The number of commitments David Pierce has landed in the past four months now equals the amount of wins the Texas Longhorns baseball team notched in 2016 — 25.
After officially signing 10 players this week, Pierce then received the pledges of three more. A pair of right-handed arms — JUCO pitcher Tristan Stevens and 2019 prospect Jared Southard, made the decision to play for the ‘Horns, along with another prospect yet to be named at the time of this article’s publishing.
In my November 9th article on the Texas 2018 class, I surmised that Pierce would gain an additional commit or two even after signing day. This hypothesis proved to be correct, as Tristan Stevens announced he would be a ‘Horn just four days after signing day.
Stevens is the seventh right-handed pitcher out of the 11 signees for the class of 2018, proving that Pierce and his staff clearly desire to have multiple projects to work with on the mound.
Like many of Pierce’s recruits, the Kickapoo high school grad already has a developed frame at 6’2, 200 pounds. The current college freshman committed to Central Missouri, but then opted to attend Maple Woods junior college instead.
Though he wasn’t heavily recruited, Stevens has been regarded as a late bloomer. In 2014, the righty’s fastball was only in the 70s, but he now has been clocked at 90 miles per hour. He also throws a late-breaking curve, and mixes it up with a strong slider and change-up.
The Springfield, Missouri native is a huge Texas fan, and expressed this with perhaps more gumption than any other recruit in the class.
“Texas has been my dream school since I was a little kid even though I lived in Missouri. I didn't think it was possible for them to recruit me up in Missouri, but they did, and I couldn't be more proud to say that I am a Longhorn," Stevens said.
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Fellow commit Jared Southard continues the trend of Pierce hoarding large framed right-handed pitchers. In fact, Southard measures the same size as Stevens — 6’2, 200 pounds. Southard has only just turned 16 years old, so he may very well continue to grow before he heads to the 40 Acres.
The Leander native ranks as the 135th player overall in the class of 2019, and the 15th-best player in the state of Texas. He’s also the third-ranked right-handed pitcher in Texas for his class.
He was named 2016 Honorable Mention Underclass All-American, and for good reason. The Rouse High School sophomore already has an 88 mile-per-hour fastball, in the 99th percentile for his class.
The 2019 prospect pitches for the Houston Banditos, an AAU team of which current Longhorn star Kody Clemens is an alumni. Southard receives pitches in addition to throwing them, as he also suits up at the catcher position for the team. With his size and strength, Southard may have enough pop in his bat to be a two-way player for the ‘Horns.