Nebraska Class of 2018 baseball recruits update

Mike Matya

Nebraska Legend
May 29, 2001
Bellevue, Nebraska [formerly Omaha]
Nebraska Class of 2018 baseball recruits update

Last TT we covered the incoming baseball freshmen and today we give the 411 on the committed seniors-to-be in the Class of 2018.

The Husker roster is in need of an upgrade of talent, especially from in-state players, and the NU coaches were able to lock up four of the top in-state recruits for the Class of 2018.

They look to have landed a few potential difference-makers. Several of the future Huskers put up eye-popping numbers on the mound and at the plate as high school juniors. Three of the committed pitchers threw no-hitters this spring.

And it is anecdotal, but most of the NU commits had scholarship offers from other top baseball schools in addition to Nebraska.

RHP Alex Benavides; Gilroy, California

Current size: 6-4, 185
Status: Committed and will sign LOI with NU in November.
Other offers: Utah, UC-Santa Barbara and Seattle. He was receiving major interest from Arizona, Duke, Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton.

Spring season: "I sit about 86-87, but can get up to 89-90. My best pitch is my slider. Our team didn't have our best season going 10-15."
Honors: He was second-team all-league and his team MVP.
Summer team: Dub Baseball

Coach Billy Holler's comments: "Our team had a tough year, but Alex did a really good job this year. He's got some tools, so he's a good ballplayer. He pitched really well. He had a few walks, but he's gotten better each year. He's got three really good pitches and he's got one of the best pick-off moves I've ever seen in my entire life. Consistently, he's probably hitting about 87. His slider is his out pitch. It's almost like a curveball-slider. With us, we have different leagues. We have a lower league and an upper league, so we are back in the upper league which is incredibly competitive with the Catholic schools."

RHP Bo Blessie; Midland (Texas) Lee

Current size: 6-3 & 1/2, 160
Status: Committed and will sign LOI with NU in November.
Other offers: Oklahoma, New Mexico and New Mexico State. He was also hearing from Vanderbilt and Clemson before he committed to Nebraska.

Spring season: "I didn't play as much as I wanted to just because being a lanky guy I was throwing too hard for such a thin body. So I had to work on getting a lot stronger, especially in my back, so I can be ready for my summer season. I probably only threw like seven innings. Putting on weight is not so easy for me, but lately I've been hitting the weight room extremely hard more than once a day and I've been putting on a couple pounds."
Honors: None
Summer team: Florida Travel Ball

Coach Brian Roper's comments: "Well, he really did not pitch anything much for us. He had some physical problems with his hip and his back, and he's got a really bright future so we wanted to make sure we were careful in bringing him along. So around March, we started going with bullpen sessions with him until at the end of the season he started to get some game action. I think he threw 41 pitches in a playoff game and that was about it. But it was what needed to be done for his future. I know he threw last week in Florida and was really good. His potential upside, as far as physical ability, is off the charts. He's a terrific athlete with a great, live fastball. His changeup has got a lot of good movement on it and he's still working on his consistency with his curveball. It has really late life and sink on it. He's going to be a good one. We wanted to be careful with him because next year he's going to be our horse."

UTL Cameron Chick; Columbia (Mo.) Hickman

Current size: 5-9, 175
Status: Committed and will sign LOI with NU in November.
Other offers: Arkansas, Missouri, Missouri State, Kansas State and Air Force

Spring season: "As a team, we were able to finish in the top five. We got beat in our district championship game. Me personally, I believe I had six or seven doubles, and then four triples, three home runs and I hit around .280-.290. I started at second base."
Honors: None
Summer team: Prodigy Baseball

Coach Mason Mershon's comments: "Cameron hit in the five-hole for us pretty much all year-long. I would say, overall, his stats didn't reflect the type of player that he's capable of being. He was second overall on the team with three home runs, so I think he had a pretty good year. He popped up a little more than usual, but he had a lot of hard hit balls right at people. He had a lot of times where he took the pitcher deep, but it just hung up in the air too long. He was getting on base at almost .400 and we saw a lot of team's best pitchers. Defensively, he played a solid second base and made a lot of good plays, and a lot of plays where I didn't think he was going to get there but he ended up making the plays and throwing the batter out. He's a switch hitter and hit primarily from the left-hand side."

SS Drew Gilin; Omaha (Neb.) Millard South

Current size: 6-1, 180
Status: Committed and will sign LOI with NU in November.
Other offers: He was also hearing from Iowa, Kansas State, Southern Illinois and Campbell before committing to Nebraska.

Spring season: He batted .300 with five doubles, four triples, seven doubles and one home run while adding 30 RBI and 14 stolen bases on 15 attempts. He led the state in RBI. He had a 2-0 record with three saves as a pitcher.
"I had a pretty good year and we finished third in state."
Honors: First-team Super State in the LJS and first-team All-Nebraska in the OWH.
Summer team: The 52's Patriots [sponsored by former Husker Brian Duensing and his wife]

Coach Greg Geary's comments: "Drew started off with a tough first three weeks or so when he struggled a bit, but he really picked it up and ended up having a great year for us. He's just that guy who is an extension of us on the field as coaches. He's our shortstop who keeps everyone in line on the field and just does a great job of leading for us. He's an ultra-competitive young man."

