Danny Walker has given a verbal commitment to play college golf for Virginia. Walker, of Bradenton, Fla., also made unofficial visits to Central Florida, North Florida and Notre Dame, and he considered Illinois.
“I chose the University of Virginia because of the balance between golf and academics,” Walker said. “I also really like the campus as well as the practice facilities. Coach (Bowen) Sargent is very passionate, with a lot of experience as a coach and player.”
Walker is a junior at Lake Ranch High School, and helped his team to the 2A state championship title the past two years. He won the individual state championship as a freshman in 2010.
Walker was an honorable-mention AJGA Rolex All-American in 2012, the same year he tied for second at the Western Junior.
Jamie Binns (NR, 2014) has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at Cal Poly.
Binns took an unofficial visit to South Florida. Sonoma State and Point Loma Nazarene made him offers.
The San Diego native is a junior at Scripps Ranch High School.
“I chose Cal Poly because of the good academics,” Binns said. “I love the team and the coach, and the location is great."
Binns won the 2012 North County Junior Golf Toyota Cup Qualifying Series and the San Diego Junior Golf Summer Qualifying Series for Junior Worlds, which qualified him for the Junior World Championships.
Drew Jones of Decatur, Texas, has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at Texas in 2016.
Jones also looked at Oklahoma State, Arizona, Oklahoma, Auburn and Michigan. He made unofficial visits to Oklahoma State and Oklahoma prior to making his decision.
The Decatur High School freshman always knew he wanted to play college golf if given the opportunity.
“I feel at home in Austin, and I have a tremendous amount of respect and trust in Coach (John) Fields and Coach (Ryan) Murphy,” Jones said. “Their values are very similar to the way I was raised, and I really feel as though I fit in there. I am really excited about joining the Longhorn family.”
In 2012, Jones had two top-five finishes and one top-10 finish in three starts on the AJGA. Jones has earned runner-up and top-5 finishes in the 2011 and 2012 Texas/Oklahoma Junior, respectively.
Taylor Funk, son of touring pro Fred Funk, has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at Texas in 2014.
Funk made unofficial visits to Auburn, Alabama and North Florida before choosing Texas.
He is home-schooled but plays golf for Ponte Vedra (Fla.) High School.
“I chose Texas because I really love the coaches there,” Funk said. “I believe that the University of Texas has the best resources and facilities in college golf.
“I believe Texas is where I can improve my game the most, and I knew the moment I left the unofficial visit at Texas that Texas was where I wanted to be,” Funk added.
Funk was the 2012 St. John’s Player of the Year and first team all-county. He was the Florida High School Athletic Association 2A regional champion. He also won the Future Collegians World Tour at TPC Sawgrass and Inverrary.
Funk's father, a Maryland graduate who has won eight times on the PGA and Champions tours, coached the men's golf team at his alma mater from 1982 to 1988.
Ryan Gronlund, of Pleasanton, Calif., has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at SMU in 2014.
Gronlund made unofficial visits to Oregon, California, Arizona and UC Davis.
The Foothill High School junior chose SMU based on a number of factors.
“Mainly because Coach (Josh) Gregory and Coach (Jason) Enloe made me feel the most comfortable with their coaching philosophy and desire to win,” Gronlund said.
“I felt SMU was a perfect fit for me. SMU is a great school academically, have access to great golf facilities, will be building a new world-class practice facility and golf course and the student-athlete services are the best,” he added.
In 2012, Gronlund won two FCWT events. He also placed second at the AJGA at Centennial, placed third at the AJGA Junior All-Star at Stockton and finished seventh at the AJGA Junior All-Star Invitational in Florida.
Scottie Scheffler of Dallas, Texas, has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at Texas in the fall of 2014.
Scheffler is No. 3 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings, but No. 1 in the class of 2014.
The Highland Park High School junior seriously considered Stanford, Texas A&M, Georgia Tech, Georgia and Duke before ultimately deciding on Texas.
“I chose Texas because I felt the most comfortable there,” Scheffler said. “They have a great business school, a great golf history and program, and it’s relatively close to my teacher and family.”
In June 2012, Scheffler set or tied course records at two different courses in the Dallas area. He first broke Northwood Club’s course record, previously set by PGA Tour player Hunter Mahan, with a 10-under 61. Just a few days later, he tied the course record at Dallas Country Club with a 9-under 61. He shares low course honors with 2011 U.S. Amateur champion Kelly Kraft.
Scheffler tied for runner-up honors at the HP Boys Championship at Carlton Woods earlier this year. In 2012, he had four top-10 finishes in seven AJGA starts, including a runner-up finish at the Polo Golf Junior Classic ...
Back in 2012, the big news out of the class of 2016 was that No. 1-ranked Brad Dalke had given a verbal commitment to play college golf at Oklahoma. Dalke has been joined by classmate Derek Castillo in making a decision on college at an early age. Castillo has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at UNLV.
Castillo, of Yorba Linda, Calif., is a freshman at Valencia (Placentia) High School, and is an AJGA second-team Rolex All-American. He made unofficial visits to Oregon, USC, UCLA and Arizona State.
“While I could not have made a wrong choice with any of these programs, I felt that UNLV was the perfect fit for me,” Castillo said. “I really like the coaching philosophy, golf facilities and strength-training program, which I feel will maximize my potential as a golfer and person.”
Last summer he won the AJGA ClubCorp Mission Hills Desert Junior and the 4th Annual FCG World Championship at PGA West. In September, Castillo tied for second at the Bobby Chapman Junior Invitational.
Christian De La Cruz of San Antonio has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at Texas A&M in 2014.
De La Cruz, a junior at Lady “Bird” Johnson, made unofficial visits to Texas-El Paso, Houston, Rice, Oklahoma and Arizona before deciding on Texas A&M.
