Virginia Baseball Announces Stellar 10-Member Recruiting Class
Nov. 18, 2003
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The University of Virginia baseball program and head coach Brian O’Connor have announced UVa’s 2003 recruiting class. O’Connor and his staff signed a stellar 10-member recruiting class during the National Letter of Intent (NLI) early signing period. Virginia’s recruiting class is one of the top-rated classes in the country (listed a Top-20 class by TeamOneBaseball.com) and is arguably one of the best recruiting classes to ever sign with the UVa baseball program.
O’Connor developed and built a strong reputation as a recruiter while serving as an assistant coach and associate head coach at the University of Notre Dame. At Notre Dame, O’Connor helped the Fighting Irish recruit the #1 recruiting class in 2001 and the #6 recruiting class in 2003 while he was an assistant coach. Once again, his recruiting efforts paid off as he helped UVa land one of the most highly-touted classes ever to sign at Virginia in just his first recruiting class as UVa’s head coach. Six of Virginia’s 10 signees ranked in the Top 300 prospects in the country according to Baseball America, including one signee who ranks in the Top 100. UVa’s recruiting class also had two players ranked in the Top 75 and four players in the Top 200 according to TeamOneBaseball.com’s national recruiting rankings.
O’Connor’s enthusiasm is evident when asked about his feelings following his first recruiting class as the head coach at Virginia.
“This is an outstanding class!” exclaimed O’Connor. “Our coaching staff is ecstatic about the talent that these prospects will be bringing to the University of Virginia. This class will set a precedent for future recruiting classes here at UVa.”
The Cavaliers, who are coming off the heels of a season in which they finished 29-25 overall, 11-12 in the ACC in 2003, lost only one positional starter from last year’s squad which narrowly missed a berth into the NCAA Regionals. Although UVa returns nearly all of its starters and most of its top reserves in 2004, O’Connor and his staff know the importance of putting together a great recruiting class for the years to come.
“This was a critical class for us because we could lose so many key players from our 2004 squad,” said O’Connor. “We needed players who could immediately make an impact and our success rate in landing the players we really wanted was phenomenal. The goals we set in signing this class were to develop a strong pitching staff, add a quality catcher and provide some offensive firepower with athletic position players. We definitely reached those goals and are very excited to have these players become members of the Virginia baseball program.”
“One of the biggest challenges in college baseball recruiting is dealing with the major league baseball draft, said O’Connor. “I feel a number of our recruits have a chance to be draft picks in June. We’ll have to hope these players are committed to coming to the University of Virginia and getting their education while playing college baseball at the highest level. I believe they are all committed to coming to UVa.”
Recruiting the type of student-athletes that O’Connor and his staff targeted was made easier due to Virginia’s great academics, an up and coming program, a brand-new baseball facility (Davenport Field at the UVa Baseball Stadium) and a new and energized coaching staff.
“For our program to receive early commitments from these top players is a real credit to the excellent education offered at UVa and the commitment our athletic administration has made to compete at the highest level of college baseball,” said O’Connor. “Also, the efforts of our assistant coaches and current players during the recruiting process made the difference in landing this outstanding class. When prospects see the enthusiasm of our assistant coaches and how excited our current players are to be at the University of Virginia, I believe it makes a huge impact on their decision.”
O’Connor and his staff aren’t the only ones talking about the high-caliber recruiting class that Virginia has signed. Jeff Spelman, editor of TeamOneBaseball.com, had complimentary words to say about UVa’s recruiting class as well.
“Brian O’Connor and his staff have put together a Top 20 national recruiting class,” stated Spelman. “They have both high-end talent and depth in their early signees. Corey Brown is a sleeper. He has given up football and is focusing on baseball. His tools are similar to players drafted in the top two or three rounds. He could be one of the better freshman in the nation. UVa has several players in this class who have the potential to be All-ACC one day and help Virginia move into the top half of the ACC.”
