Maglich, who hit .333 last year.
Prado noted that most of his new recruits were eager enough to commit to USF early, which speaks volumes for a program that's steadily building.
"I think people want to be part of something special," he said. "They want to help this program win Big East championships."