“I choose A&M because I have grown up an Aggie with both my parents going there,” De La Cruz said. “They are also building a new practice facility that will be one of the best in the country.
“Coach Higgins has built A&M into a premier program that is a threat to win the national championship every year.”
De La Cruz won the 2011 Texas Junior Golf Tournament Traditions Fall Invitational at Texas A&M and the 2011 PGA Junior Series at New Mexico State. He was also the runner-up at the PGA Junior Series at The Quarry in San Antonio. De La Cruz played in the 2012 and 2011 U.S. Junior Amateur. He also has six AJGA top-20 finishes.
Austin Connelly has given a verbal commitment to play college golf for SMU. Connelly also made unofficial visits to Georgia, Alabama, Auburn and Arizona State. He narrowed his decision down to Georgia and SMU before deciding to join the Mustangs roster under head coach Josh Gregory.
Connelly, from Irving, Texas, attends iSchool High Lewisville. He is ranked No. 6 by Golfweek among Texas boys.
“I chose SMU for a number of reasons,” Connelly said. “The first of which is because I truly believe that Josh Gregory is the best coach in all of men’s college golf, and I believe that he has proven it time and time again. The second is because of the outstanding practice facility and golf course facility that they are about to build, along with the outstanding golf courses that they play day in and day out. The third is because of the school’s outstanding academics, along with the connections that can be made at SMU which are astounding. The fourth and final main reason is because my coach, Cameron McCormick, is here locally, and he is irreplaceable to me.”
In the past year, Connelly finished T-3 at the AJGA’s Under Armour/Hunter ...
Ben Schlottman, of Advance, N.C., has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at Auburn in 2014.
Schlottman, who attends Forsyth Country Day School in Lewisville, N.C., also considered Wake Forest, North Carolina, Arkansas and Stanford.
“The facilities are amazing, and the coaches are very supportive and they are very plan-oriented, and I liked that,” Schlottman said.
Schlottman has two victories on the International Junior Golf Tour and has helped Forsyth County Day School to top-five finishes in the NCISAA Class 3-A state championships the last two seasons. He has been an All-State player the last two seasons. He holds a weighted 4.3 grade-point average.
Connor Greenleaf, of Windham, N.H., has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at Boston College in 2014.
Greenleaf, a junior at Windham High School, made unofficial visits to Michigan, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.
“Boston College is a very prestigious school which offers all the things that I want for my college experience: A great D1 golf program, very good academics, a great golf coach, great facilities, perfect amount of kids attending the school, great location, very beautiful campus, very good reputation all around, and a really good group of kids on the team,” Greenleaf said. “I feel I will have the opportunity to further not only my own abilities on the golf course, but also be able to help the team grow.”
Greenleaf was on the winning team for New England at the Team New England vs. Team Florida match at Doral. He made match play at the 2012 U.S. Junior Amateur and at the Doral Publix Junior Golf Classic. He was named player of the year by the Eagle Tribune newspaper in his hometown.
Max Donohue of Sioux Falls, S.D., has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at the University of Arizona in 2014.
He made unofficials visits to Minnesota, South Dakota State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma Stat, Arizona State, Auburn, TCU and New Mexico. Five schools, Auburn, South Dakota State, Minnesota, New Meixco and Oklahoma, made verbal offers to him.
Donohue chose Arizona because of the great weather and coach Jim Anderson.
“Coach Anderson is young, knowledgeable and hard working,” Donohue said. “I believe the combination of his coaching skills and the ability to recruit top players will continue to make the program strong. In addition, coach grew up in South Dakota and really understand what it takes to be a competitive golf from this part of the country.”
The O’Gorman High School junior has had four top four AJGA finishes, including a win at the 2011 AJGA Junior at Quad Cities. He was also the 2012 South Dakota state junior champion.
Nick Sparling of Dublin, Ohio, has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at Ohio State in 2014.
Sparling also visited Notre Dame, Tennessee, Illinois, Miami (Ohio) and Indiana.
"I chose the Buckeyes because of the new indoor facilities they are building, the great golf courses they have access to and the guys on the team,” Sparling said. “I really connected with them, and I like Coach (Donnie) Darr and Coach (Ryan) Potter.”
The Dublin Coffman High School junior believes Ohio State will "help me realize my dream of playing on the PGA Tour."
Sparling won the 2012 Ohio State high school championship on the OSU Scarlet Course.
Patrick Hallisey of Wethersfield, Conn., has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at Boston College in 2014.
The Kingwood Oxford School junior chose Boston College because “of the amazing education it offers and the location.”
“I’ll be able to stay close to my friends and family throughout the school year.”
For most of his life, Hallisey played ice hockey, but about 2 1/2 years ago, he realized he loved golf more and switched.
“I'm really proud of the fact that I haven't been playing golf that long, but I've improved in such a short period of time,” Hallisey said.
Hallisey was runner-up at the 2012 Stan Trojanowski Northern Junior and placed sixth at the AJGA Philadelphia Junior. He is the fifth-ranked junior in Connecticut.
Michael Sharp of Kendallville, Ind., has given a verbal commitment to play college golf at Michigan State in 2014.
Sharp made several unofficial visits, including Evansville and Purdue.
The East Noble High School junior chose Michigan State because ‘I was so impressed with MSU, and I knew it was the place for me.’
“I was really impressed with the academics and golf facilities. I also really like the family atmosphere that surrounds that team, and I believe that Coach (Casey) Lubahn and Coach (Garry) Winger will help me reach my goals,” Sharp said.
He has been on the All-State IHSAA first team as a freshman and sophomore in high school. Sharp was the runner-up at the 2012 Links of Kokepelli PGA Junior Series event.