“Sean Doolittle and Pat McAnaney both have the potential to be impact players at UVa. Coaches are happy to get one left-handed pitcher like this in a recruiting class, and Virginia has two top lefties in Doolittle and McAnaney. That’s the kind of recruiting that can make a big difference in a program’s future,” said Spelman.
“Brian O’Connor proved at Notre Dame he was one of the nation’s Top 10 recruiters,” noted Spelman. “He has taken those skills and energy and is elevating Virginia even before his team has played their first game.”
Virginia baseball’s 2003 Recruiting Class
Name Position B/T Ht. Wt. High School/HometownCorey Brown OF L/L 6'2" 190 H.B. Plant/Tampa, Fla.Nick Cruit C R/R 6'1" 185 First Colonial/Virginia Beach, Va.Sean Doolittle LHP/1B L/L 6'2" 175 Shawnee/Tabernacle, N.J.Jordan Ellis RHP/OF R/R 6'2" 190 Radnor/Radnor, Pa.Joe Florio IF L/R 6'0" 185 Blair Academy/Blairstown, N.J.Brandon Guyer 3B R/R 6'1" 210 Herndon/Herndon, Va.Pat McAnaney LHP R/L 6'3" 175 Westhill/Syracuse, N.Y.Ryan Ouellette P/OF R/R 5'11" 170 Martin County/Stuart, Fla.Robert Poutier RHP R/R 6"4" 175 Grafton/Grafton, Va.Michael Schwimer RHP R/R 6'7" 210 St. Stephen's & St. Agnes/Alexandria, Va.
Baseball America/Perfect Game rankings of Virginia's 2003 recruits:- 7 out of 10 signs are ranked in the Top 400 prospects by Baseball America.- 6 out of 10 signs are ranked in the Top 300 prospects by Baseball America.- 1 out of 10 signs are ranked in the Top 100 prospects by Baseball America.
TeamOneBaseball.com's rankings of Virginia's 2003 recruits:- 4 out of 10 signs are ranked in the Top 200 prospects by TeamOneBaseball.com.- 2 out of 10 signs are ranked in the Top 75 prospects by TeamOneBaseball.com.
Here is a closer, in-depth look at all 10 of Virginia’s signees:
Corey Brown- Ranked the 35th overall high school senior baseball prospect in the nation and the 5thbest overall prospect from the state of Florida by TeamOneBaseball.com.- Team One National Showcase (2003) #6 ranked prospect in 2003.- Ranked the #86 national prospect by Baseball America/Perfect Game.- Team One Baseball Regionals Top 10 (2002.)- All-County and All-Western Conference selection (2002 & 2003).- Saladino All-Tournament Team (2003).- Three year varsity starter.
O’Connor on Brown:”Corey is a tremendously exciting player who can do a lot of things on the baseball field. Offensively, he can really run and has the potential to be a serious base stealing threat and that excites me. He has an outstanding swing, which will allow him to hit for average and power. With his ability to run and hit for power, Corey has a chance to have an effect on every game he plays at Virginia. Defensively, he is a super outfielder who can play anywhere in the outfield. If Corey continues to get stronger, I believe he can become a legitimate five-tool player during his career at UVa. He’s just an amazing athlete. Corey could have been a Division I wide receiver had he chosen that path. He has the potential to have a very bright future in baseball after his career at UVa and I am excited to watch him develop.”
Brown on his decision to choose Virginia:”The education and opportunities a school like UVa will afford me are immeasurable. After meeting with the coaches and players at UVa, I was not only impressed by their commitment and knowledge, but felt that I could be a contributor to the success of their program.”
Nick Cruit- Ranked the #267 national prospect by Baseball America/Perfect Game.- Second Team All-Beach District (2003).- Led the Beach District in RBI (2003).- Academic Honor Roll student every year in high school.
