Aug. 8, 2014
DAVIS, Calif. -- Building upon an already stellar nationally ranked recruiting class, the UC Davis men's tennis team has added a pair of Division I transfers for the 2014-15 campaign, Head Coach Eric Steidlmayer announced Friday.
California natives Jesse Ross, who played his freshman year at Santa Clara in 2013-14, and Eli Whittle, a Central Coast standout who competed at Brown University last season, join the Aggies' roster and will have three years of eligibility remaining beginning this season.
"We are very excited to have both Eli and Jesse become Aggies," Steidlmayer said. "We know that they both are very good players, both have their best tennis ahead of them, and both are very excited to work hard to become the best they can be.
"They both are big, strong guys who can serve the ball and, yet, the basis of their games is consistency. We feel they are going to compete for starting spots right away and continue to improve throughout their time here. Their addition makes our team very strong and deep, while still quite young. It makes us think we can compete with the very best in the conference for years to come."
Whittle, a native of Nipomo, California, returns to his West Coast roots after spending his freshman season with the Bears, where he was 3-4 in singles during the fall and 4-1 in doubles play. A four-star recruit out of Arroyo Grande HS, Whittle was ranked as high as No. 82 in the nation and No. 25 in California following a stellar high school career where he was a four-time PAC7 League MVP, a four-time league singles champion, and helped lead the Eagles to the 2013 CIF team title as well as four league crowns. During his four-year prep career, Whittle lost just once en route to a 100-1 record as Arroyo Grande's No. 1 singles player.
As a junior, he added a title in the 16s division of the 112th Ojai Valley Junior Tennis Tournament in 2012 as the No. 9 seed in the event.
"I'm excited about joining the Aggie family," Whittle said. "It's a young group that is eager to win, the coaching staff is enthusiastic about the sport, and all have big goals set for this upcoming season. I can't wait to contribute and be a part of something like that."
Another four-star recruit out of Laurel Springs High School in Ojai, California, according to the website TennisRecruiting.net, Ross was ranked as high as No. 85 in the nation, and No. 23 in the state, following his senior year. In limited action with the Broncos, Ross was 3-9 in singles play at primarily at the No. 5 and No. 6 singles positions and was 3-6 at the No. 3 doubles spot with teammate Mikheil Khmiadashvili.
"I chose UC Davis because I feel it provided a perfect balance between tennis and academics," Ross said. "It is a young, up-and-coming program that, I believe, is focused on achieving the goal of winning the Big West Conference and advancing to the NCAA Championships."
The duo joins incoming freshmen Everett Maltby and Tommy Lam, who signed National Letters of Intent with the Aggies back in December. The two make up the No. 17-ranked recruiting class in the nation among mid-major schools according to TennisRecruiting.net.