Nov. 23, 2009

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — After securing two top-six recruiting classes in his first two seasons at the helm of the Kentucky baseball program, UK head coach Gary Henderson announced Monday that nine talented prospects have signed national letters of intent.

“We are really excited about our 2010 class,” Henderson said. “The last two years, we have had top-ranked classes and this group of student-athletes is every bit as good. One of the best things about this class is that we have a solid group of Kentucky kids who come to UK. We are extremely excited that we could keep these Kentucky guys home for their college careers.”

In his first season as head coach, Henderson, recruiting coordinator Brad Bohannon and assistant coach Brian Green – a former recruiting coordinator at UCLA – signed the fourth-best recruiting class in college baseball, as ranked by Baseball America before the 2009 season. Earlier in the fall, Collegiate Baseball ranked UK’s current freshman class as the sixth-best class in the NCAA.

Kentucky’s 2010 class is highlighted by left-handed pitcher Corey Littrell, widely regarded as the top prospect in Kentucky and a standout at powerhouse Louisville Trinity. A two-way player for the Shamrocks, Littrell fanned 141 hitters in 111 innings in 2009, charting a 0.72 ERA. With Littrell’s signing, it marks the sixth time in the last seven years that Henderson and UK have signed the top prospect in the state of Kentucky.

A year after loading up with a slew of young talented arms for the 2010 season, UK went out in the early signing period and found some of the best young hitters in the high school ranks, including 6-foot, 215-pounder Dallen Reber, a native of St. George, Utah. An infielder and right-handed hitter, Reber has led his high school team to three consecutive second-place state championship finishes, earning first-team All-State accolades in 2009. As a junior, Reber batted .407 with 29 runs, 33 hits, four doubles, seven homers and 30 RBI.

West Virginia outfielder Gavin Patton adds to the talent-rich class, coming from South Charleston, W.Va. Patton, a 6-foot-1, 205-pounder has belted 17 home runs the last two seasons. In 2008, at George Washington High School, Patton hit .490 with a school-record 14 homers and 54 RBI.

Infielder Matt Reida has drawn comparisons from the UK staff to current UK All-Southeastern Conference infielder Chris Bisson and comes from a strong baseball background. A 5-foot-11 left-handed hitter, Reida teamed with current UK freshman left-handed pitcher Taylor Rogers on the 2009 Midland Redskins, winning the 2009 Connie Mack World Series title in Famington, N.M. Reida, who hit .429 with three homers, 17 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 2009, is the brother of current West Virginia assistant coach Tad Reida.

In addition, UK signed two talented two-way prospects out of area high schools, including right-handed pitcher and infielder Trevor Gott and Frankfort, Ky., native J.T. Riddle, also a right-handed pitcher and infielder. Gott, a 6-foot, 190-pounder, earned All-State accolades in 2009 after leading Tates Creek High School in hitting (.382) and ERA (1.12). Riddle, a 6-foot-3, 175-pound left-handed hitter, batted .478 with six doubles, two homers and 11 RBI, adding a 3-3 record and a 1.64 ERA, fanning 67 in 47 innings.

Kentucky has continued to dip into the talent pool at Lexington Christian Academy, inking LCA standout outfielder Lucas Witt, who doubles as the record-breaking quarterback. Witt, a two-time All-State selection, hit .377 with eight doubles, four homers and 20 RBI in 2009. Also a two-time All-State selection in football, Witt owns over 100 touchdown passes in his four-year career, owning LCA records in completions, attempts, passing yards, quarterback rushing yards, quarterback rating and starting games as a quarterback.

UK also signed Danville, Ky., native Blake Perry, a projectable 6-foot-5 right-handed pitcher who is currently prepping at the Pendleton School at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Perry, is rated as the second-best prospect in the state, behind Littrell.

In addition to the in-state products, UK signed Paul McConkey, a talented infielder out of Knoxville, Tenn. McConkey, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound left-handed hitter, batted .482 with eight home runs in 2009, earning All-Region and All-District accolades.

Trevor Gott, RHP/IF, 6-0, 190 (Lexington, Ky., Tates Creek High School)

Trevor GottLexington product comes to UK from Tates Creek High School … Two-way prospect named second-team All-State as a junior … Led Tates Creek in hitting (.382) and ERA (1.12), earning first-team All-City accolades … Was named a second-team preseason All-American by Perfect Game in 2008-09 … Named Rookie of the Year as a freshman, with a 2.95 ERA … As a sophomore, led Tates Creek in hitting (.338) and strikeouts, earning first-team All-City accolades.

Henderson on Gott …

“Trevor is a good athlete and has tremendous arm strength. He had a lot of success in his baseball career at a young age and we have watched him for a long time. His body is begining to get some strength, which is going to help him tremendously on the mound.”

