Ja'Veon Marlow, an 85 and 5.5 3 star running back out of Winter Haven, Florida, is our 14th commitment to this 2018 class. Ja'Veon dropped his anchor yesterday.
Ja'Veon is a 5'10", 200 pound Florida product who ran for 900 yards and 11 TDs last year. His tape is excellent. Saw 6 or 7 house calls. Tough, physical, breakaway speed, great cutter, and catches the ball very well out of the backfield. I saw him grab a 30 yard TD pass. Ja'Veon is the real deal.
He chose us over offers from Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, Arizona, UNC, Pittsburgh and several other schools. He was highly regarded by many staffs throughout the country. While his ratings are solid on 247 sports and Rivals, I see him going up in the rankings this fall with more carries and more success. I like Ja'Veon very close to a 4 star by the middle, latter half of the fall. He's outstanding.
We are 26th in the team rankings on Rivals, and 28th by 247. We are fifth in the SEC by both services. Tennessee is at 3, LSU is 5, A&M is 12th, Kentucky is 16th and we're at 28th on 247. 26th by Rivals, with LSU at 3, Tennessee at 4, though Butch still has to coach'em and that's where we have the advantage, A&M is 15, and Kentucky is 16. So both services like our class.
We now have in this 2018 class a running back, a quarterback, a wide receiver, an athlete who can play a slot running back/wide out role, 2 tight ends, 2 offensive linemen, a linebacker, 4 defensive backs and a kicker. It's a good mix of talent at a variety of positions. I'd like to see us get two defensive linemen even 3, a tackle or 2, and maybe 2 d ends, depending on who's out there. Another linebacker wouldn't hurt either. I know D Mase wants to add another db and there are good candidates out there. So it's really exciting right now with recruiting and Media Days is here. Will have D Mase's comments along with inside linebacker Oren Burks, running back Ralph Webb, and quarterback Kyle Shurmur thoughts as well, coming up either tomorrow or Wednesday. Really getting excited for the 2017 season. We've got a good team. We're going to do well.
David Price, Pedro Alvarez, Tony Kemp
David Price pitched very well yesterday though his bullpen couldn't hold a 3-2 lead and the Boston Red Sox lost to the Tampa Bay Rays 5-3 yesterday at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL.
David went 6 innings, gave up 5 hits, 2 runs with 2 walks and 5 ring ups. He threw 106 pitches with 72 for strikes against 34 balls, over a 2:1 strike to ball ratio, which is solid. He gets to where he throws a lot of pitches in an inning and gets his pitch count up. Would like to see him extend his innings to 7 or more per game, but I still think he's getting comfortable from his injury. His elbow has heeled, but he's just getting into his rhythm on the mound. I see David having a strong 2nd half and he's on a good team that leads the American League East at 50-39, though tenuously, with a 3.5 game lead over the Yankees and the Rays. So while they have a lead, David and company are going to have to pitch well in the second half for the Sox to excel. Excited to see that transpire though. Should be an excellent second half of major league baseball. David was hitting 94-96 with his heat, he threw some very good cutters, 88-90 MPH, and had a good change up working at 85-87 MPH. His curve ball is coming along. It'll keep developing where he'll be confident to use it in the second half. David is 4-2 with a 3.91 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP, walks plus hits per inning. His ERA has really improved over the past 3 weeks. It was over 5 maybe a month ago, so he's been pitching well recently. A 1.26 WHIP is decent. I know he'd like to get it down to 1.10 even 1.00, where he's usually at. I see that coming in the second half. Clayton Kershaw has a 0.88 WHIP which is spectacular. The Los Angeles Dodgers ace is having not only a Cy Young season, but an MVP season as well. He's 14-2 with a 2.18 ERA. In 132 innings, he's walked 22 and struck out 159. That's spectacular. He pitched a complete game victory yesterday and walked none while striking out 13. He's the best in the business. But David is pretty darn good too.
Pedro Alvarez had 2 hits yesterday, 2 singles, and drove in what turned out to be the winning run in the 7th inning for the Norfolk Tides as they defeated the Columbus (Ohio) Clippers 3-2. Pedro came up with 2 outs in the top of the 7th at Columbus, with runners on first and 2nd. He stroked a single hard through the left side. Pedro has a flair for the dramatic. He's got 17 homers and 56 RBIs, good for 5th in homers and tied for 3rd in Ribeyes in the International League. The Baltimore Orioles have got to be noticing Pedro's hitting They need him up there. They're struggling and need a spark. Pedro can carry a team with his bat when he's hot and right now he is. I wish they'd get him up there.
Also, Tony Kemp is hitting .332 for the Fresno Grizzlies, the Houston Astros triple A team in the Pacific Coast League. Tony just keeps putting up the numbers. I wish the 'Stros would give him a shot. I know they have a super team with the second best record in baseball behind the Dodgers (61-29) at 60-29. Jose Altuve is one of the best players in the big leagues at 2nd, but Tony can play left field, center or right. He's a tremendous athlete, so the Astros, as loaded as they are, can still use him. If not, I wish he could get a trade to a contender that'll play him. He really has earned the right to be a major league starter in my opinion, as has Pedro. They're too good to keep in the minors.
Will be back with D Mase, Ralph, Oren and Kyle unplugged tomorrow or Wednesday AM. Great stuff going on in recruiting and 2017 looks riveting for our football team.