Georgia baseball adds 15 newcomers for 2021 season
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Georgia baseball adds 15 newcomers for 2021 season

UGA Baseball
Photo: Kristin M. Bradshaw/UGA

ATHENS, GA – Georgia’s Ike Cousins head baseball coach Scott Stricklin announced Monday that 15 student-athletes will be joining the Bulldog baseball program for the 2021 season.

“This is one of the best recruiting classes that we’ve put together since we’ve been at Georgia,” said Stricklin. “It’s big on numbers and big on talent. We feel like it has depth at every position. I want to thank Scott Daeley and Sean Kenny for their hard work in helping to put this dynamic class together.”

This year’s recruiting class (listed below in alphabetical order) will arrive from the high school ranks including 14 from Georgia and one from Pennsylvania:

Dwight ALLEN (OF, Milton, Ga., 6-1, 190, R-R, Woodward Academy)

Attends Woodward Academy where he plays for Jose Fernandez…Batted .321 with a home run, 21 RBI and 18 stole bases as a junior for the War Eagles…Made 30 starts in centerfield as team went 25-10, won region 4-AAAA and reached quarterfinals of the state playoffs…Also a three-year letterman in football as a running back/wide receiver with scholarship offers to play in college…Hit .400 for the War Eagles as a sophomore in 2018 when the team won the region title for the second straight year…Played summer baseball with the Mets Scout Team and Georgia Bombers and part of Perfect Game WWBA 17U National Qualifier and PBR Classic Champions…Son of Shelley and Dwight Allen.

“After considering many programs for football and baseball, I decided to choose UGA for its outstanding baseball and academic programs,” said Allen. “Also, I chose to stay close to home.”

Coach Stricklin on Allen: “DA is a very athletic outfielder that has potential to hit for power. He plays the game hard and has a high baseball IQ.”

Hank BEARDEN (RHP, Rocky Face, Ga., 6-0, 175, L-R, Northwest Whitfield HS)

Attends Northwest Whitfield where he plays for Todd Middleton…Posted an 8-2 record, 1.66 ERA with 89 strikeouts in 54.2 innings as a junior for the Bruins…Also batted .336 with five home runs and 26 RBI…Named 2019 All-Area and All Region Player of the Year…Named the 2018 All-Area Player of the Year as a sophomore after going 5-5 with a 2.01 ERA and four saves with 92 strikeouts in 62.2 innings…Played summer baseball with DRB Elite…Son of Anne and Russell Bearden.

“I choose UGA because it felt like a second home,” said Bearden.

Coach Stricklin on Bearden: “Hank is a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher that has a swing-and-miss slider. He’s very aggressive on the mound and is one of the top right-handed pitchers in the country.”

Collin CALDWELL (LHP, Powder Springs, Ga., 5-11, 190, R-L, Harrison HS)

Attends Harrison where he plays for Mark Elkins…Tallied a team-best 5-1 record, 1.66 ERA and team-leading 72 strikeouts in 56 innings as a junior for the Hoyas…Helped squad go 29-8 an win the Region 6-6A title and advance to the state semifinals…Named 1st Team All-County, All-Region and selected to Team Georgia…Played summer baseball with 643 Cougars and won the Perfect Game Memorial Day Championship…Son of Melissa and Chris Caldwell.

“After taking my visits, I knew I wanted to be a part of the culture and the team first mentality at UGA,” said Caldwell. “I know that Coach Stricklin and Coach Kenny will help me develop into the player and person I want to be.”

Coach Stricklin on Caldwell: “Collin has a chance to contribute right away as a match-up lefthander out of the bullpen, and he will develop into a starting pitcher. His fastball will reach 90 miles per hour, and he has a very good breaking pitch.”

Corey COLLINS (C, Suwanee, Ga., 6-3, 220, L-R, North Gwinnett HS)

Attends North Gwinnett where he plays for Ryan Moity…Batted .483 with 16 home runs and 50 RBI, all team-bests as a junior for the Bulldogs…Helped team to a 31-8 record, claimed the Region 6-7A title and advanced to the state semifinals…Named 2019 Gwinnett County Player of the Year and All-State honors plus been named All-Region and All-County in 2018 and 2019…Selected to participate in 2019 USA Baseball’s Prospect Development Pipeline…Tabbed Atlanta Braves 400 Club Metro Atlanta High School All-Star in 2019…Played summer baseball for the Georgia Jackets…Son of Lois and CJ Collins.

“From when I was growing up to when I met the Georgia coaching staff and every time I go to Athens, it just feels like home,” said Collins.