O’Connor on Cruit:”Nick has the athletic ability and work ethic to be an outstanding player in our program. He comes from one of the best high school programs in the state where he has learned to play the game the right way. Nick is an excellent catcher who possesses arm strength, good hands and excellent quickness behind the plate. He also has the leadership qualities that are very important in handling a pitching staff. Nick hustles all over the field and shows that he loves to play the game. I expect Nick to bring an intensity and competitive attitude to our program, which will give him the opportunity to compete behind the plate right away.”
Cruit on his decision to choose Virginia:”I have chosen the University of Virginia knowing I will receive one of the best educations in the country. I will be able to play baseball in the top college conference with an excellent coaching staff and facility where I will have the opportunity to excel.”
Sean Doolittle- Ranked the 63rd overall prospect in the country and the #1 prospect in New Jerseyby TeamOneBaseball.com.- Ranked the #289 national prospect by Baseball America/Perfect Game.- NBCA/Rawlings All-American (2003).- Star Ledger's New Jersey Pitcher of the Year (2003).- Philadelphia Inquirer's South Jersey Player of the Year.- Struck out 23 batters with no walks in 9.0 innings in State Finals.- Helped guide his H.S. to its first State Championship.- Turned in a record of 12-1 on the mound with a 1.26 ERA, 137K in 78.0 inningspitched while holding opposing batters to a .141 batting average as a junior.
O’Connor on Doolittle:”Sean can have an immediate impact in our program as a legitimate two-way player. Anytime you can attract a player who can improve the program in more than one area, you have something special. Sean is a talented left-handed pitcher and an offensive threat from the left side of the plate. As a pitcher, Sean is a winner. When you get a pitcher who is 20-3 in his career you know he is a winner. Sean is also a big game pitcher (23 strikeouts in 2003 New Jersey state title game), which really excites me. He has a projectable body, loose arm, and a great feel for pitching. Sean has the ability to win a lot of games on the mound for UVa. As a position player, he has a compact swing, good bat speed, with the potential to hit for some power in college. With some work in our strength-building program, Sean will develop into a great college pitcher and hitter. The sky’s the limit for Sean.”
Doolittle on his decision to choose Virginia:”I choose UVa for several reasons. Most importantly, I feel Coach O’Connor, Coach Kuhn and the rest of the Cavalier coaching staff can help me develop and continue on and succeed at the next level. I am very confident that as a Cavalier I can develop through winning, playing and dominating in the best baseball conference in the country. The baseball program is on the rise, and playing with the best, for the best, and against the best in the ACC will help me reach my goals and continue on the the next level. Secondly, Charlottesville is an area of Virginia that I felt very comfortable in. The campus is beautiful and the education is second to none. It has a balance of athletics and academics that very few schools have.”
Jordan Ellis- Ranked the 130th overall prospect in the nation and #3 in Pennsylvania byTeamOneBaseball.com.- Team One North Showcase (2003) #6 ranked prospect.- Ranked the #170 national prospect by Baseball America/Perfect Game.- Team One National Finalist - Las Vegas (2003).- Top Prospect North (6), Southeast Top 10 Prospect (5), NortheastTop 10 Prospect (8) in 2003 Showcases.
O’Connor on Ellis:”Jordan is a tremendous competitor and athlete on the mound. It is our philosophy to recruit pitchers that are good athletes because athletic pitchers will get better in our program. Jordan has a fastball that will touch 91 mph and an outstanding hard biting curveball. He takes charge of the game and attacks the hitters and that’s what I like to see out of our pitchers. Once he matures a little more as a pitcher, we think Jordan will be critical in the success of our pitching staff. Jordan will also be looked at as a potential two-way player. He is an athletic outfielder who can hit and run. Jordan has a chance to be an outstanding player at UVa and we are expecting great things from him.”
Ellis on his decision to choose Virginia:”I felt pitching coach Karl Kuhn had the knowledge and experience to take me to the next level of pitching. Virginia is in the ACC, meaning I would face better competition. The facilities and the baseball stadium are new and Virginia is the #1 rated public school in the country. The coaches were aggressive in recruiting me and I felt like choosing the school (UVa) and being a member of the team can make the team excel. The Virginia coaching staff is committed to improving their baseball program to compete with the best coaching programs in the nation.”
