Tennessee baseball coach Tony Vitello (Photo: Saul Young, Knoxville News Sentinel)

One of the key figures to Tennessee baseball’s 2018 signing class came off the board early in the Major League Baseball draft Tuesday afternoon, and the moments of anxiety have begun in Knoxville.

Jonathan Ornelas, a touted middle infield prospect from Raymond S. Kellis High School in Peoria, Ari., was selected by the Texas Rangers in the third round with the No. 91 overall pick.

Now the process of re-recruiting will begin with first-year Tennessee coach Tony Vitello, whose first Vols signing class was ranked No. 8 nationally by Perfect Game USA.

Ornelas — the nation’s No. 98 overall prospect, according to Perfect Game — obviously was a big part of Vitello’s first class. The 6-foot, 166-pound middle infielder chose Tennessee over an impressive list of suitors that included some of the nation’s biggest powerhouse programs: Arizona State, Oregon State, TCU, Arizona, Florida and Virginia, among others.

While there’s not necessarily a hard-and-fast rule ensuring the Rangers will have to stick to it, Major League Baseball’s projected slot value for the No. 91 overall pick is $622,800, which will leave Ornelas with a tough decision to make.

Last season’s No. 91 overall pick — right-handed pitcher Tyler Ivey from Grayson Community College — did sign with the Houston Astros after coming off the board. The No. 91 overall pick in the 2016 draft — center fielder Austin Hays from Jacksonville University — signed with the Baltimore Orioles after coming off the board.

The last time the No. 91 overall pick was a high school player was 2015, and that player — right-handed pitcher Justin Maese from Ysleta High School in Texas — signed with the Toronto Blue Jays after coming off the board.

Another high school player — Austin DeCarr from Connecticut — was taken with the No. 91 overall pick in 2014, and he also went directly to the pros, signing with the New York Yankees after coming off the board.

Ornelas wasn’t the only Tennessee signee to come off the board early in the draft, either.

Crowder College left-hander Aaron Ashby, another touted member of the Vols’ 2018 class, was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the fourth round with the No. 125 overall pick. Ashy, who threw three no-hitters this spring, also will have a tough decision to make after Tuesday’s news.

William English — a big right-hander out of Western International High School in Taylor, Mich. — was selected by the Los Angeles Angles in the fifth round with the No. 151 overall pick.

The MLB Draft will continue through the rest of Tuesday and Wednesday, and prospects will then have until July 6 before deciding whether to sign as professionals or choose the college path. Some of those decisions — including Tennessee’s painful loss of Mookie Betts to the Boston Red Sox mere minutes before the deadline expired in 2011 — go down to the wire.