FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. –– Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn announced the signing of 22 baseball players for the 2007 season to national letters of intent on Monday.
The 22-player haul was one of the largest recruiting classes in Arkansas baseball history. Van Horn, along with recruiting coordinator Todd Butler and pitching Coach Dave Jorn signed six left-handed pitchers, six right-handed pitchers and four more right-handed pitchers that can also hit and play in the field. The class includes four outfielders and four infielders with three of those players able to catch as well. The class contained 18 high school players and four junior college players.
“I believe there are seven or eight guys in this recruiting class that could be difference makers for us,” Van Horn said. “This is one of the best recruiting classes both on the mound and offensively that I have ever had. We got a good combination of power hitting and speed to go with an impressive group of left and right-handed pitchers.”
Van Horn’s success during his tenure in Fayetteville has raised the Hogs visibility on a national scale and paid dividends on the recruiting trail.
“Our success over the past few years and the way we play on the field is really starting to pay off for us in recruiting,” Van Horn said. “We are on the radar of a lot of the top kids across the country. This year was a really good year for us because there were a lot of quality players in this area.”
Another bonus for the Hogs’ recruiting class was the high number of athletes with outstanding grades and test scores. College baseball programs across the country are limited to 11.7 scholarships and the high number of players in the UA recruiting class receiving academic money this year allowed the Hogs to bring in more players than usual.
“A lot of the kids in our signing class have tremendous grades,” Van Horn said. “That enabled us to stretch our scholarship dollar further and recruit more players.”
Below you will find a brief biographical sketch of each of the 22 players in the Razorbacks’ recruiting class and a roster of the new class.
2007 Arkansas Baseball Signees
Chris Bergmann, LHP
Houston, Texas (Memorial)
Chris Bergmann is the No. 1 starting pitcher on a well-known Memorial High School team in Houston … posted a 14-2 record with a 2.48 ERA as a junior … earned first-team all-region and first-team all-district honors in 2005 … a left-handed pitcher that throws in the mid 80s with good command … a wiry pitchers that the Razorback coaching staff believes has a lot of potential … throws a fastball between 87-89, a curveball and a changeup … chose Arkansas over Ole Miss, Tulane, TCU and Baylor.
Tony Butler, LHP
Oak Creek, Wis. (Oak Creek)
Tony Butler is a big 6-foot, 7-inch left-handed pitcher that had outstanding statistics during his junior year of high school … as a junior was named the Wisconsin Coaches Association State Player of the Year and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Area Player of the Year … went 11-1 as a in 2005 and has a 24-2 record at Oak Creek High School … a player the coaching staff has kept their eye on over the past couple of years … has increased his velocity from 81-82 mph to 88-90 currently … a player that can come in and make an impact for the Hogs right away … chose Arkansas over Nebraska, Arizona State, LSU, Kentucky, Auburn and Minnesota.
Evan Cox, RHP/INF
Maumelle, Ark. (North Little Rock)
Evan Cox is a hard-nosed baseball player … a two-way performer that has a lot of power from the right-side of the plate … was named the MVP of the 2004 AAAAA State Tournament and was an all-state performer in 2005 … has a tremendous arm in the infield where he played third base in high school … on the mound Cox has an 88-92 mph fastball … also features a curveball, slider, changeup and split-finger fastball … a very good competitor … chose Arkansas over Ole Miss.
Chris Davis, 3B/1B/RHP
Longview, Texas (Navarro [Texas] CC)
Chris Davis is a big, strong left-handed hitting, right-handed throwing infielder slash pitcher … was drafted in the 50th round by the Yankees in 2004 out of high school in Longview, Texas … is one of four junior college players signed by the Razorbacks for the 2007 season … played first base, third base and is a right-handed pitcher … is expected to be Navarro Community College’s closer for the upcoming season … on the mound, he can reach the low 90s … chose Arkansas over Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Ole Miss.
Dylan Duren, INF
Tulsa, Okla. (Union)
Dylan Duren is a big, athletic infielder that has outstanding tools at the plate … missed almost his entire junior season at Union High School in Tulsa with back problems … appears to be 100 percent recovered … one of the top hitter in the state of Oklahoma … has shown excellent power and good presence at the plate … a player that coaches feel has impact potential … will battle for playing time at shortstop in 2007 … chose Arkansas over Arizona and Oklahoma.
