LEXINGTON, Ky. ? Following the most successful season in the 102-year history of Kentucky baseball, head coach John Cohen has announced the signing of nine talented players to National Letters of Intent to play baseball at UK in 2008.

?We are very excited about this group of kids,? Cohen said. ?The 2007 group was ranked No. 21 in the country by Collegiate Baseball and we feel like this group is even better, especially in regards to having an immediate impact. It is definitely the most athletic group of kids that we have signed during a fall signing period in my four years at Kentucky.?

After the school?s first Southeastern Conference Championship in 2006, the UK coaching staff is continuing to build a winning tradition, beginning with nationally regarded recruiting classes.

?We are finally to the point where we have developed some quality depth within our program, especially on the mound,? Cohen said. ?We feel like the majority of the kids in this class will add to the middle and top of our roster.?

Chris Bisson, SS, 5-10, 170 (Orleans, Ontario/Beatrice-Desloges)

One thing that has remained a constant in Cohen?s four years is a commitment to recruit talented players from the Northern regions of the country. Another product from Canada, Chris Bisson (pronounced BISS-own), is an athletic shortstop who will have the potential to impact the UK infield in 2008. Bisson, whose high school does not field a baseball team, has been playing shortstop for the Ottawa-Nepean Canadians for the last two years. After leading the Ontario Provincial 17U team to the Gold Medal in the Canada Cup Championship this past August, Bisson was one of 30 players invited to the Baseball Canada Junior National fall instructional league team in October.

?Chris is an extremely athletic middle infielder who we feel like has tremendous upside,? Cohen said. ?There just aren?t a lot of true shortstops out there. He moves easy, he is a ?plus? runner, and he hits from the left side. We feel like Chris is the best amateur infielder in all of Canada and we think he will develop into a top-level SEC shortstop during his time at Kentucky.?

Logan Darnell, LHP/OF, 6-2, 185 (Joelton, Tenn./Goodpasture Christian HS)

Logan Darnell, widely regarded as one of the best players in Tennessee, picked Kentucky over a bevy of offers.

A four-year letterman for Richie Estep at Goodpasture Christian High School in Madison, Tenn., Darnell played for Team Tennessee in the 2006 junior Sun Belt Classic in McAlester, Okla. this past June. In his junior season, Darnell earned an 11-3 record while striking out a school-record 129 and tallying a 1.24 ERA in 79 innings of work. Darnell?s sophomore campaign was equally successful, earning a 2.39 ERA, an 8-2 record, and 86 strikeouts in 64 innings of work. Darnell is an accomplished athlete in football as well, playing both sides of the ball in leading his team to an undefeated record and a No. 1 ranking in the state.

?Logan is a great athlete who has a chance to be a two-way player for us,? Cohen said. ?He has a lot of arm strength and a good curveball that he can throw for strikes. We feel like he could leave Kentucky as a very high draft pick in three years.?

Scott Davis, INF, 5-9, 165 (Harveys Lake, Penn./Lake Lehman HS)

Scott Davis, a hard-nosed player from Pennsylvania, can play any of the infield positions. Davis spent the summer of 2006 playing in a local collegiate summer baseball league, batting .585, slugging .638, and reaching base at a .872 clip. During Davis?s sophomore season at Clarion-Limestone HS, he batted .426 and earned a 1.71 ERA, striking out 53 in 41 innings. Davis has received significant accolades during a stellar high school career in Pennsylvania, including All-Conference, All-State, and Tri-County All-Star honors.

?Scott can really run and he plays with a tremendous amount of energy,? Cohen said. ?He is a very tough and competitive young man. He reminds me a lot of [St. Louis Cardinals shortstop] David Eckstein.?

Navarro Hall, OF, 6-1, 185 (Kennesaw, Ga./Kennesaw Mountain HS)

Navarro Hall will bring a lot of speed and athleticism to Kentucky. Hall played for the Brewers in the East Coast Professional Showcase in Wilmington, NC this past August after spending the summer with the Atlanta Blue Jays. As a junior at Kennesaw Mountain High School, Hall batted .421, while blasting two home runs, plating 16 runs, and stealing 22-of-23 bases.

?Navarro is a phenomenal athlete and has a very good approach at the plate,? Cohen said. ?He projects to be a prototype leadoff hitter and center fielder at Kentucky. With his work ethic and level of maturity, I don?t have any doubt that he will just keep getting better.?

Mike Kaczmarek, LHP/OF, 5-11, 175 (Tinley Park, Ill./Victor Andrew HS)

Mike Kaczmarek is a highly regarded prospect from Illinois who will likely contribute to the pitching staff early in his career. Kaczmarek earned a 1.73 ERA, striking out 86 in 60.2 innings as a junior. Also very solid at the plate, batting .420, with 14 doubles, five home runs, and 37 RBI as a junior. After a highly successful junior campaign, Kaczmarek earned significant national recognition, ranking as the sixth-best prospect in Illinois by Prep Baseball Report and earning an invitation to the Chicago White Sox Silver and Black games and the 2006 Area Code Games in Long Beach, Calif. Kaczmarek played this past summer for coach Bill Copp and the Cangelosi Orioles.