RHP/UTL Colby Gomes; Omaha (Neb.) Millard West

Current size: 6-5, 195
Status: Committed and will sign LOI with NU in November.
Other offers: Oregon and Ole Miss

Spring season: He had a 5-1 record and one save with an ERA of 1.56. He struck out 42 and walked 12 in 31 & 1/3 innings, while allowing only 15 hits and a .136 opponents’ batting average.
"I think it was good, but it could've been better. I led the team in home runs [4] and triples [3]."
Honors: First-team Super State in the LJS and first-team All-Nebraska in the OWH. He's been hearing from the Marlins, Kansas City Royals and the Philadelphia Phillies.
Summer team: Roof Tech Wildcats and a couple tournaments with the Dirtbags out of North Carolina.

Coach Steve Frey's comments: "Well, you know, Colby had a great spring. He had over a strikeout per inning, so when he goes out there we're expecting to win. He's our No. 1 starter and he played shortstop for us. He hit in the four or five-hole and was an overall difference-maker on the field. The thing he does is he is a lower 90s pitcher with a nice slider. At 6-4, he's got those loose mechanics that all of a sudden at the plate the ball is on you. He runs well for a 6-4 or 6-5 player. He fields well and has a strong arm. He can pitch and play in the field at a high level. He just knows how to play the game of baseball and is very aggressive. He's always a high energy type of guy and fun to watch."

Brett Hammit; Nixa, Missouri

Current size: 6-2, 195
Status: Committed and will sign LOI with NU in November.
Other offers: Arkansas, TCU, Kentucky, Northwestern, Missouri State, Wichita State and Duke

SS Spring season: "I think it went really well and I showed a lot of improvement. I hit .450 with four home runs and a lot of extra base hits. I think I probably had 25 RBI. I only had probably 52 [official] at bats because I had a good, solid 22 walks. I'm just doing my best to play as a freshman at Nebraska."
Honors: Unanimous first-team all-conference [all-district and all-state teams haven't been released yet]
Summer team: Midwest Nationals

Coach Howard Greenwood's comments: "He did pretty good. He missed six games with an injury, but it was more of a precautionary type thing. It really wasn't too serious. So he had a real good year, actually. He had a .451 batting average with four home runs and 13 stolen bases. He played pretty solidly defensively as well and he batted in the three-spot for most of the year. I thought he did really well. He was our shortstop and he's got good range right or left. He has a left side of the infield arm, in my opinion. He has pretty good hands and pretty good feet. He does a real good job on the slow roller coming in throwing off balance. I think he'll end up playing shortstop or third because of his arm and he has the range of a middle infielder."

LHP Tyler Martin; Webb City, Missouri

Current size: 6-2 & 1/2, 190
Status: Committed and will sign LOI with NU in November.
Other offers: Missouri, Missouri State and Wichita State

Spring season: "I had a 1.90 ERA. I was 4-3 on the season. I think it went pretty well for me. I was working on getting all three pitches in the zone and just being able to command the fastball to get hitters out. My fastball is up to 89. I'm hearing from the Royals, the Red Sox, the Pirates and the Padres."
Honors: Second-team all-conference
Summer team: Midwest Nationals

Coach Gary Highfill's comments: "I think he had a good spring and he came out and threw exactly the way we thought he would. Defensively, we didn't do as good a job as I hoped we would, but as far as his stats, he had just above a 1.00 ERA and did everything we asked him to do. His velo right now is mid to upper 80s and when he throws that thing, there's nothing that comes at you straight. For hitters, it's tough because it's always running away from them all the time and his breaking ball was getting better as the season went along. I feel like his strength is just how much run he has on his fastball."

LHP Kyle Perry; Omaha (Neb.) Millard South

Current size: 6-foot, 175
Status: Committed and will sign LOI with NU in November.
Other offers: None since he committed to Nebraska so early.

Spring season: He had a 10-0 record with an impressive 0.47 ERA while striking out 90 with only 20 walks. Opponents only hit .149 against him and he had two wins in the Class A state championship tournament. He threw a no-hitter in the first round of the state.
"Personally, it couldn't have gone better. It was a pretty phenomenal season. It was a pretty cool season to make it back in the state tournament. So I was very satisfied with how I did. I did hear rumors that I was touching 90 a couple times at state, but I'm usually mid to upper 80s."
Honors: First-team Super State in the LJS and first-team All-Nebraska in the OWH. Honorary captain of the OWH All-Nebraska team. He was nominated for Gatorade Player of the Year in Nebraska.
Summer team: The 52's Patriots [sponsored by former Husker Brian Duensing and his wife] and he's going to try to squeeze in some games with the Nebraska Prospects as well.

