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Georgia signs 13 for 2020 season

UGA Baseball
Photo: Kristin M. Bradshaw/UGA

ATHENS, Ga. – Georgia’s Ike Cousins baseball coach Scott Stricklin announced Tuesday that 13 student-athletes will be joining the Bulldog baseball program for the 2020 season.

Twelve of the newcomers will arrive from the high school ranks in Georgia while one is a North Carolina native currently attending St. Johns River State College in Florida.

“We are excited about this talented class that will be coming to the University of Georgia,” Stricklin said. “This is another pitching-rich group along with some versatile position players that are excellent hitters. Coaches (Scott) Daeley, (Sean) Kenny and (Mitch) Gaspard have worked extremely hard to bring in another solid group, and we feel that these student athletes have a bright future as Bulldogs.”

Here’s a look at the latest Bulldog recruiting class (in alphabetical order):

Garrett Blaylock (INF, L-R, 6-3, 210, Asheville, N.C., St. Johns River State College)

Attends St. Johns River State College in Northeast Florida where he plays for Ross Jones…Spent his freshman year at Vanderbilt where he played for Tim Corbin as team went 35-27 and advanced to the NCAA Clemson Regional…Batted .231 with six RBI in 26 at bats, appearing in 18 games with three starts for the Commodores…Saw action 11 times at third base, twice at second base and once at shortstop and first base…A graduate of T.C. Roberson High in Asheville, N.C., where was a four-year letterman for Erik Filipek…Helped the Rams to a N.C. state title and conference crown as a senior in 2017 when he batted .391 with nine home runs, 35 RBI and 15 stolen bases as team went 31-3…Earned State Championship MVP, All-Conference, Co-Conference Player of the Year….Made the Honor Roll in his final two years…Summer baseball action with the Bristol Blues of the FCBL….Son of Curtis and Kim Blaylock…Garrett’s brother Nathan played baseball at Liberty for two years and then at Lander (S.C.).

“I chose the University of Georgia because I felt like it was a true fit from the beginning,” said Blaylock. “I felt like UGA would prepare me for whatever lies ahead, whether that will be wearing spikes or not.”

Coach Stricklin on Blaylock: “Garrett is a mature hitter that will hit for power and be an impact player on our infield. He has Division 1 experience and is now developing one year at a junior college. We expect Garrett to make an immediate impact on our team.”

Jonathan Cannon (RHP/1B, R-R, 6-6, 200, Alpharetta, Ga., Centennial HS)

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUV4UYHFRVY

Attends Centennial where he plays for Mike McCarthy…A two-way standout for the Knights, posting a 4-1 mark and 0.51 ERA with 46 strikeouts in 27 innings as a junior plus hit a team-best .368 with two home runs and 19 RBI…Earned First Team All-Region as an infielder and named team Offensive MVP…An Honor Roll student plus earned a pair of letters for basketball…Son of Ronnie and Heather Cannon…Jonathan’s father played basketball at Presbyterian.

“I chose UGA because I felt it was the best fit to better me as a student and as a baseball player,” said Cannon.

Coach Stricklin on Cannon: “Jonathan is a polished right-hander that has a lot of upside. He’s a strike-thrower that commands three pitches and is very aggressive in the strike zone. He’s also an accomplished hitter and could see some at bats in his college career.”

Will Childers (RHP, 6-4, 205, L-R, Evans, Ga., Lakeside HS)

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skJTBYQj4_A

Attends Lakeside where he plays for T.J. Davis…A three-year letterman in baseball and football including the starting quarterback as a sophomore and junior…Named an Under Armour All-American…Registered a 5-2 mark on the mound with a 2.06 ERA to earn All-Region, All-County honors in 2018…Also named top hitter in Columbia County by The Augusta Chronicle in 2018 after batting a team-best .429 with four home runs and 39 RBI…Played summer baseball with the Rawlings Southeast National squad…Son of Matt and Fran Childers…Will’s father was drafted in the ninth round out of high school by Milwaukee in 1997, made his Major League debut in 2002 with the Brewers and played professionally until 2009…Has an uncle, Jason who won a national title with Kennesaw State and reached the Major Leagues with Tampa Bay…Will’s uncle, Terry (UGA 1989-92), was the starting catcher on Georgia’s 1990 national championship team.

“I’ve been a Bulldog since I was a kid,” said Childers. “I’ve dreamed of putting on a UGA uniform. My uncle was a part of Georgia’s 1990 national championship team as the starting catcher and that has also inspired me.”

Coach Stricklin on Childers: “Will is a big, strong, physical right-hander with a fastball that will get into the mid 90s along with a really good slider. He comes from a baseball family, and we expect him contend for a lot of innings as a freshman.”

