TennisRecruiting.net announced today that the South Carolina men’s tennis signing class is rated No. 2 in the country.
Chosen by a panel of junior tennis experts from around the country, the rankings include all commitments reported through Jan. 4. The Gamecocks’ quartet earned seven first-place votes from the panel. It is head coach Josh Goffi’s second top-three class in the last four years. The 2014 signing class for the Gamecocks includes blue chip recruits Thomas Mayronne (Monroe, La.) and Harrison O’Keefe (Salem, Va.), five-star rated Wood Benton (Spartanburg, S.C./Dorman) and top-35 international junior Gabriel Friedrich (Pelotas, Brazil).
“These guys are very accomplished players,” Goffi said. “Every one of them has done amazing things on the national and international level, but they all need to work and to develop still. They’re coming into a great situation to do that. The environment and culture around our program are exactly where we need it to be, and every guy is going to be at a high level. So, our newest Gamecocks are going to get the most out of practice, and they’re going to develop faster here than at most places. They’re going to be young, bright-eyed freshmen, but they’re going to have an immediate impact on the team. They’re going to end up being the group that will solidify the culture at South Carolina.”
Mayronne is ranked 17th in the nation this week and is atop the Gulf States Region and Louisiana rankings. He has a 33-13 record, including a 10-8 mark against other Blue Chip recruits and a 10-2 mark against five-star rated players. He reached the final of the USTA National Open in May 2013, falling to current Gamecock Andrew Schafer, and reached the semifinals of three other events in the last year, including the 2012 USTA National Winter Championships.
O’Keefe is 22nd in the country and ranked the best player in the state of Virginia. His No. 3 rank in the Middle Atlantic Region is based on a 37-15 overall record, including a 13-5 slate against five-star recruits. O’Keefe played the last two seasons at Smith Stearns Tennis Academy in Hilton Head, S.C., after helping his high school team to the state title in 2011. He won two USTA titles in 2013, including the USTA Regional in Mobile, Ala., and reached at least the quarterfinals of four other events last year.
Benton has a 39-15 record that has him ranked No. 54 in the nation and No. 3 in the state of South Carolina. As a junior at Dorman, he was a perfect 21-0 in singles and 8-0 in doubles, winning the 4A singles title and helping his team to the 2013 state championship. Benton earned all-region and all-state honors and was named Boys’ Tennis Player of the Year by the Spartanburg Herald-Journal.
Ranked No. 33 in ITF Juniors, Friedrich built his ITF World ranking as high as No. 1,029 with solid results in singles and doubles. He won a pair of matches at the 2012 Junior French Championships at Roland Garros and reached the semifinals of an international tournament in Santa Croce, Italy. Friedrich reached the finals of ITF junior events in Bolivia, Uruguay, Ecuador and Brazil.
Goffi’s 2014 class trails just Stanford in the national rankings by 24 points.
Around the SEC, three other classes are among the top 10 with Kentucky coming in at No. 3, Alabama at No. 5 and Vanderbilt at No. 10.