Coach Stricklin on Collins: “Corey is one of the best hitters in the country and has a ton of power and bat speed from the left side of the plate. He will be a run producer in the middle of our lineup. Defensively, he’s rated as one of the top catchers in the country with a great throwing arm.”

Max DeJONG (RHP, Powder Springs, Ga., 6-1, 200, R-R, Hillgrove HS)

Attends Hillgrove where he plays for David Richardson…Posted a 3-0 record and team-best 1.34 ERA with 55 strikeouts in 31 innings for the Hawks…Led team to a 32-10 record and state runner-up finish in the Class 7A playoffs…Earned All-State and All-Region honors in 2019…An Honor Roll student with a 3.5 GPA…Played summer baseball with the Nelson Baseball School…Son of Laura and Todd DeJong.

“I chose UGA because the coaching, the environment, and the team is the perfect fit for me,” said DeJong.

Coach Stricklin on DeJong: “Max can really pitch. He features a three-pitch mix with a fastball that gets into the low 90s. He’s a very hard worker and projects to only get better down the road.”

Fernando GONZALEZ (C, Marietta, Ga., 5-10, 180, R-R, North Cobb Christian School)

Attends North Cobb Christian where he plays for James Keane…Batted .373 with one home run and 29 RBI in 40 games for the Eagles…Primarily a catcher but saw action at third base, shortstop and went 1-0 with 15 strikeouts in six innings on the mound…Earned the Coach’s Award in 2019 as the squad went 38-8-3…Received the Outstanding Student in New Testament studies…Originally from Panama City, Panama…Played summer baseball with Team Elite/Braves Scout Team and won an elite title…Son of Yaravy and Alexander Gonzalez.

“I always wanted to be part of a brotherhood, and this is what UGA is about,” said Gonzalez. “I’m going to work hard every day to grow not only as a player but as a leader on and off the field.”

Coach Stricklin on Gonzalez: “Fernando moved to the United States two years ago and has established himself as one of the best catchers in the country. He is a natural leader and loves to play the game. He can hit for average and is developing some power.”

Parks HARBER (3B, Atlanta, Ga., 6-3, 215, R-R, The Westminster School)

Attends The Westminster School where he plays for Chad Laney…Batted .431 with 10 home runs and 46 RBI as a junior for the Wildcats…Helped team to a 25-13 mark and state runner up finish in the 2018 GHSA 3A region…Named First Team All-State and 2018 Class 3A Player of the Year plus honored by the Atlanta 400 Club as an All-Star…Also a three-year letterman on the football team where he served as the quarterback and led the team to the AAA state playoffs in 2018…A member of the National Honor Society and Honor Roll…Played summer baseball with 643 DP and Team Elite…Son of Harriet Huger and Gene Harber.

“I chose UGA because it has always been a dream of mine to put on the red and black,” said Harber. “The University of Georgia will provide me with an opportunity to play high-level baseball and receive a first-class education.”

Coach Stricklin on Harber: “Parks is one of the best right-handed hitting third baseman in the country. He has put up a lot of numbers in high school and the summer circuit these last few years. We feel like he will be an impact hitter and run producer in the middle of our lineup.”

Patrick HOLLOMAN (LHP, McDonough, Ga., 6-1, 195, L-L, Ola HS)

Attends Ola where he plays for Beau Edwards…Posted a 6-1 record, team-best 1.00 ERA with 63 strikeouts in 48.2 innings as a junior for the Mustangs as they won the state title with a 29-12 mark…Also batted a team-best.338 with seven home runs and 30 RBI in 2019…Named All-State and selected to Team Georgia…Played summer baseball with the Georgia Jackets…Son of Jennifer and Robbie Holloman.

“I chose UGA because it felt right and because it felt like home,” said Holloman.

Coach Stricklin on Holloman: “Patrick is one of the top left-handed pitchers in the country. He’s got a great breaking ball and a fastball that continues to get better. He can really pitch and could be a front-line starter for us.”

Caleb KETCHUP (SS, Marietta, Ga., 5-10, 160, R-R, Holy Innocents Episcopal HS)

Attends Holly Innocents Episcopal where he plays for D.C. Aiken…Batted a team-best .39 with four home runs, 62 RBI and 28 stolen bases as a junior for the Golden Bears…Named team’s Most Valuable Player, a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger recipient as the squad finished 16-12…Also earned letters in football…Played summer baseball with the Georgia Bombers and Mets Scout Team…Son of Sharolyn and Michael Ketchup.

“I chose the University of Georgia because it’s close to home and the facilities and atmosphere are the best that I have seen.” said Ketchup.