?Mike is very athletic and has tremendous feel for three solid pitches,? Cohen said. ?On the mound he reminds me a lot of Andrew Albers, and he has a very good left-handed swing.?

Dan Killian, C, 6-3, 180 (Stanwood, Mich./Chippewa Hills HS)

With the graduation of slugging catcher Sean Coughlin after the 2007 season, one of the points of emphasis for the coaching staff was to recruit some depth at the backstop position. Dan Killian will enter Kentucky as one of the best high school catchers in the nation. Rated as the 166th best prospect in the country by, Killian batted .480, ripping 12 doubles and 10 home runs, garnering All-Conference and All-District honors as a junior at Chippewa Hills HS.

Killian participated in the USA Tournament of Stars this past June in Joplin, Mo., as well as the 2005 and 2006 East Coast Professional Showcase in Wilmington, NC. Killian?s oldest brother, Billy, was a UK signee in the Fall of 2003 and eventually a third-round draft pick by the San Diego Padres in the June 2004 MLB Draft.

?We feel like Dan is one of the best high school catchers in the country,? Cohen said. ?He catches and throws as well as anybody we saw all summer and I think he will hit with power once his body fills out. He could be a very high draft pick in June.?

Chris McClendon, 3B, 5-11, 180 (Lufkin, Texas/Texarkana College)

Chris McClendon comes to UK from Texarkana College. McClendon ranked 14th in the Region XIV conference in batting with an average of .386, plus blasting six home runs, 16 doubles, 49 runs, and 46 RBI en route to earning first-team All-Conference honors. He was also selected to participate in the Texas-New Mexico Junior College Athletic Association All-Star game this past October in Waco, Texas. McClendon also established himself as an excellent high school player before moving on to Texarkana College. McClendon earned All-District and All-State honors playing for coach Don Randell at Lufkin High School.

?Chris plays with a tremendous amount of energy and he can flat-out hit,? Cohen said. ?We feel like he can step in and be a top-of-the-order, SEC hitter right away.?

Ian Tomkins, C, 6-3, 200 (Wilmette, Ill/Loyola Academy)

The UK coaching staff added another talented catcher in Illinois product Ian Tomkins. Tomkins, ranked the No.1 catcher and the No. 11 overall prospect in Illinois by Prep Baseball Report, was selected to participate in the 2007 Perfect Game National Showcase and the annual Silver and Black games operated by the Chicago White Sox organization. As a junior at Loyola Academy, Tomkins batted .322, with 37 hits, 13 doubles, and five home runs, while driving in 29. During the summer of 2006, Tomkins batted .423, with 11 hits, four doubles, and 12 RBI.

?Ian is one of the top catchers in the Midwest,? Cohen said. ?He can really throw, and with strength he should develop into an outstanding SEC player. His level of maturity and work ethic will fit in very well here at Kentucky.?

Michael Wheeler, OF, 5-10, 200 (Lebanon, Tenn./Walters State CC)

Michael Wheeler, a 28th round draft pick by the Kansas City Royals in the 2006 MLB Draft, will come to UK after spending two years at Walters State CC in Morristown, Tenn. Last season, Wheeler batted .413 with 16 home runs and 68 RBI while leading Walters State to the NJCCAA National Championship. As a freshman, Wheeler was one of the best hitters in all of Tennessee junior college baseball, leading the TJCCAA with 81 hits and ranking second and third respectively in RBI and home runs.

Before attending Walters State, Wheeler was a four-year letterman for coach John McNeal at Friendship Christian HS in Lebanon, Tenn. Wheeler was named the 2005 Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association MVP after a senior season in which he batted .503 with 23 doubles, 16 home runs, and 60 RBI. Wheeler showed tremendous power in high school as well, blasting 51 career home runs. Also a four-year football player, Wheeler garnered All-State honors three years and was a finalist for Mr. Football in 2005.

?Michael has that rare combination of having power and very little ?swing and miss?,? Cohen said. ?He is a tough kid and we think he will be a middle-of-the-order hitter at Kentucky.?

 Signee Pos. Ht. Wt. B/T Hometown/Previous School Chris Bisson SS 5-11 170 L/R Orleans, Ontario/Beatrice-Desloges Kevin Carby INF 6-0 185 S/R Tulsa, Okla./Texarkana College Logan Darnell LHP/OF 6-2 185 L/L Joelton, Tenn./Goodpasture Christian HS Scott Davis INF 5-9 165 S/R Harveys Lake, Penn./Lake Lehman HS Navarro Hall OF 6-1 185 L/R Kennesaw, Ga./Kennesaw Mountain HS Mike Kaczmarek LHP/OF 5-11 175 L/L Tinley Park, Ill./Victor Andrew HS Dan Killian C 6-3 180 L/R Stanwood, Mich./Chippewa Hills HS Chris McClendon 3B 5-11 180 L/R Lufkin, Texas/Texarkana College Ian Tomkins C 6-3 200 S/R Wilmette, Ill./Loyola Academy Michael Wheeler OF 5-10 200 R/R Lebanon, Tenn./Walters State CC 

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