Corey Littrell, LHP, 6-1, 185 (Louisville, Ky., Trinity High School)

Corey LittrellWidely regarded as the top prospect in the state of Kentucky … Dynamic left-handed pitcher earned All-State honors in 2009 for coach Steven Tompkins at Trinity High School … Struck out 141 in 111 innings in 2009, totaling a startling 0.72 ERA and a 13-2 record with one save and just 39 walks … Participated in the East-Coast Professional Showcase in Lakeland, Fla. … At the plate in 2009, hit .375 with 19 runs, seven doubles, two triples, two homers and 18 RBI … Named All-District as a sophomore in 2008, with Trinity winning the District Championship … Led team to the state-semi championship in 2009 … A first-team Academic All-State selection in 2008 and 2009, in addition to making the honor roll every quarter at Trinity … Played basketball as a freshman.

Full name is Corey David Littrell … Son of Jack Littrell and Kathy Perkins … Father played baseball in the Dodgers and Expos organizations, with grandfather playing in the Athletics and Cubs organizations.

Henderson on Littrell …

“Corey has an advanced ability to pitch for his age. He can already command his fastball and he has a very good change-up that he can throw for a strike. We expect him to pitch early and often during his UK career. He is a serious competitor that we have a chance to build a staff around. He will need to make the same adjustments that they all do but I expect him to compete for innings immediately.”

Paul McConkey, IF, 5-11, 175 (Knoxville, Tenn., Halls High School)

Paul McConkeyTalented infielder earned all-region and all-district honors in 2009 as a junior at Halls High School in Knoxville, Tenn. … Hit .482 as a junior with 14 doubles, eight homers, 37 RBI and nine stolen bases … Set the school record for doubles in a season and the most double plays turned in a career … Named an academic honors student in 2007 and 2008 … As a sophomore, hit .384 with 12 doubles, three homers and 25 RBI, swiping six bases … Led team to the district tournament as a freshman, sophomore and junior … Coached by Doug Polston … Played football as a freshman, earning four letters in baseball.

Full name is Paul Michael McConkey … Son of Mike and Janet McConkey … Has one sister, Emilee (22) … Father played baseball at Tennessee, sister played softball at Austin Peay University.

Henderson on McConkey …

“Paul has a very good feel to hit and he can play all three infield spots. He also plays the game with a lot of confidence and poise. That is hard to find in a 17-year old. He is an extremely good competitor who is serious about being a great baseball player. His attitude and make-up are strong. He will bring an approach that will make those around him better.”

Gavin Patton, OF, 6-1, 205 (South Charleston, W.Va., Pendleton School)

Gavin PattonSlugging outfielder set the George Washington High School record with 14 home runs as a sophomore in 2008, hitting .490 with a school-record 54 RBI and 22 stolen bases … As a junior in 2009 at the IMG Academy, hit .418 with eight doubles, three homers and 39 RBI, stealing 10 bases … Participated in the Perfect Game National Showcase in Minneapolis, Minn., and the Florida Diamond Club Showcase in the fall of 2009 … All-State honors in 2007 and 2008 … Was selected to participate in the 2010 power showcase … Coached by Kevin Sharp.

Full name is Gavin Hunter Patton … Son of David and Cindy … Has three brothers, Nicholas (19), Regan (15) and Trevor (12) … Mothers brother Lorin Grow played six years in the Cincinnati Reds organization … Cousin Tyler Dabo pitched for BYU.

Henderson on Patton …

“Gavin already looks like a SEC outfielder, he’s big, strong and moves well for his size. He brings a combination of speed and power that is hard to come by. We are very excited about him becoming a Wildcat. He plays extremely hard, competes at a high level and will bring an energy to our club that fans and teammates will enjoy.”

Blake Perry, RHP, 6-5, 180 (Danville, Ky., Pendleton School)

Blake PerryTall right-hander ranked as the No. 2 prospect in Kentucky … Selected to play in the 2009 Southwest Florida Fall Showcase game … Spent two baseball seasons at Boyle County High School in Danville, Ky., lettering in baseball twice and basketball three times … Transferred to IMG Academy during spring of 2009 … Helped Boyle County finish as the Region 12 runner-up in 2008, posting a 4-0 record with two saves and hitting .317 … Played on the summer team Morse Mustangs in Danville, coached by Paul Morse, a former UK player … Tallied a 5-0 record with two saves, a 0.95 ERA, striking out 63 in 44 innings.

Full name is Blake Christian Perry … Son of Glynn and Marketi Perry … Has an older brother, Bryce Perry (20), a sophomore at Kentucky … Born Feb. 3, 1992 in Charleston, Ill. … Father played baseball for Kansas State and was drafted by the New York Yankees.

Henderson on Perry …

“Blake has good body control and feel to pitch for a large-frame pitcher. He shows solid command of three pitches and falls into the category of very projectable. He wants to be an outstanding pitcher and I anticipate him being a great worker. He has tremendous potential and we are excited to watch him develop.”