Joe Florio- Ranked the #384 national prospect by Baseball America/Perfect Game.- Three-time All-State selection.- Participated in the Area Code Games and East Coast Professional Showcasein 2003 and in the Blue-Grey Games (2002).- Recognized as one of the top New Jersey Prospects by North East Baseball.com.
O’Connor on Florio:”Joe could be one of our biggest contributors as a freshman. With the potential loss of Mark Reynolds to the pro draft, it was critical that we sign an infielder that was able to come in and play extensively in his first year and Joe was our first choice. Joe has a natural left-handed swing and has proven he has the ability to hit to all fields with a lot of authority. He really hits the ball hard and can possibly be a big home run hitter as his career progresses. Joe is an excellent middle infielder and is a hard-nosed player who will give 100% at all times. Most importantly, Joe is a winner with tremendous leadership qualities. He plays the game with a great deal of passion and confidence. Joe is simply an outstanding all-around player who has a very bright future at UVa.”
Florio on his decision to choose Virginia:”UVa offers me the total package from both an academic and athletic standpoint. The ACC is second to none and this is where I felt the most comfortable continuing my career both in the classroom and on the diamond. I have gone on many college visits, but I have never seen as much excitement and enthusiasm about a program and coaching staff as the UVa players had for their own. This is the type of team that I want to be a part of. The new experienced coaching staff along with the devotion of the UVa administration to have one of the best teams in the country make me more than confident that the Cavaliers will soon be amongst the country’s elite.”
Brandon Guyer- Ranked the #172 national prospect by Baseball America/Perfect Game.- Attended the East Coast Professional Showcase and perfect Game Showcase (2003).- Gold Medal winner for Northern Team in the Virginia Commonwealth Games (2003).
O’Connor on Guyer:”Brandon is another guy who brings a lot of athleticism to the program. He is a big strong athletic third baseman with tremendous speed for his size and a lot of power at the plate. His speed on the bases, aggressive approach at the plate and powerful swing, make him a very exciting offensive weapon. Brandon is a very accomplished high school running back in football. He had to make a decision whether to play baseball or football in college and I am excited he chose to attend UVa. Brandon really developed as a baseball player over the summer and I am looking forward to seeing his development continue under the guidance of (hitting coach) Kevin McMullan. Brandon has the potential to make an impact in our program right away and he will be an exciting player to watch in the ACC Conference.”
Guyer on his decision to choose Virginia:”My decision to attend the University of Virginia was to be a part of the new direction the baseball program is taking to move it into national prominence. I was very impressed with the sincere passion that Coach O’Connor and his staff have toward the UVa baseball program. This coupled with the newly renovated stadium, challenging ACC schedule and overall great tradition of UVa will provide me with tools to succeed both as a baseball player and an individual. I am looking forward to being a part of the first UVa baseball team to make it to Omaha.”
Pat McAnaney- Ranked the 176th overall prospect in the nation and #4 in New Yorkby TeamOneBaseball.com.- First Team All-League and All-Central New York as a junior.- Second Team All-State as a sophomore and junior.- Team MVP as a junior.- Three-year starter at quarterback on football team.
O’Connor on McAnaney:”Pat is the sleeper of this group. He has not received the national publicity of other players because he did not attend any of the national recruiting showcases but, believe me, Pat McAnaney is legit! High caliber left handed pitching is difficult to find in the recruiting process, and Pat has all the tools to be a dominant college pitcher. He throws a fastball in the upper 80’s, with excellent command of his curveball and changeup, and really impressed our coaching staff with his competitiveness on the mound. Pat is also a great athlete who is an accomplished high school quarterback in football and plays basketball. I’m looking forward to Pat working with (pitching coach) Karl Kuhn and seeing him progress over the next few years. There is no limit on what Pat McAnaney can accomplish at the University of Virginia.”
