The Tennessee Volunteers may have found Evan Russell’s replacement behind the plate.
Former Austin Peay catcher Jack Alexander, who spent his first two seasons at Notre Dame, announced that he transferring to UT on Friday. He has one year of eligibility remaining.
Alexander led the Governors in hits (72), home runs (14), RBIs (55), total bases (135), and slugging percentage (.649) in 2021, and he ranked third on the team in batting average (.346) and on-base percentage (.425), and fourth in runs scored (37). He also caught 23 runners stealing.
The 6-foot grad transfer gives the Vols some experience and stability at catcher after losing senior Evan Russell to graduation. Tennessee also has Jared Dickey and Charlie Taylor, who have both played catcher but can be useful in other areas of UT’s lineup.
Alexander is the second player Tennessee has added via the transfer portal following former Kansas shortstop Maui Ahuna, who committed on June 10. The rising junior was named to the All-Big 12 first team in 2021 and was an All-Big 12 honorable mention as a freshman.
Ahuna led Kansas in batting average (.396), hits (80), doubles (16), triples (4), total bases (128), slugging percentage (.634), and on-base percentage (.479) while ranking second in RBIs (48) and runs scored (42) and third in home runs (8).
Across the state, the Vanderbilt baseball team continues to have a turbulent offseason.
This time the bad news comes in the form of former Ezell-Harding and Ravenwood pitcher Joe King — the No. 6-ranked pitcher in Vanderbilt’s 2022 class — announcing his pursuit of other options on Thursday.
“First, I’d like to thank Vanderbilt Baseball program for their commitment to me during the initial recruiting process,” King tweeted. “Due to the current climate of college baseball, I am excited to announce the reopening of my recruiting process for the 2022 College Baseball season!”
Eight other members of Vanderbilt’s 2022 recruiting class may not make it to campus if they hear their names called in the upcoming MLB Draft on July 17. Andrew Dutkanych, VU’s No. 4-ranked pitching recruit — won’t be one of them after announcing he’d withdrawn from the draft to attend Vanderbilt.
The Commodores have also been hit hard via the transfer portal, losing 16 players to date including pitcher Christian Little and shortstop Carter Young, who both have committed to LSU, plus pitchers Brett Hansen, Donye Evans, Miles Garrett, Nelson Berkwich, Greysen Carter, Kyle Magrans, Miles Langhorne, and Gage Bradley; outfielders Christian Smith, Kenny Mallory, and Isaiah Thomas; first baseman Gavin Casas; catcher Sam Hunt, and infielder Anthony Migliaccio.
The deadline for NCAA baseball players to enter the transfer portal and be eligible to play immediately is July 1.
Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_