J.T. Riddle, RHP/IF, 6-3, 175 (Frankfort, Ky., Western Hills High School)

J.T. RiddleTwo-way talent is a three-time All-District selection at Western Hills High School for coach Craig Fry … Batted .478 with six doubles, two homers and 11 RBI in 2009, adding a 3-3 record and a 1.64 ERA on the mound with 67 strikeouts in 47 innings … As a sophomore posted a 5-1 record and a 2.60 ERA, striking out 55 in 55.1 innings … Offensively as a sophomore, hit .470 with 17 RBI and seven doubles … Has stolen 16 bases in three seasons … Owns single season records for hits (47), batting average (.478) and ERA (1.64) … Named academic honorable mention … Played four seasons of basketball.

Full name is Joshua Travis Shane Riddle … Son of Shane Riddle and Laketa Ritchie … Stepfather is Buddy Ritchie … Has a younger sister, Lakenzia (12).

Henderson on Riddle …

“J.T. is a gifted athlete that is talented enough to be a two-way player in the SEC. He is like most kids we get in that he needs to develop more strength. J.T. has a good swing, moves well defensively and is clearly a talented pitcher. He has had a lot of succes in everything he has done in high school. We are glad to have him with us and are eager to see how he develops.”

Matt Reida, IF, 5-11, 170 (Russiaville, Ind., Western High School)

Matt ReidaTalented infielder comes from a baseball family, as brother Tad is an assistant coach at West Virginia … Teamed with current UK lefty Taylor Rogers on the Midland Redskins, helping lead them to the 2009 Connie Mack World Series title in Famington, N.M. … Hit .429 with 36 hits, 32 runs, six doubles, three homers, 17 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 2009 … Named first-team All-Conference and All-Area as a sophomore and junior, earning team MVP honors as a junior … Three-year letterwinner for coach Ty Calloway … A four-year letterwinner in basketball … A member of the National Honor Society … Led basketball team to the conference and sectional championship as a freshman.

Full name is Matthew Joseph Reida … Born Nov. 24, 1991 in Kokomo, Ind. … Son of Chad and Shelly Reida … Has an older brother Tad (24) and sister Tiffany (22) … Brother coaches baseball at West Virginia and played collegiately at Wichita State and Indiana … Sister Tiffany played basketball at Indiana State.

Henderson on Redia …

“Matt is a tremendous competitor. He brings a seriousness and a level of competitiveness that will put him in the center of our club immediately. Matt brings very good baseball skills, great feel for the game and a winner’s presence. He will eventually be a leader, an outstanding leadoff hitter and a middle-infield presence for our club.”

Dallen Reber, IF, 6-0, 215 (St. George, Utah, Dixie High School)

Dallen ReberTalented slugging infielder has led his high school team to three consecutive second-place state championship finishes … Named first-team All-State, as selected by the Deseret News … Hit .407 in 2009 with 29 runs scored, 33 hits, four doubles, one triple, seven homers and 30 RBI … Drew 13 walks in 81 at bats, striking out only five times … Reached base safely in 27 of 28 games in 2009 … Played third base primarily, also seeing time at shortstop … Led football team to state semi-finals.

Henderson on Reber …

“Dallen brings a winner’s personality and a lot of athleticism. He is an absolute winner with very good baseball skills. He is the type of kid that other kids like to be around. He has a combination of strength, speed and skills that we are very excited to bring to our program.

Lucas Witt, OF, 6-2, 185 (Lexington, Ky., Lexington Christian Academy)

Lucas WittFour-year letterwinner for coach Keith Galloway at Lexington Christian Academy … Named All-State in 2008 and 2009 … In 2009, batted .377 with eight doubles, four homers and 20 RBI, stealing 13 bases … As a sophomore hit .378 with 22 runs scored, four doubles, nine RBI and nine stolen bags … In 2007, hit .417 with 14 runs, two doubles, five RBI and five stolen bases … Star quarterback, named All-District Player of the Year as sophomore, throwing over 100 touchdown passes in his four-year career … Holds school records in completions, attempts, passing yards, quarterback rushing yards, quarterback rating and starting games as a quarterback … All-State quarterback in 2008 and 2009 … A U.S. Army Football All-American nominee … Led team to state runner-up finish in football as a sophomore … Baseball team won All-A State Championship in 2009.

Full name is Lucas Austin Witt … Son of Elmer and Kathy Witt … Son of longtime Fayette County Sheriff Kathy Witt … Has an older sister, Morgan (21), who attends UK … Both parents attended Kentucky … Sister, Morgan cheered for UK.

Henderson on Witt …

“Lucas is an outstanding athlete and an every better young man. He has had a lot of success in both baseball and football at the high school level. He brings with him the knowledge of what it takes to be successful. He is a great competitor, knows how to work and he will make those around him better. We are very excited to see how he develops once he devotes himself to baseball full-time.”

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