Tyler Henson, SS/2B
Tuttle, Okla. (Tuttle)
Tyler Henson joins the Hogs with outstanding athletic credentials … the quarterback of the Tuttle [Okla.] High School football team that is undefeated and in the mist of the Oklahoma 3A State playoffs … a big strong player that can really run … know more for his glove and speed than his bat at this point … Arkansas coaches believe that his bat will be there … Henson could be an impact player right away for the Hogs … chose Arkansas over Oklahoma State and Oklahoma.
Travis Hill, RHP
Spokane, Wash. (University [Wash.] HS/Seminole [Okla.] State JC)
Travis Hill is a right-handed pitcher out of Seminole [Okla.] Junior College that commands three pitches … under control professionally right now after being drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 42nd round of the 2005 MLB Draft … his role could be as a starter or a reliever for Arkansas … has a good arm that can go into the low 90s … chose Arkansas over Oklahoma State and Oklahoma.
Dallas Keuchel, LHP
Tulsa, Okla. (Bishop Kelly)
Dallas Keuckel (KI-cul) is an outstanding young left-handed pitcher out of Tulsa’s Bishop Kelly High School … posted a 7-1 record last season with a 1.98 ERA and 61 strikeouts … throws strikes and competes hard … has a very good curve ball and really mixes his pitches well … has a chance to make an impact with the Razorbacks as soon as he steps foot on campus … very good student … chose Arkansas over South Carolina, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma.
Scott Limbocker, LHP
Overland Park, Kan. (Blue Valley North)
Scott Limocker is a big left-handed pitcher that throws a lot of strikes … continues to get better and better … won five games for Blue Valley North High School in 2005 … did not possess a breaking ball until this summer, following his junior season … picked up the curve ball quickly and it is now an outstanding pitch … a really good student that has a chance to make an impact right away … chose Arkansas over Miami (Fla.), Tulane, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, Missouri and Kansas.
Travis Mosley, RHP
Rockwall, Texas (Rockwall)
Travis Mosley is a right-handed pitcher out of Rockwall High School that isn’t very big at 5-foot, 10-inches and 165 pounds, but he competes very hard … possesses a fastball in the upper 80s … would come in a strengthen the Hogs’ bullpen immediately … a bulldog attitude that has a knack for getting people out.
Sam Murphy, RHP
Omaha, Neb. (Westside)
Sam Murphy is a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher out of Omaha Westside High School … throws in the upper 80s all of the time and will touch the low 90s … locates well with a bulldog attitude on the mound … intelligent with outstanding grades … Arkansas coaches believer Murphy is the best pitcher in the Omaha area … can come in and make a difference early in his career … also recruited by Kansas, Creighton and Kansas State.
Jeff Nutt, OF/C
Wylie, Texas (Wylie HS/Navarro [Texas] CC)
Jeff Nutt is a left-handed hitting catcher/outfielder … an outstanding hitter … put up big numbers this fall at Navarro Community College and had a great summer in a wood bat league where he led the league in hitting with a .311 average … a hard-nosed kid that will find a spot in the lineup because of his tools at the plate … will make an impact in the lineup right away … chose Arkansas over Oklahoma and Texas Tech.
Joe Patterson, OF/C
Owasso, Okla. (Owasso)
Joe Patterson is another football quarterback out of Oklahoma where his Owasso Rams qualified for the State Playoffs … an excellent athlete that catches and plays the outfield on the baseball diamond … a left-handed hitter that has camped in Fayetteville for many years … first commit for Coach Van Horn’s class back in the spring … put up good numbers as a junior … known for his outstanding bat … will battle for playing time.
Chad Pierce, C/RHP
Fond Du Lac, Wis. (Fond Du Lac)
Chad Pierce is another high school quarterback with outstanding athletic ability … ace pitcher for his high school baseball team … recruited as a catcher … batted .322 for Fond Du Lac High School … will also get a chance to contribute on the mound for the Hogs … went 7-2 with a 1.03 ERA in 61.1 innings as a junior … also threw seven complete games and stuck out 77 … has a very good arm and catches when not pitching … good receiver behind the plate … physical enough to come in a battle as a freshman … very good student … also recruited by Minnesota.