Buddy Floyd (INF, B-R, 5-7, 150, Covington, Ga., Pope HS)

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ub8CkhOzHsY

Attends Pope where he plays for Jeff Rowland…Batted a team-best .346 with one home run, 25 RBI and a team-leading 28 stolen bases as the Greyhounds went 34-8 to capture the state title in 2018…Named the GHSA 6-A Player of the Year and the team MVP…Played summer baseball with the 643 Cougars 17U squad…Son of Robbie and Mary Floyd.

“I’m excited to play at the highest level for Georgia, and it’s close to home,” said Floyd.

Coach Stricklin on Floyd: “Buddy is an exciting player that can do just about everything on the baseball field. He can run, defend, swing the bat and steal bases. He’s a player that’s fun to watch and will become a fan-favorite very quickly.”

Kameron Guidry (INF, R-R, 5-11, 175, Snellville, Ga., Redan HS)

Attends Redan where he plays for Alex Wyche…Batted .314 with six home runs and 30 RBI as a junior at Brookwood where he played for Titus Martin…Brookwood went 29-12 and reached the semifinals of the state playoffs…Named First Team All-Region…An Honor Roll student and also lettered on the swimming team…Played summer baseball with DRB Elite and won the 2018 Perfect Game Super 25 17U Georgia Super Qualifier…Son of Bryant and Linda Guidry.

“Growing up in Georgia, I’ve always dreamed of being a Bulldog,” said Guidry. “It will also give my family and friends the opportunity to see me play.”

Coach Stricklin on Guidry: “Kameron is a polished middle infielder with a lot of upside. He can handle the bat and is a base-stealing threat. He’s versatile and can play anywhere on the infield”.

Spencer Keefe (INF, R-R, 6-3, 209, Canton, Ga., Woodstock HS)

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cln7nvV90YU

Attends Woodstock where he plays for Jeff Brown…Batted .361 with seven home runs, 25 RBI and 11 stolen bases as a junior for the Wolverines who finished 32-7 with a No. 3 ranking in Class 7A…Earned All-State Honorable Mention, 1st Team All-Region and All-County honors…A member of the Beta Club…Played summer baseball with the East Cobb Astros and named MVP of the 2018 Perfect Game World Series…Son of James and Julie Keefe.

“After visiting many colleges and baseball facilities in Georgia and other states, I knew UGA was the right fit for me,” said Keefe. “I loved the campus, the baseball amenities and most of all what Coach Stricklin had to say about the program.”

Coach Stricklin on Keefe: “Spencer is a big, strong physical athlete that plays shortstop in high school. He can play a lot of different positions and will hit for a lot of power. He’s one of the fastest players in the 2019 class.”

Bryce Melear (RHP, R-R, 6-2, 165, Evans, Ga., Grennbrier HS) {Pronounced: muh-LEER}

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pzc58pMlI1k

Attends Greenbrier where he played for Jason Osborn for three seasons and now David Barnes…Posted a 10-1 record, 0.92 ERA, 99 strikeouts and only 18 walks in 72 innings as a junior for the Wolfpack…Helped the team go 25-9 as they advanced to the elite eight of the 2018 playoffs…Named Region Co-Pitcher of the Year, All-Area Pitcher of the Year and Top Pitcher by The Augusta Chronicle…Played summer baseball with Team Georgia…Part of the Perfect Game 17U WWBA Championship …Son of Drew and Connie Melear.

“Georgia is a great school with great coaches and a great program,” said Melear. “I bleed red and black.”

Coach Stricklin on Melear: “Bryce is a command first right-handed pitcher. He fills up the strike zone with three different pitches and works at a great pace. He’s always been a strike thrower and with increased strength could become a power-type pitcher that has plus command.”

Michael Polk (RHP, R-R, 6-3, 185, Milton, Ga., Cambridge HS)

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMnO3a4viDU

Attends Cambridge where he plays for former Georgia pitcher Evan Tieles (UGA 2008-10)…Led team with a 5-1 record, 2.15 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 26 innings as a junior for the Bears who advanced to the playoffs…Named a National Merit Scholar…Played summer baseball with Team Georgia and claimed titles at the East Cobb Invitational, PG World Series, WWBA Southern qualifier and WWBA National Qualifier…Son of Stuart and Tanja Polk.

“When I visited UGA, I immediately knew it was the best place for me,” said Polk.

Coach Stricklin on Polk: “Michael is a right-handed pitcher with a lot of upside. He’s got a loose, easy arm that touches the low 90s and there’s a lot more in there. He’s got a really good breaking ball and change-up to go along with his fastball. He can really pitch and is only to get better.”

