Texas baseball coach David Pierce speaks during a press conference on June 30, 2016. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Texas notebook: Baseball signs pitchers, while a third Johnson joins UT’s fold

Posted November 10th, 2016

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Wednesday was early signing day, and Texas injected an influx of talent into its athletic programs.

A few future Longhorns won’t be making a big move. Texas signed local players in golf (Lake Travis’ Kaitlyn Papp), track (New Braunfels Canyon’s Sam Worley), softball (Georgetown’s Taylor Ellsworth) and baseball (Cedar Park’s Cole Quintanilla).

“Ever since I was a kid, just playing for UT was my biggest dream,” Quintanilla said. “I’m thankful that dream is about to come true.”

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Quintanilla, a 6-4 right-hander, is coming off an all-district junior season in which he went 7-1 with a 0.54 ERA. Equipped with a change-up, curveball and 96-mph fastball, he struck out 100 and walked only 12 in 53 2/3 innings. He originally pledged to Missouri when Cedar Park’s 2016 season ended in the bi-district round of the Class 5A playoffs, but the Tigers hired a new coach the same week that Texas tabbed David Pierce to replace Augie Garrido.

Quintanilla, sensing a connection with Texas’ new staff but not with Missouri’s, flipped his commitment in July.

Piere, whose six-year contract worth $4.5 million was finalized on Thursday, signed his first UT recruiting class on Wednesday. Of the 10 players signed, seven are pitchers. That includes signees who hail from Canada and Italy. Quintanilla said the new kids will expect to contribute come 2018.

“We’re going in trying to be the No. 1 starter,” he said. “Just being No. 1 on the staff, we’re all going in with that motivation and try to do our best.”

A third Johnson for UT: One of Texas’ four track and field signees was California javelin thrower Camille Johnson, the younger sister of Longhorns football players Collin and Kirk Johnson. Their father, Johnnie, was an All-American defensive back at UT.

On Monday, Collin Johnson said his father had endorsed Camille as the family’s best athlete. But did Collin, who caught two touchdowns in last week’s win over Texas Tech, agree?

“I would never say someone’s a better athlete than me,” Johnson said, “but she is one heck of an athlete, I’ll tell you that.”

Elena Bruckner, who was Johnson’s high school teammate at Valley Christian High, also is a freshman on Texas’ track team.

Loading up: The volleyball team improved to 19-3 with a sweep of Baylor on Wednesday. The Longhorns are ranked fifth in the AVCA’s national poll. And the rich got richer this week.

Texas has yet to officially reveal its 2016-17 recruiting class. The Longhorns, though, did announce the signing of Boling middle blocker Brionne Butler on Wednesday and the addition of Illinois-raised setter Ashley Shook on Thursday. And according to her Twitter account, California outside hitter Lexi Sun also has signed with the Longhorns.

Sun, Butler and Shook are listed first, second and sixth overall in PrepVolleyball.com’s annual ranking of the country’s top seniors.

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