Stephen Richards, LHP
Plano, Texas (Plano East)
Stephens Richards is a left-handed pitcher that the Arkansas coaches did not see until late in the fall … came to one of the Arkansas camps and really impressed the coaching staff … really good student … strike-throwing lefty that throws in the mid 80s plus at 150 pounds … as he develops and gets strong has a chance to really develop and pick up velocity.
R.J. Seidel, RHP
LaCrosse, Wis. (Central)
R.J. Seidel is a 6-foot, 6-inch right-handed pitcher … has a great arm and great body for a pitcher … posted a 6-4 record with a 1.86 ERA, seven complete games and 69 strikeouts in 60.2 innings of work in 2005 for Central High School … has tremendous potential on the mound … another player that will draw a lot of pro interest … throws the ball in the upper 80s to low 90s and could throw the ball a lot harder than that after a few years in a Razorback uniform … could really make an impact as a freshman … father, Dick, pitched for the University of Arizona and in the New York Yankees farm system … chose Arkansas over Nebraska, Arizona State and Minnesota.
Stuart Slakey, RHP
Gunter, Texas (Gunter)
Stuart Slakey is another tremendous athlete that plays shortstop and pitches on his high school team … recruited by Arkansas as a right-handed pitcher … selected to the 2004 and 2005 Texas 2A all-state teams … on the mound, posted a 6-4 record with a 1.36 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 2005 … hit .431 with eight home runs and 29 RBI at the plate … played in a smaller classification but he has a good arm in the upper 80s to low 90s … is only going to get better with more strength and a little age.
Tim Smalling, INF/RHP
Raleigh, N.C. (Broughton)
Tim Smalling was discovered by the Arkansas coaching staff in one of their camps … considered one of the top two-way players in the Carolinas … an infielder and a pitcher that will have the opportunity to play both positions in a Razorback uniform … an intelligent player with outstanding grades … has a chance to come in and see significant playing time.
Murray Watts, 1B
Murray Watts is a big, strong, left-hand hitting first baseman that throws from the right side … possesses great size at 6-foot, 7-inches and 250 pounds … physically will continue to get stronger … has tremendous power and can really put on a show in batting practice … has a chance to play right away with that kind of power … considered one of the best players in the state of Arkansas … batted .445 with seven home runs at Jonesboro High School in the spring of 2005 and .488 with 13 home runs with Jonesboro’s AAA American Legion team this past summer … also recruited by Oklahoma State, Missouri and Memphis.
Ty Weeden, INF/C
Edmond, Okla. (Sante Fe)
Ty Weeden is a big, strong, right-handed hitter … considered one of the best, if not the best hitter in the state of Oklahoma by professional scouts … can hit for average and power … has a good arm … pitches for his high school team … recruited by Arkansas as a catcher and first baseman that can play outfield if needed … quarterbacks Santa Fe’s undefeated football team … has 1,139 yards passing and 825 yards rushing to lead the Wolves … and chose Arkansas over Alabama, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma.
Duke Welker, RHP
Puyallup, Wash. (Woodinville [Wash.] HS/Seminole [Okla.] State JC)
Duke Welker is a 6-foot, 6-inch right-hander out of Seminole [Okla.] Junior College … under control by the Seattle Mariners after being drafted in the 39th round of the 2005 MLB Draft … he was also drafted the Mariners in the 34th round of the 2004 MLB Draft out of Woodinville [Wash.] High School … should make an immediate impact for the Razorbacks … also recruited by Oklahoma State and Oklahoma.
Brandon White, LHP
Little Rock, Ark. (Little Rock Catholic)
Brandon White is a left-handed pitcher out of Little Rock that the coaching staff found at one of the Razorback baseball camps … a strike-throwing left-handed pitcher … a fastball, curveball, changeup pitcher that throws in the mid 80s … selected to the 2005 Arkansas all-state baseball team.