Brandon Smith (RHP, B-R, 6-2, 200, Woodstock, Ga., River Ridge HS)

Video Link: https://www.prepbaseballreport.com/news/GA/Game-Notes–River-Ridge-vs-Valdosta-Game-1.-2378910654

Attends River Ridge where he plays for Scott Bradley…Batted .308 with three home runs and 31 RBI as a junior for the Knights…Earned team’s Relief Pitcher of the Year Award…Played summer baseball with East Cobb Astros and won 18U WWBA Championships…Named to multiple All-Tournament teams for both hitting and pitching…Son of Ken and Theresa Smith.

“UGA has always felt like home, and I believe it is where I am meant to be,” said Smith.

Coach Stricklin on Smith: “Brandon is a big, strong, physical right-hander who is already throwing in the low 90s. He’s made a jump in the last six months. He has a chance to be a very high-profile pitcher for us.”

Josh Stinson (INF/OF, R-R, 6-1, 180, Lawrenceville, Ga., Grayson HS)

Attends Grayson where he plays for Jed Hixson…Batted .360 with three home runs, 23 RBI and team-best nine stolen bases as a junior for the Rams that went 24-14 and advanced the quarterfinals of the 2018 state playoffs…Part of back-to-back region championships…Named Georgia Dugout Player of the Month in April and named to the Top 100 in 2017 and 2018…Earned Scholar-Athlete distinction for baseball and football the past two years…Also a four-year letterman in football including member of the 2016 7A championship team and reached the quarterfinals of the 2018 state playoffs…Played summer baseball with Team Elite…Son of David and Cynthia Stinson.

“The University of Georgia combines the best of all worlds – a number one education, many research opportunities, and a place to grow and learn more about myself and the world around me,” said Stinson.

Coach Stricklin on Stinson: “Josh is a very versatile player that can play all over the diamond. He’s a great runner that possesses very good baseball instincts. Everything he does is very smooth, and he’s got a lot of upside. Also, he’s a wide receiver on the football team.”

Ryan Suppa (RHP, R-R, 6-2, 205, Acworth, Ga., North Cobb Christian HS) {Pronounced: SUPP-uh}

Attends North Cobb Christian where he plays for Jimmy Keane…Posted a 5-1 mark with a 1.48 ERA and team-high 74 strikeouts in 43 innings plus hit .311 with two home runs and 23 RBI as a junior for the Eagles…Named an All-Cobb All-Star in 2016 and 2017…Son of Al and Kimberly Supppa…Ryan’s father played hockey for the University of Wisconsin.

“As soon as I stepped on campus, I felt at home,” said Suppa. “Coach (Sean) Kenny and Coach (Scott) Stricklin have tons of baseball knowledge, which I felt will make me better as a player and as a person.”

Coach Stricklin on Suppa: “Ryan is an athletic right-hander with a lot of life on his fastball. He’s got a swing-and-miss slider. He’s a very good athlete and a fierce competitor.”

Cain Tatum (RHP, 6-8, 200, R-R, Auburn, Ga., Winder-Barrow HS)

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gdnhxp0KIJc

Attends Winder-Barrow where he plays for Brian Smith…Posted a 10-3 record, 1.15 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 26 innings as a junior for the Bulldoggs…Helped squad go 24-9 and reach the the state playoffs…Son of Dana and Anne Tatum…Cain’s father played basketball at Hampton and his brother Ari played football at Houston.

“UGA felt like a good fit for me, and I felt like my skills in baseball will progress during my time at UGA,” said Tatum.

Coach Stricklin on Tatum: “Cain has the highest ceiling of any player in this class. He’s 6-8 right-hander and a really good athlete. His fastball is now in the low 90s and will continue to get better. He’s got a good feel for his off-speed pitches too.”

Lane Watkins (OF/C/1B, 6-2, 190, L-R, Hoschton, Ga., Jefferson HS)

Attends Jefferson where he plays for Tommy Knight…Batted .363 with one home run and a team-high 19 RBI as a junior for the Dragons who captured their first state title in 2018…Also went 3-5 on the mound with a 3.05 ERA as the Dragons went 28-12 to win the Class 4A title…Named 1st Team All-State and All-Region…Played summer baseball with Team Georgia and won the WWBA National Championship…Son of Kim and the late Reed Watkins.

“It’s always been my dream to play baseball at the University of Georgia,” said Watkins. “I’m honored to have this opportunity.”

Coach Stricklin on Watkins: “Lane is a physical left-handed hitting athlete that can play a lot of positions. He helped his team win a state championship last season and really plays the game hard.”

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