McAnaney on his decision to choose Virginia:”I had a good feeling about the UVa baseball program and coaching staff after attending the fall camp and I really liked the fact I will get to play in the ACC seeing how it is one of the best conferences in the country.”
Ryan Ouellette- Ranked #218 prospect nationally by Baseball America/Perfect Game.- Ranked the #44 prospect in the state of Florida.- Listed #17 out of 410 prospects at Perfect Game UnderclassmenWorld Showcase as a junior.- Selected to the Class 6A All-State Team.- Competed in the 2002 Junior Olympics as a sophomore.- Promoted to varsity team at the end of his freshman year.
O’Connor on Ouellette:”We’re really excited about Ryan coming to the University of Virginia because he has great makeup. He’s a real competitor with a bulldog mentality, which I love. Ryan immediately caught our attention this summer with his strong arm (fastball 87-92 mph) and outstanding slider. He will need to develop a change-up and when he does, Ryan will be very successful in college baseball. We expect Ryan to quickly become a big influence on our pitching staff. Ryan also has the potential to contribute to UVa as a position player due to his athleticism, speed and arm strength. We will have to find out next fall if he can help the team on an everyday basis. Ryan has the potential to make a major impact on UVa baseball for the next few years.”
Ouellette on his decision to choose Virginia:”There are two main reasons I decided to attend UVa. The first reason is the connection I felt with the baseball coaching staff. I truly feel they inspire and instill in the players the meaning of working and playing as a team and I feel that team spirit will enable UVa to excel and succeed in the ACC. I feel no hesitation in my decision to be a member of the team that will be successful. I can’t wait to walk on the field and play ball in such a fantastic stadium. The second reason I decided to attend UVa is the honor of being able to attend such a highly respected, traditional and prestigious university. I feel UVa offers a comfortable and open environment to achieve my goal of acquiring an engineering degree. The qualities I admire most about UVa are the comfortable and friendly atmosphere that surrounds the community and campus, its many traditions and the diverse history that is the university.”
Robert Poutier- Grafton H.S. Baseball MVP (2003).- Selected to attend the Perfect Game in Jupiter, Florida.
O’Connor on Poutier:”Robert is a key recruit for us. He is one of the top pitchers in Virginia and we are very excited to have him in the program. Robert really developed over this past summer and fall as his fastball reached the upper 80’s. He has a loose, quick arm, which makes me believe he will improve his velocity, as he gets stronger. Robert also possesses an outstanding curveball, which will allow him to get college hitters out right away. We are very excited about Robert and what he can develop into. With Robert, we have a young man that has the size and arm strength to become a dominant pitcher at the collegiate level. The best is yet to come for Robert Poutier.”
Poutier on his decision to choose Virginia:”I chose to attend the University of Virginia because of its commitment to a championship caliber baseball program and its excellent School of Engineering.”
Michael Schwimer- All-Interstate Athletic Conference selection in 2002 & 2003.- All-Met Honorable Mention (2002).- Saint Player of the Year (2003).- Saint Gold Glove in 2002 & 2003.- Starting pitcher and first baseman on Gold Medal North Team in theVirginia Commonwealth Games.
O’Connor on Schwimer:”Michael is an outstanding prospect who has the physical ability to be a dominant power pitcher. Michael is what we look for in many pitchers. He’s a big guy with great athleticism and a good arm. Michael has the perfect pitchers body at 6’7″and with additional strength he should throw even harder during his career. He is difficult to hit because he is an imposing figure on the mound and his lower arm angle produces a lot of movement and sink on his fastball. We expect Michael to contribute on the mound in his first year because he throws strikes and knows how to compete. It will be exciting to watch his development.”
Schwimer on his decision to choose Virginia:”The reason I chose Virginia was because it is a great academic school with a baseball program that is headed in the right direction with coaches that can maximize my full potential as a baseball player.”
— UVa —