Nov. 18, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama head golf coach Jay Seawell has landed one of the top recruiting classes in the nation for the 2010-11 season, signing three players to national letters of intent, including two of the top prospects entering college golf next year.
Headlining the class is Cory Whitsett from Houston, Texas, and Alabama native Bobby Wyatt of Mobile, two of the most highly regarded players in the 2010 class.
Whitsett announced his presence on the junior golf scene by winning the prestigious U.S. Junior Amateur at age 15, one of only five players in the history of the event to win at that age. In the summer of 2008, the left-hander won two national events in the course of two weeks, first taking the title at the Western Junior, followed by the Rolex Tournament of Champions.
"We're excited to have (Whitsett)," Seawell said. "This was a coup, I would say. He's one of the top players in the country, one of the top recruits. He could have gone anywhere he wanted to, and for him to choose Alabama makes me excited that he believed that we were going to give him the best chance to get better, to get a good education and to win championships."
Whitsett would be one of the top rated junior players in the class of 2010 by the Golfweek/Sagarin junior index, but he has not competed in enough tournaments this year to qualify due to injury. Regardless, the high-school senior is excited about joining an Alabama program on the rise.
"The main thing that got me was coach Seawell," Whitsett said. "He's done so well everywhere he's been. To be successful, you really have to do two things: you have to get talent, and you have to make that talent improve, and he's done both of those things."
Bobby Wyatt will also come to the Capstone with an impressive junior resume in hand. The Mobile native is currently rated No. 2 in the Golfweek/Sagarin junior index for the class of 2010 and No. 1 in the Polo Golf Rankings for his class.
"Bobby is an in-state guy and another great get for us," Seawell said. "I've watched him play since he was 13 years old. Being from Mobile, we've had a lot more chances to watch him play, and he's just a winner. I expect him and Cory to come right in and be immediate contributors."
Wyatt won the Junior Players Championship at Sawgrass this year and won medalist honors in nine of the 11 events he played during the 2009 high school season. He has won the Alabama state individual championship three times (2006, 2008, 2009) with the first coming when he was a 13-year-old eighth-grader, and he helped his team at UMS-Wright Preparatory win the state title in 2008 and 2009.
Wyatt was recruited heavily by Auburn, Georgia, Mississippi and Vanderbilt but chose to spend his college career at the Capstone.
"I've grown up an Alabama fan, but first and foremost coach Seawell and coach Limbaugh made me want to come here," Wyatt said. "Looking at what they've done with the Alabama program since coach Seawell got there, they've really changed the direction of the program. I know a couple of guys on the team, and I really enjoy hanging out with them so it's just a place that I thought I could succeed and get better, and I'm excited about it."
Trey Mullinax III from Birmingham rounds out the Tide's recruiting class. Mullinax played his high school golf at Gardendale and helped his team win three straight Jefferson County 5A championships from 2006-2008.
"Trey's got a great game," Seawell said. "I think he has tremendous upside. I think he's one of those late bloomers, a player that got into golf late, didn't play all his life. He drives it great, long and straight, and as soon as he gets his feet more on the ground and gets more adapted to playing at a higher level, I think he's going to be a huge contributor."
Mullinax won the 2008 Walker County Classic and has finished in the top 10 in five Southeastern Junior Golf Tour events that he has played since the beginning of 2008. He also qualified for and competed in the prestigious United States Junior Amateur held in Shoals Creek, Ala. in 2008.
"It's been a dream of mine and my dad's since I was little to play Alabama golf," Mullinax said. "I've dreamt about going and playing for Alabama golf, and we worked and worked, and we've finally gotten it done. Now that I'm going to be there, I've got a lot more goals to get accomplished."
The three recruits will join a young Crimson Tide team that features four sophomores and two redshirt-freshmen this year, including sophomores Bud Cauley and Hunter Hamrick who were recognized as all-Americans after their first seasons at UA. Alabama finished the 2009 fall campaign ranked No. 12 in the Golfweek/Sagarin index.