Coach Stricklin on Ketchup: “Caleb is a dynamic defender in the middle of the infield. He’s got a great first step and a plus throwing arm and the instincts to play up the middle. He can hit the ball to all fields and put pressure on defenses with his athleticism.”

Trippe MOORE III (OF, Forsyth, Ga., 6-0, 185, R-R, Mary Persons HS)

Attends Mary Persons where he plays for Clae Mathis…Batted .407 and led the team and region with seven home runs plus had 33 RBI and a school record 18 stolen bases as a junior for the Bulldogs…Excelled as a pitcher with a school record 1.01 ERA and 98 strikeouts in 76 innings…Posted a perfect fielding percentage with 10 assists, both school records…Helped team to 25-9 mark and the Region 2-AAAA region title…Named All-State and Region 2-AAAA Player of the Year…Also a three-year letterman as a wide receiver and punter/kicker…Scholar Athlete and Honor Student with the highest GPA among the baseball and football teams…Played summer baseball with the BigStix Gamers Prime, the Mets Scout Team…Son of Marie and Eddie Moore.

“I chose Georgia because that’s where I’ve always wanted to be,” said Moore III. “Georgia’s academic and athletic opportunities are like no other.”

Coach Stricklin on Moore III: “Trippe is a great athlete that can play all three outfield positions. He can handle the bat and will hit for average. We feel like he’ll turn into a run-producing power hitter.”

Will PEARSON (RHP, Watkinsville, Ga., 6-2, 170, R-R, North Oconee HS)

Attends North Oconee where he plays for Jay Lasley…Posted a 4-3 mark, nine saves, 1.71 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 45 innings pitched as a junior for the Titans as they went 27-6 and advanced to the state semifinals…Also saw action at shortstop and batted .281 with two home runs and 20 RBI in 2019…Named Co-Region Pitcher of the Year in Region 8-4A and to the Georgia Dugout 4A All-State 1st Team……An Honor Roll student an played basketball for two years…Played summer baseball with Team Elite…Father played college basketball at Alabama and was an assistant basketball coach at Georgia for nine seasons (2009-18)…Son of Ashley and Phillip Pearson.

“The University of Georgia provides a great opportunity to earn a valuable degree as well as compete in the best baseball conference in America,” said Pearson. “Coach Stricklin and his staff have a great reputation for player development as I look forward to continuing to improve my skills.”

Coach Stricklin on Pearson: “Will is an athletic right-handed pitcher that has a lot of life to every pitch he throws. He is a classic sinker, slider-type pitcher that has a fastball that is reaching into the upper 80s. He fields his position well and is very competitive.”

Garrett SPIKES (INF, Lawrenceville, Ga., 6-4, 195, L-R, Mountain View HS)

Attends Mountain View where he plays for Jason Johnson…Batted .330 with team-best five home runs and 33 RBI as a junior for the Bears…Also saw action on the mound, going 2-2 with a 0.80 ERA in 26 innings with 20 strikeouts to help the squad to a 20-12 record…Named 2019 Outstanding Player and 2018 Defensive Player of the Year…Currently career-leader in doubles, triples, RBI and second in home runs…Earned Gwinnett Daily Post All-County honors…Earned letters in football and wrestling including a three-time state placer in region 7A plus won the 2019 state tile in the 170-pound weight class…An Honor Student and earned Academic Letterman throughout prep career including Scholar-Athlete for baseball, football and wrestling with the highest GPA at 4.0…Played summer baseball with Team Elite and won the 2019 WWBA 17U Elite title…Son of Emily and Kenny Spikes.

“I believe that the coaching and competitive atmosphere at the University of Georgia is the best place to help me develop to my full potential,” said Spikes.

Coach Stricklin on Spikes: “Garrett could be the best athlete in this class. He’s a state champion wrestler, a great football player and an even better baseball player. He can play just about any position on the field, and he’s going to hit for a lot of power from the left side.”

Liam SULLIVAN (LHP, Sandy Springs, Ga., 6-6, 230, L-L, The Marist School)

Attends The Marist School where he plays for Mike Strickland…Registered a 10-1 record, 1.41 ERA with 78 strikeouts in 51 innings pitched as a junior for the War Eagles…Also saw action at first base and batted .336 with four home runs and 35 RBI as team went 26-8…Part of AAAA state semifinals squad in 2018 and earned All-Region honors in 2018 and 2019…Earned two letters in football and part of 2017 region champions…Participated in Buddy Baseball, Habitat for Humanity, Shelter Arms, Sunrise Assisted Living community service projects…Selected to Team Georgia…Played summer baseball with the 643 Cougars, Atlanta Braves Scout Team and Team Elite…Named to Georgia Dugout Club Top 100, two-time Pitcher of the Year for the 643 Cougars…Has two older brothers who played college baseball in Ryan (Rhodes College) and Patrick (University of Georgia 2016-present)…Son of Renee and Shawn Sullivan.

