“I’m thrilled to death” — Tennessee’s Dave Serrano on the draft

I just spoke to Dave Serrano about the draft. His thoughts follow.

His General Thoughts

“I’m excited about their guys that got their names called. With Nick, it’s pretty obvious what he’s going to do. Vincent and Andy being seniors, they’re obviously going to sign. I’m really proud of those guys. I’m really shocked with Jordan Rodgers name not being called. It’s good for the Vols, but disappointing for him. And Hunter Martin, I know a team was talking to him, but I’m happy for Vols he’s back. Kyle being taken in the 40th round, that’s kind of a token draft pick, but congratulations to him. Overall for our guys on our team, I’m happy for them. And I’m really happy that this recruiting class stayed in tact. We did a lot of work coaching staff and we got strong commitments from our recruits and their families. They had their dollar figures high because they were committed to going to school. I couldn’t be prouder of that group. We’re excited coaching staff, because they’re going to be a big part of our future success.

On Nick Senzel

It doesn’t shock me the way everything played out. IF you look at everything, he probably was the most sure of bet of all of the position players as a hitter. I’m thrilled for him. Go No. 2 in the country, you have that label on your name the rest of your life. I’m so proud of him and happy for him. He gets to start his pro career, and I don’t think it will be too far down the line that  he’s playing at Great American Ballpark. Hopefully not too long.It’s great for our program to have a guy not drafted out of high school come here and be the No. 2 overall pick.

On Andy Cox

I’m happy for him. Really happy for him. If I was a betting man, I would’ve said Vincent would’ve went before him, but he’s a left-hander who can throw up to 92 with a slider that is hard to hit. He has to get his command issues turned around, but he can be really valuable for an organization. The money figures are mostly the same for seniors if you’re not taken in those first 40 or 50 picks, but the opportunity is what’s important. He’ll be a priority, and I think that’s really cool. And he and Nick will be teammates probably for the first year, and we’ll see how they go up the ladder. He’s a great young man. He passed up the opportunity last year to get his degree. And he got another opportunity.

On Vincent Jackson

Vincent is one of those guys you don’t know how not cheer for. He’s a good kid from a good family and he’s turned into a man before our eyes. I flew out to the West Coast today, and when I landed I found out he was taken by the Cardinals, and I just texted him to tell him how proud I was to be his coach.

On Kyle Serrano as a “token” pick

When you get to the later rounds, there are only so many spots you have in the organization, so sometimes you take a player as a token out of respect even though you know he won’t sign. It’s very similar to when Kyle came out of high school when he was taken by the Rockies in the 29th round. They knew he wasn’t going to sign and he was going to college, but they took him out of respect. Next year, if the Brewers are around, we’re going to remember that they took care of him and they called his name out of respect for the athlete They know Kyle’s not going to sign in the 4th0th round. They pay their respects, but they know his price tag is too high for that round.

On the situation with signee Tre Carter, who did not qualify academically and was taken in the 11th round by the San Diego Padres

We knew when we signed him it was going to be some hard work on his part. We knew there was an opportunity for a casualty, but that he has great upside. We really never planned on him being here unless something extremely turned around. Now he has the opportunity to play professional baseball. He’s going to be a good one.

On the rest of the recruiting class

I’m telling you what thrilled to death with Zach LInginfelter, Garrett Stallings Andrew Schultz. Connor Darling, Duncan Pence. The great thing is they’ve ben communicating with us as a coaching staff through Twitter and text messages. They are as fired up as a group of young men can be to come to Tennessee and get this thing right. They stood strong and they stayed together because they think they can come together and make their situations better in three years when they are eligible again.