The halting of the 2020 college baseball season due to the coronavirus pandemic prompted the NCAA to make some temporary changes to eligibility, roster size and scholarship allocation for 2021. And the Arizona Wildcats appear to taking full advantage of those changes.
Arizona has reportedly added RHP Austin Smith and 1B/OF/LHP TJ Curd to the 2021 roster, which will be the program’s largest in recent memory with a one-year moratorium on the 35-player maximum. Teams are also allowed to spread their 11.7 total scholarships among 32 players for one year, up from 27, and don’t have to offer at least the equivalent of one-fourth of a scholarship for the 2020-21 academic year.
Kendall Rogers of D1Baseball.com was the first to report on the addition of Smith, a transfer from Division III Southwestern (Texas) who had been committed to play at Oklahoma. Smith went 12-4 with a 3.41 ERA and 179 strikeouts in 134.2 innings in three seasons at Southwestern, reportedly topping out at 98 mph on the radar gun.
Curd, a recent high school graduate from Port St. Lucie, Fla., had previously been committed to Florida but backed off that pledge in June. Michael Lev of the Arizona Daily Star was first to report on the Wildcats landing Curd, who is ranked as the No. 242 player in the 2020 recruiting class by PerfectGame.org.
Arizona already had the No. 8 recruiting class in the country, per Baseball America, and only saw one signee get taken in the 2020 MLB Draft. That was infielder Nick Yorke, who has signed with the Boston Red Sox after getting picked 17th overall.
Awesome day for the Cats today...— Jay Johnson (@UACoachJ) July 14, 2020