College football recruiting dominates headlines on a regular basis, but in the college softball world, the pool of elite talent around the country is growing faster than Fatburger in Texas. The Women’s College World Series is one of the most-watched tournaments the NCAA offers, but leading up the game’s crowning moment, it’s schools in the South and on the West Coast that typically dominate the sport.
According to FloSoftball’s 2020 recruiting rankings, 10 out of the 13 Southeastern Conference (SEC) softball teams rank among the top-17 classes. Defending WCWS champion UCLA checks in at No. 21 on the upcoming season’s rankings, and on top of that list, one of the most dangerous college softball teams in the country retooled once again.
In 2018, the Florida State Seminoles captured the university’s first WCWS title, sweeping Washington in the best-of-three series. Head coach Lonni Alameda enters her 11th season at the helm in Tallahassee, and man, the five-time ACC Coach of the Year’s softball program is booming.
Florida State’s won the ACC Championship for the sixth consecutive season in 2019. FSU also advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals for the seventh year in a row, but lost to Oklahoma State.
Expectations are sky-high heading into the 2019-20 season, and the ‘Noles added even more hype to this year when Alameda introduced the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class.
Let’s meet the newest batch of Seminoles ready to shine at Joanne Graf Field.
Floirda State Softball Recruiting
Jahni Kerr, Outfielder
The 2019 USA Today First-Team All-American is the top-ranked prospect of this class, coming in at No. 6 on FloSoftball’s national player rankings. Kerr led Wesleyan High School to back-to-back Georgia State Championships while batting .596, hitting seven home runs and driving in 23 runs last season.
Kalei Harding, Catcher
Described as a “middle-of-the-order” bat by FSU assistant coach Travis Wilson, the Murfreesboro, Tennessee native was a three-time All-District selection at Blackman High School. The 10th-ranked prospect in America also held offers from powerhouse softball schools Tennessee, Mississippi State, Alabama and Stanford.
Hallie Wacaser, Outfielder
As a sophomore, the pride of Bentonville High School was named Arkansas Gatorade Player of the Year when she clubbed 10 home runs, drove in 42 RBIs and batted .485 at the plate. On top of that, she maintained a 4.0 GPA and committed to the FSU program that same year. She was also a member of the USA 17-Under National Team.
Michaela Edenfield, Catcher/First Base
A participant in the 2019 USA Softball Junior Women’s National Team selection process, Edenfield led Sneads High School in Florida to its first-ever state championship game in 2019. During her high school career, the five-tool player batted .440 with 99 hits and 28 home runs. She was FloSoftball’s No. 34 prospect.
Autumn Belviy, Outfielder/First Base
The Most Valuable Player of Arlington High School’s softball team, Belviy heads for Tallahassee fresh off an All-State Selection in Tennessee. Wilson described the lefty as a “terror on the bases.” Belviy was the 47th overall prospect in America, rounding FSU’s nation-leading five signees among FloSoftball’s Top 100 players.
Jeya Prasad, Pitcher
Anytime you’re the three-time Pensacola News-Journal Pitcher of the Year, you have the skill to play anywhere in the country. In three seasons, the right-handed pitcher had a microscopic 0.86 ERA, won 38 games and logged 571 strikeouts. Plus, she took the West Florida Jaguars to the FHSAA State Quarterfinals in every season.
D’Aun Riggs, Outfielder
Following in the footsteps of older sister Jessica Gilmore, who played for Florida State University from 2007-09, Riggs brings elite speed to Tallahassee. She batted .507, legged out 12 triples, and stole 39 bags in three seasons at Choctawhatchee High School in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Expect Riggs to be a huge threat on the base paths.
Carson Saabye, Middle Infielder
Aside from the fact that Saabye was a .500-plus hitter at Palmer Ridge High School in Colorado, she was also the youngest person to land on the USA Shooting National Team, where she won a bronze medal at the 2015 National Championships. Not too shabby of a resume for the new FSU softball standout, huh?
“We are so proud of this recruiting class, not just because of the talent that they have on the field, but because of the people that they are off of it. This coaching staff, along with current and former players, have worked really hard to continue to build the culture of this program as well as its national reputation, and this is the next step in that process. To be recognized with a top-ranked recruiting class is such an honor, and these signees chose Florida State because they love the university.”
— FSU head coach Lonni Alameda, via news release
Florida State softball finishes its fall schedule with games against Florida and the USSSA Pride of National Pro Fastpitch (NPF).
When they open their regular season schedule in 2020, however, you can guarantee the Seminoles will be primed for a national title run behind Sydney Sherrill, Anna Shelnutt, Elizabeth Mason, and 2019 ACC All-Freshman pitcher Kathryn Sandercock.