Coach Greg Geary's comments: "Kyle had an unbelievable season on the hill for us. He was an absolute bulldog on the mound. He was, obviously, a huge reason that we got as far as we did and why we had the success that we did as a team. Every time he went out, he got us a W. When your pitcher is going out there and throwing up zero after zero, it makes it a lot easier on your team."

SS/RHP Spencer Schwellenbach; Saginaw (Mich.) Heritage

Current size: 6-1, 185
Status: Committed and will sign LOI with NU in November.
Other offers: Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, San Diego and Liberty

Spring season: "I'm hitting well above .400 and pitching I'm 5-3 with a 0.72 ERA, and I think I have three saves. I've hit 93 with my fastball. Nebraska said I could also be a closer for them and I would like that. I have pretty good range at shortstop and I get to balls that other people probably wouldn't."
Honors: First-team All-Saginaw Valley for the second year in a row.
Summer team: Motor City Hit Dogs

Coach Robert Andrezejewski's comments: "Overall, he has had a very good spring. He's pretty much what we were all hoping for and anticipated that he would be. Offensively, he was doing very well and pitching he was doing very well. He just played very, very good baseball. He has one home run, one triple and 14 doubles and 26 RBI. He's also walked 24 times and his on base average is .569. He's also scored 41 runs. Pitching is kind of deceiving a little bit because he has pitched against some really good teams. He has thrown 58 innings at this point, given up 27 hits, six earned runs, only seven walks while striking out 87. He is 5-3 and also has three saves. In his three losses, we only scored three runs, so that's why I say it's kind of deceiving. He has two one-hitters, one two-hitter, and one no-hitter. He has very good command of his pitches. He has a couple of off-speed pitches that he mixes in very well. He knows how to pitch. He's a pitcher, not a thrower."

UTL Shay Schanaman; Hastings (Neb.) Grand Island

Current size: 6-foot, 185
Status: Committed and will sign LOI with NU in November.
Other offers: Missouri State, Purdue, Kansas and Arkansas State

Spring season: He batted .396 with eight doubles, four triples, two home runs and 20 RBI with seven stolen bases. He was 3-2 as a pitcher with a 2.15 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 39 innings.
"We underachieved as a team. We had some good potential and I thought we could do a lot better, but it didn't work out the way we wanted it to. Right now, I'm sitting 88-90. I'm looking forward to next year for sure and what is next."
Honors: First-team Super State in the LJS and first-team All-Nebraska in the OWH. Heartland athletic conference first-team
Summer team: Home Federal and will be attending several camps and showcases

Coach Joe Wells’ comments: "He had a great spring. He hit .396, scored 26 runs and was 4-2 on the mound. It was the type of spring we expected him to have. We were really happy with how he performed and are glad to have him back for his senior year. Shay is one of those kids who is first to the field and the last one to leave. He is as hard of a worker as you can get and, though he is not a rah-ray type of leader, he is an extremely hard worker; and anytime your best player is your hardest worker it goes miles in terms of leadership. He leads by example in that manner. The kids see how talented he is and how much God-given ability he has, and there isn't a day that goes by when he doesn't work hard to improve some aspect of his game. Before he [committed to] Nebraska he was getting an incredible amount of attention from all over the United States."

LHP/CF Evan Shawver; Amherst (Ohio) Steele

Current size: 6-1, 175
Status: Committed and will sign LOI with NU in November.
Other offers: He was hearing from Ohio State, Miami (Fla.) and Kent State before committing to Nebraska.

Spring season: He pitched 55 innings with an ERA of 0.38 and a school record 92 strikeouts on the season. He only walked 15 batters. He has already broken the school career strikeout record with 194 and he has another season to play as a senior. Opponents only batted .107 off of him and he threw a no-hitter in the district semifinal game in which he struck out 13 batters.
"I thought it went pretty good. My pitching season went really well, but I didn't get a lot of run support. I think my team gave me eight runs in seven games, so it was kind of a struggle. But that's what happens when you play better teams. In the outfield, I think I did really well and I didn't make any errors. I had 92 strikeouts this year which was the school record and I think I have 194 total from my freshman, sophomore and junior years. That is also a school record."
Honors: First-team Southern Western Conference, first-team All-Lorain County, first-team Northeast Ohio, and second-team All-Ohio.
Summer team: Lake Erie Warhawks

Coach Matt Rostaino's comments: "He was really good. He was a two-way player. So when he didn't pitch, he played center field and was our leadoff hitter. As a pitcher, and I'm going to say this without reservation, he might be the best high school pitcher I have ever seen and I have been doing this for about 13 years. He's phenomenal. I mean, he's a lefty and this year he was about 90-91 consistently with his fastball. He's also very athletic and plays a fantastic center field. He runs a 6.60 sixty. I think Nebraska is hoping to get him on campus as a two-way player and then figure out what to do with him once he gets there. From the leadoff spot, he hit .292 with an on base percentage of .437. He had eight doubles, a triple, two home runs and 19 RBI to go along with 10 stolen bases."