Baseball Recruiting Class Tabbed No. 15 by Baseball America

Oct. 20, 2009

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- After securing the third-best recruiting class in college baseball a year ago, Baseball America has ranked the 2010 Kentucky baseball class No. 15 in the nation, it was announced Tuesday afternoon.

Kentucky’s recruiting class was ranked No. 6 in the NCAA by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper on Sept. 17, giving UK a consensus top-15 recruiting class for the second consecutive season. In head coach Gary Henderson’s first year at the helm of the program in 2009, he secured the third-best class, as ranked by Baseball America, in the NCAA, a new program best.

UK ranks sixth in the talent-laden Southeastern Conference, with Florida (No. 1), Mississippi State (No. 8), Ole Miss (No. 12), Vanderbilt (No. 13) and Tennessee (No. 14) ranking ahead of UK in the conference. In the Collegiate Baseball rankings from Sept. 17, UK checked in as the third-best class in the SEC, behind LSU and No. 1 Florida.

Henderson and recruiting coordinator Brad Bohannon brought 13 newcomers to campus, including five players drafted in the 2009 MLB Draft. UK will add nine freshmen and four transfers for the 2010 season.

Luke Maile, the top high school player in the state of Kentucky, highlights the class along with Jordan Cooper, the top pitcher in Tennessee. Maile, a native of Crestview Hills, Ky., was drafted in the 43rd round of the 2009 MLB Draft by the Boston Red Sox. As the catcher for Covington Catholic, Maile set every offensive school record, with the lone exception of at bats. As a senior, the first-team high school All-America selection by MaxPreps.com hit .514 with 12 home runs.

Cooper, a 17th-round pick of the Pittsburg Pirates in 2009, was rated as the fifth-best overall draft prospect in Tennessee by Baseball America entering the draft. Cooper, a 6-foot-3, 205-pounder, was also named the 81st-best high school prospect in the nation by Baseball America. In 2009, Cooper posted a 7-1 record and a 1.47 ERA, striking out 81 in 47 innings.

The Wildcats will also welcome 2008 Freshman All-America shortstop Taylor Black, who transferred from Charleston Southern and Spartanburg Methodist. Fellow transfers Lance Ray (OF/1B), Kyle Jackson (RHP) and Joe Devine (RHP) are also immediate impact players. Black, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound middle infielder, was named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American in 2008 at Charleston Southern, hitting .333 (58-for-174) with 17 doubles, five homers and 34 RBI. With the departure of All-SEC shortstop Chris Wade, Black could be an immediate impact player in the center of the UK defense.

Talented prospects Sam Kidd (RHP/OF), Jon Carlson (LHP), Taylor Rogers (LHP), Michael Thomas (C), Tyler Townsend (INF) and Walter Wijas (RHP) add to the depth of the class. Kidd, a native of Hartford, Ky., was a 39th-round MLB draft pick by the Phillies, following an all-state season as a senior at Ohio County High School. Rogers, a 6-foot-3 left-hander, was a 37th-round MLB draft pick of the Orioles after totaling a 5-2 record and a 1.98 ERA in 2009, striking out 82 in 53 innings.

UK also adds freshman outfielder Brian Adams, a 6-foot-4, 210-pound athlete out of Gainesville, Ga. Adams was recruited to UK as a wide receiver for the football team and will play both sports at Kentucky. Timed as fast a 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash, Adams was a 45th-round MLB draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds. A dual-threat quarterback in high school, Adams was rated as the nation’s No. 55 quarterback by Scout.com and is redshirting the 2009 UK football season.

The Wildcats return a veteran-laden team in 2010, including two of the top starting pitchers in college baseball, senior lefty James Paxton and sophomore right-hander Alex Meyer. Paxton, a first-round MLB Draft pick in 2009, became the highest drafted college player to return to school. Offensively, UK returns first-team All-SEC infielder Chris Bisson, who led UK in average (.360), at bats (222), runs (49), hits (80), triples (three), RBI (52) and walks (20). Sophomores Chad Wright (.343, 4 HR, 23 RBI, 10-12 SB), Braden Kapteyn (.319, 4 HR, 27 RBI), Cory Farris (.310, 2 HR, 16 RBI) and Andy Burns (.287, 7 HR, 33 RBI) will be counted on to carry the offensive load. UK also returns catcher Marcus Nidiffer (.312, 10 HR, 32 RBI), utility player Gunner Glad (.303, 9 HR, 38 RBI) and four-year starting center fielder Keenan Wiley (.251, 4 HR, 24 RBI, 11-12 SB).

2009 RECRUITING CLASS RANKINGS
1. Florida
2. Stanford
3. Arizona State
4. Texas Christian
5. Cal State Fullerton
6. Texas
7. North Carolina
8. Mississippi State
9. Virginia
10. Central Florida
11. North Carolina State
12. Mississippi
13. Vanderbilt
14. Tennessee
15. KENTUCKY
16. Oklahoma
17. Miami
18. Michigan
19. UCLA
20. Clemson
21. Rice
22. Oregon State
23. Missouri
24. Oregon
25. Louisville

* SEC teams in bold.