DAVIS, Calif. -- For the fourth time in the last five seasons, UC Davis head men's tennis coach Eric Steidlmayer has amassed one of the top recruiting classes in the nation, ranking No. 11 among mid-major schools according to the website TennisRecruiting.net.
It is the second-highest ranking for an incoming class for Steidlmayer and the Aggies, who brought in the country's No. 5-ranked class in 2016, and added to the list of top 20 hauls since his arrival in Davis in 2012, also attracting in the No. 15-ranked class in 2013 and the No. 17-ranked group of newcomers in 2014.
UC Davis is one of two Big West Conference schools in this year's top 25 (defending conference champion UC Santa Barbara is third), and is among a group of four California schools in the top 15 along with San Diego (No. 1) and Pepperdine (No. 4) on this year's mid-major list, which includes schools in all divisions from conferences outside the five so-called "major" football conferences -- the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Pacific 12, and Southeastern Conferences -- as well as the Ivy League.
The Aggies were also among a group of 22 schools receiving votes of the website's top overall recruiting classes this season. Overall, UC Davis has been listed among TennisRecruiting.net's top 25 mid-major classes six times since beginning their reclassification to the Division I level according to the website: No. 12 in 2006, No. 20 in 2007, No. 21 in 2009, No. 15 in 2013, No. 17 in 2014, and No. 5 in 2016.
This year's highly regarded class includes four incoming freshmen and a transfer -- a group that was completed with the addition of Southern California native Dariush Jalali from Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., who was ranked No. 26 in the state of California and No. 106 in the nation according to the website as of May 30.
Jalali, who prepped at Peninsula HS, played No. 2 singles for the Panthers, helping them to a spot in the CIF Southern Section Division I finals before falling to Harvard-Westlake.
He joins fellow freshmen Ivan Thamma (San Diego, Calif./Point Loma HS), Chethan Swanson (Folsom, Calif./Folsom HS), and Arjith Jayaraman (El Dorado Hills, Calif./Granite Bay HS), as well as Tulane transfer Jonathan Star, who recently completed his freshman season with the Green Wave in 2017.
All five will play key roles on next year's UC Davis squad, as the Aggies lose a decorated class of five seniors to graduation following a season that saw them finish 14-8 overall and 4-1 in the Big West Conference -- the fourth straight year with double-digit victories. UC Davis' final No. 65 national ranking was the second-highest in the program's Division I era, while its final ranking of No. 64 in the final RPI was the best in the Division I era.
2017 TENNISRECRUITING.NET MID-MAJOR TOP 25 CLASSES
1. San Diego - West Coast Conference
2. Florida Atlantic - Conference USA
3. UC Santa Barbara - Big West Conference
4. Pepperdine - West Coast Conference
5. Rice - Conference USA
6. Stetson - Atlantic Sun
7. Denver - Summit League
8. Furman - Southern Conference
9. Georgetown - Big East
10. University of Chicago - University Athletic Association (Div. III)
11. UC DAVIS - Big West Conference
12. Amherst - New England Small College Athletic Conference (Div. III)
13. UTSA - Conference USA
14. Belmont - Ohio Valley Conference
15. Liberty - Big South Conference
16. Middlebury - New England Small College Athletic Conference (Div. III)
17. Boston University - Patriot League
18. Williams - New England Small College Athletic Conference (Div. III)
19. Tulane - American Athletic Conference
20. Fresno State - Mountain West Conference
21. Wofford - Southern Conference
22. Cleveland State - Horizon League
23. William & Mary - Colonial Athletic Association
24. Navy - Patriot League
25. Fairleigh Dickinson - Northeast Conference
Aggies add Tulane transfer for 2017-18
Four teams earn
NCAA Public Recognition Awards