Top Alabama prep players selected
Alabama’s Division I men’s golf programs recently announced their fall signing classes. Here’s a roundup of the players who signed letters-of-intent as announced by their respective schools.
Men’s coach Nick Clinard signed three players – Josiah Gilbert, Jackson Koivun and Cayden Pope.
“I would like to thank Coach (Chris) Williams for his relentless effort in recruiting what is arguably the best class in the nation,” Clinard said. “This is a group of outstanding young men with exceptional skill. They will, without a doubt, compete at an elite level.”
Gilbert is from Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. His father Jeremy is the director of instruction at the RTJ Golf Trail at Capitol Hill in Prattville. “Josiah is an ultra-talented guy that has won a lot of golf tournaments already in his young career,” Clinard said. “We were really impressed very early on, and we knew that we wanted him to be an Auburn Tiger.”
Koivon is from San Jose, California, and is the top-ranked junior player in the AJGA rankings. He had offers from Duke, Illinois, Pepperdine, SMU, Tennessee, UNC, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest.
Pope, of Lexington, Kentucky, is ranked No. 20 in the AJGA rankings and picked the Tigers over Vanderbilt.
Luke Coyle, Jack Mitchell and Tristin Wisener will join the Crimson Tide program for the 2023-24 season.
Coyle, of Campellsville, Kentucky, was a second-team AJGA Rolex All-American and was named “Mr. Golf” in Kentucky in 2021-22. He finished fourth in the Boys Junior PGA Championship.
“Luke is really the first prospect we identified after covid and we are excited to have him on board. I love his competitive fire and he’s got a very high ceiling,” Coach Jay Seawell said.
Mitchell, of Athens, is the No. 1-ranked junior in Alabama and was the 2022 AGA junior champion. A senior at James Clemens High School, Mitchell qualified for the 2022 US Boys Amateur Championship and is a past winner of the Elite Invitational at North Carolina’s Pinehurst Country Club.
“He’s our Alabama state champion which I think is a really big deal,” Seawell said. “We have had a lot of former state champions play for us who eventually went on to big things, and I think Jack is capable of doing the same.”
Wisener, of Hartselle, was a first-team all-state performer in 2021 and 2022 and also captured the 15-16 division at the Future Masters.
“I’ve known Tristin a very long time. He’s another former camper who will now be a part of our program. I have loved watching his game develop over the years,” Sewell said.
Troy also dipped into the international market for its one fall signee, as Pablo Perez Gracia opted to join the Trojans.
erez Gracia currently ranks in the top 74 in the U-18 European Amateur Rankings and is coming off a top 20 finish in the British Boys Amateur Championship. He won the Golf Fenomenos with three sub-70 rounds and took home the title at the Golf Hub International Cup with a pair of rounds in the 60s.
He is a Spanish National Team Blume member and has played in four WAGR-ranked events, which has led Perez Gracia to achieve a World Amateur Golf Ranking of 628.
South Alabama head men’s golf coach Ben Hannan announced the signing of John Mark Mills from Pontotoc (Mississippi) High School and Josh Achord of St. Paul’s (Louisiana) High School.
Mills is the defending Mississippi Junior Am Champion and had top finishes at the 2022 HJGT Orlando Fall Junior Open and the 2021 HJGT Tournament of Champions.
Achord is ranked No. 225 in the nation (Junior Golf Scoreboard) and is sixth in the state of Louisiana. He is the defending LHSAA State Individual Champion.
Nolen Wolfe, the son of Canebrake Golf Club Director of Golf Micky Wolfe, signed to continue his career at Samford University in Birmingham.
During a celebrated high school career, Wolfe had a tournament scoring average of 72.6 that included two tournament victories and earning all-tournament team status six times.
He was a member of the Athens High golf team for six years and a three-time team MVP. He joins a Samford team that is coached by Al Del Greco.
The Chattanooga Mocs dipped into Alabama’s deep talent pool and snagged Ward Harris in the early signing period.
Harris, who plays at Vestavia Hills, is ranked No. 2 in the Alabama Junior Golf Rankings. That ranking is buoyed by a win at the AJGA Stewart Cink Junior Championship and third-place finish at the Alabama Boys State Junior Championship.
He had a dominant run on the Southeastern Golf Tour from 2018-21. In 28 events, he claimed three titles, six runners-up, 16 top 5s and 20 top 10s. He led Vestavia Hills to the 2022 Class 7A Boys Championship.
Gregg Dewalt is the editor of Alabama Golf News
Featured image courtesy of XavierHighCT via Flickr