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Jan. 24, 2011

COLUMBIA, S.C. – announced today that South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi’s 2011 signing class is rated No. 3 in the country. Chosen by a panel of junior tennis experts from around the country, the rankings include all commitments reported through Jan. 8. The Gamecocks’ quartet earned one first-place vote from the panel. It is South Carolina’s first appearance in the organization’s top-25 rankings. The 2011 signing class for the Gamecocks includes blue chip recruit Carl Eguez (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), five-star player Andrew Adams (Baltimore, Md.), five-star signee Kyle Koch (Irmo, S.C.) and four-star performer Ben Barnette (Spartanburg, S.C.).

“Landing a top-five class is a big step in the right direction for our program and will certainly help us move closer to our goals,” Goffi said. “Matt (Lucas, assistant coach) and I worked extremely hard for this class, and it should give us good momentum moving forward. All of our recruits are class acts and are only going to add to the culture we are creating here. I am very excited and optimistic about what we are building here at South Carolina.”

Eguez is currently ranked No. 22 in the country and No. 6 in the Southeast. He went 34-12 overall in 2010, including a 9-4 record against other blue chip players and a 9-7 mark against five-star recruits. He reached the fourth round of the USTA Boys 18 National Clay Court Championship. Eguez also won the consolation bracket of the USTA Tampa National Open in February, defeating five top-40 players during the event.

Adams is a five-star recruit who is 27-19 against players rated five-star or above as part of his overall 52-25 record. Ranked No. 25 in the nation and No. 5 in the Middle Atlantic region, he reached the quarterfinals at the USTA Winter National Championships in Scottsdale, Ariz., dispatching a pair of top-11 players along the way. Adams advanced to the singles final of the 2010 U.S. Junior ITF International Hardcourt Championships and to the final of the USTA Eastern Sectional Closed Championships, knocking off two top-40 players.

Koch is currently ranked No. 54 in the country and No. 1 in South Carolina. Playing for Chapin High, he won back-to-back state championships in singles and helped the Eagles to their first team championship in the 3A division in 2010. Koch advanced to the second round of the USTA National Championship main draw. This fall, he reached the semifinals of the Bullfrog USTA Southern Designated event in Mobile, Ala.

Barnette is ranked 26th in the Southeast Region and among the top 100 in the country. Since this summer, he has picked up three second-place finishes in Boys 18 Doubles events, teaming with future Gamecock teammates each time (twice with current Gamecock Chip Cox, once with fellow signee Koch). Since 2007, he has collected 20 titles, including his most recent singles win at the Steadman Hawkins Boys Tennis Classic at Furman University. Last spring, he finished second at the South Carolina High School State Singles Tournament as well.

The Gamecocks are among three SEC programs to sign top-five classes. Vanderbilt’s class of six players ranked first, while Tennessee’s two-player class sits in fifth place.