SS Aaron Draper (Plano, Texas/Plano West HS)
A middle infielder, pitcher and catcher, Draper has been part of the Plano West starting lineup since his freshman year when he started 20 games and helped take his team to the state semi finals. Draper also had a solid season in 2012, which culminated in his being named to the District 8-5A honorable mention squad.
“Aaron is a hard-nosed player that plays the game the right way,” Stover said. “He comes from a high school program and select program that expect to win, and we think that mentality is important for our future. Aaron will be a great asset for the next four years.”
Draper played for D-BAT Gowins this past summer and led his team in both hitting and on-base percentage while playing through tournaments hosted in Lubbock, Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta (Perfect Game 17 National Championship) and Joplin, Mo. (Premier Junior Championship).
Draper’s older brother, Evan, plays baseball for Oklahoma Christian.
C Kendall Kerns (Tyler, Texas/Brookhill HS)
Kerns is a hard-hitting backstop who has batted well over .500 each of the last two seasons and whose accolades include back-to-back first team all-state citations. He’s also helped lead Brookhill High School to consecutive state championships and was part of the Perfect Game 17U WWBA National Championship team.
"Kendall is a big-strong kid that has tons of potential,” Stover said. “He and Connor (Messman) will have to carry our pitching staff as freshman, and we believe that Kendall is mature enough to handle that task. We expect him to be a huge part of our program."
Kerns’ combined triple crown numbers from the past two years include seven home runs and 65 RBI. He hit .508 as a sophomore in addition to winning Defensive MVP honors, and batted an incredible .544 this past spring.
Kerns is a member of his school’s national honor society and plans to study business and finance while at ACU.
C Connor Messman (Tyler, Texas/Brophy Prep HS)
A three-year starter at Brophy College Preparatory, Messman helped lead his team to a No. 16 national ranking and spot in the DI state championship game after batting .276 with five home runs and 23 RBI. Messman also scored 18 runs and clubbed eight doubles as his school finished with a 23-10 record.
Messman hit .314 with 26 RBI and 13 doubles the year prior for a 23-10 Brophy team that reached the state 5A quarterfinals.
“Connor comes from one of the best high school programs in Arizona, where he is used to winning,” Stover said. “He is just one of those guys that gets it done and I expect that he and Kendall will give us strength behind the plate for the next few years. We really look forward to seeing him behind the plate at the Crutch.”
Messman also played two years of football at Brophy and plans to study business and finance while at ACU.
OF Taylor Waters (Mesa, Ariz./Basha HS)
Noted for his aggressive base running and range in the outfield, Waters is in his first year at Basha (Ariz.) High School after playing three previous seasons at Franklin High School in Elk Grove, Calif. While at Franklin, Waters was an all-city honorable mention centerfielder and helped lead his 2011 team to a Sac-Joaquin Division I Championship.
In the summer, Waters plays tournament baseball for the Arizona Dodgers under coach Rodney Davis.
“After seeing Taylor play this fall, we knew this is the type of player we want in our program,” Stover said. “He is someone who always gives maximum effort and runs extremely well, and that is exactly what we want in our players. He plays the game all out and we expect that to continue for four years. We are ready for him to roam our outfield.”
Waters made his school’s principal’s honor roll and plans to study business and management at ACU.
Information for this story provided by ACU Sports Information.