“I chose Georgia because of the success of the program and the excellent coaching staff,” said Sullivan. “Athens feels like home, and I am excited to compete in the SEC!”

Coach Stricklin on Sullivan: “Liam has a ton of upside. His fastball is reaching into the upper 80s now, and it will continue to increase. His breaking ball has a chance to be a plus pitch, and he has a good feel for a change-up. He’s big and strong and has a very high ceiling. We’re thrilled to have another Sullivan in our program.”

Luke WAGNER (LHP/OF, New Cumberland, Penn., 6-0, 175, R-L, Red Land HS)

Attends Red Land where he plays for Nate Ebbert…Two-way standout, posting an 11-2 record, 1.44 ERA and 117 strikeouts in 68 innings, all team-bests as a junior for the Patriots…Also saw action in centerfielder and batted a team-leading .385 with two home runs, 18 RBI and 18 stolen bases in leading the squad to a the 5A state title and 25-3 record…Participated in the POP League and POP High School All-Star Game…Lettered twice in basketball…Father Kyle and uncle Brett, who are twins, played baseball at Wake Forest in the early 1990s and went on to play professionally for a few seasons…Son of Heather and Kyle Wagner.

“I chose UGA because playing in the SEC and living in Athens was too much to resist,” said Wagner.

Coach Stricklin on Wagner: “Luke is probably the best all-around pitcher in this class. He’s a great athlete that has a really good feel for three pitches. He fields his position, he holds runners, and he’s got a really high baseball IQ and is an ultimate competitor. He will be a two-way guy for us as a pitcher/outfielder. He can handle the bat and can track down balls in the outfield too.”

Jaden WOODS (LHP, Warner Robins, Ga., 6-2, 190, L-L, Houston County HS)

Attends Houston County where he plays for Matt Hopkins…Posted a 9-2 record and 1.18 ERA in 58 innings as a junior for the Bears plus batted .314 with a .395 on base percentage and 18 RBI…Helped the Bears to the 6A Elite Eight of the playoffs and won the Region 1-6A title…Played summer baseball with the Braves Scout Team and Team Elite…Son of Shonto and Brian Woods.

“I chose UGA because it has always been my dream school but also the coaches made me feel as if I could reach my full potential here,” said Woods. “Also, the campus felt like home.”

Coach Stricklin on Woods: “Jaden is a left-handed pitcher that we’ve watched develop over the past two years. He had a standout summer. We’re thrilled to bring him on board. His fastball will get into the low 90s, and his breaking ball is a true out pitch. The sky is the limit for Jaden.”

GEORGIA BASEBALL RECRUITING CLASS FOR 2021 SEASON

Dwight ALLEN (OF, Milton, Ga., 6-1, 190, R-R, Woodward Academy)

Hank BEARDEN (RHP, Rocky Face, Ga., 6-0, 175, L-R, Northwest Whitfield HS)

Collin CALDWELL (LHP, Powder Springs, Ga., 5-11, 190, R-L, Harrison HS)

Corey COLLINS (C, Suwanee, Ga., 6-3, 220, L-R, North Gwinnett HS)

Max DeJONG (RHP, Powder Springs, Ga., 6-1, 200, R-R, Hillgrove HS)

Fernando GONZALEZ (C, Marietta, Ga., 5-10, 180, R-R, North Cobb Christian School)

Parks HARBER (3B, Atlanta, Ga., 6-3, 215, R-R, The Westminster School)

Patrick HOLLOMAN (LHP, McDonough, Ga., 6-1, 195, L-L, Ola HS)

Caleb KETCHUP (SS, Marietta, Ga., 5-10, 160, R-R, Holy Innocents Episcopal HS)

Trippe MOORE III (OF, Forsyth, Ga., 6-0, 185, R-R, Mary Persons HS)

Will PEARSON (RHP, Watkinsville, Ga., 6-2, 170, R-R, North Oconee HS)

Garrett SPIKES (INF, Lawrenceville, Ga., 6-4, 195, L-R, Mountain View HS)

Liam SULLIVAN (LHP, Sandy Springs, Ga., 6-6, 230, L-L, The Marist School)

Luke WAGNER (LHP/OF, New Cumberland, Penn., 6-0, 175, R-L, Red Land HS)

Jaden WOODS (LHP, Warner Robins, Ga., 6-2, 190, L-L, Houston County HS)

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