Nov. 14, 2006
The Notre Dame baseball program - led by first-year head coach Dave Schrage - has signed 10 highly-regarded high school seniors to national letters of intent during the 2006 early signing period. The class is headlined by three righthanded pitchers - 6-foot-8 Evan Danieli (East Hanover, N.J.), 6-foot-3 Brian Dupra (Rochester, N.Y.) and 6-foot-4 Ryan Sharpley (Marshall, Mich.) - who each are rated among the nation's top-40 pitching prospects, plus middle-infield standout Greg Sherry (Mendham, N.J.), who is rated fifth among the nation's pure shortstops. The signees also include another hard-nosed middle infielder in shortstop Mick Doyle (LaGrange Park, Ill.), plus two strong defensive catchers - Cameron McConnell (Bannackburn, Ill.) and Matt Katich (New Castle, Pa.) - and three players who are expected to boost the lineup's power potential: outfielder/first baseman Ty Adams (Indianapolis), first baseman David Casey (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) and catcher/first baseman Matt Scioscia (Westlake Village, Calif.), the son of 13-year Major League player and current Anaheim Angels manager Mike Scioscia. Casey is a lefthanded-hitting power threat who also should see time for the Irish as a lefthanded relief pitcher while Sharpley - brother of current Notre Dame football/baseball player Evan Sharpley - likewise could be a two-way player with the Irish baseball team.
The most updated version of the Perfect Game Crosschecker prospect rankings (as of Nov. 14, 2006) lists four of the Notre Dame signees among the nation's top-120 overall prep prospects: Danieli (27th), Dupra (59th), Sharpley (111th) and Sherry (159th). Only six schools - Arizona State, Clemson, Oregon State, Cal State Fullerton, Texas and Virginia - have more signees currently listed among the Perfect Game top-160 prospects, and four of those teams (OSU, CSF, Texas and UVa) each are just one above the Irish with five signees in the top-160.
Notre Dame joins North Carolina and Oregon State as the only teams with two or more pitcher signees among the top-60 prospects and those three teams also are the only ones with three-plus pitchers in the top-120 (excluding those listed as two-way players). The only teams with more signees than Notre Dame (2) in Perfect Game's current top-60 are ASU (5), UCLA (4), Fullerton (4), UNC (3), Clemson (3) and Oregon State (3).
Danieli - who was one of 38 total players named to the prestigious Aflac All-America team as a junior - is the 14th overall pitcher (9th righthander) listed on the most recent Perfect Game prospect rankings while Dupra is 25th (17th RHP) and Sharpley 40th among all pitchers (31st RHP), excluding two-way players. Sherry is the 58th position player on the prospects list (not counting players who also are listed as pitchers) and has the lofty standing of fifth among players who are listed by Perfect Game as pure shortstops.
Perfect Game also has a list of top overall prospects - including both college and high school players - for the 2007 Major League draft and Danieli impressively is 58th on that list while Dupra is 136th.
All 10 of the Notre Dame signees currently are listed anywhere from 27th to 610th on the Perfect Game national prospects list, a significant feat when considering that there are more than 300 teams currently playing Division I baseball. Casey is 450th on the most recent Perfect Game list, followed by McConnell (499), Adams (555), Katich (575), Doyle (606) and Scioscia (610).
|Notre Dame Baseball Signees - Fall 2006|
|Ty Adams||LF/1B||6-7/230||R||Indianapolis, IN||Brebeuf Jesuit HS|
|David Casey||1B/LHP||6-4/225||L||Whitefish Bay, WI||Whitefish Bay HS|
|Evan Danieli||RHP||6-8/225||East Hanover, NJ||Seton Hall Prep|
|Mick Doyle||IF (SS)||6-1/185||R||LaGrange Park, IL||Benet Academy|
|Brian Dupra||RHP||6-3/195||Rochester, NY||Greece Athena HS|
|Matt Katich||C||6-2/205||R||New Castle, PA||Mohawk HS|
|Cameron McConnell||C||6-2/190||R||Bannockburn, IL||Deerfield HS|
|Matt Scioscia||C/1B/DH||6-2/235||R||Westlake Village, CA||Encino Crespi HS|
|Ryan Sharpley||RHP/IF||6-4/185||R||Marshall, MI||Marshall HS|
|Greg Sherry||IF (SS)||5-11/180||R||Mendham, NJ||Delbarton HS|
Jerry Ford - founder of the Perfect Game showcases and one of the nation's most respected talent evaluators - passed along the following comments about Notre Dame's impressive signee class.
"Success is no stranger to new Notre Dame coach Dave Schrage and his staff. His first recruiting class with the Irish was a huge success and has the makings of ranking among the top-10 classes in the nation," says Ford. "Top-ranked players from coast-to-coast and some outstanding pitching prospects have signed to play for the Irish. This class should form the nucleus to keep Notre Dame baseball a national contender in the coming years.
"This is a very solid class from a talent standpoint but one of the most impressive things is the high likelihood that all 10 will end up in school. Most schools will be on the fence with players who are ranked among the top because of the competition from professional baseball but the Irish signees have indicated a strong preference for playing baseball at Notre Dame.
"This is a strong first effort for Dave Schrage and Scott Lawler and we have no doubt they'll carry on the winning tradition established by Pat Murphy and Paul Mainieri. They have addressed a lot of the team's needs for 2008 and beyond, with the chance to have three pitchers who will emerge as high-round picks when they become eligible for the draft as college juniors.
"Overall, this class has the normal Schrage theme with very strong pitching, good defensive catchers, strong middle infielders and potential middle-of-the-order power hitters," adds Ford. "Also in typical Schrage fashion, he has put together a very strong coaching staff headed by Scott Lawler and Sherard Clinkscales. The staff went out and signed four of the top-ranked recruits in the country and a few real gems that others might have overlooked. That is normal stuff for Schrage, as over the years he has recruited and coached a large number of relative unknowns who went on to have successful professional careers. Notre Dame fans are going to love Schrage's teams. He's simply one of the very best baseball coaches in the country."
Perfect Game's individual comments on the Irish signees follow below (as do comments from Schrage, further down in the release, which also includes a bio. capsule and quote from each player):
Comments by Perfect Game's Jerry Ford on the 2006 Notre Dame baseball signee class:
"Evan Danieli ranks as one of the top pitching prospects in America. He repeats his delivery well, features a 90-plus fastball and what sets him apart from others is his breaking ball and ability to pitch. He's a prized recruit. ... Brian Dupra has no problem throwing 93-94 and he projects to be a steady mid-90s pitcher or better. He will have an immediate impact on the Irish program. ... Ryan Sharpley features a low-90s fastball and projects `off the charts.' Danieli, Dupra and Sharpley give the Irish three pitchers all capable of being first-round picks in the future. ... Greg Sherry is an outstanding middle infielder who brings a very strong overall game and could have a quick impact on Notre Dame program. ...
"David Casey has monster potential with the bat and could easily come into his own and start breaking Irish power hitting records. He also has a chance to be a quality lefthanded pitcher. ... Cameron McConnell will bring top-level catching tools and a big-time arm to Notre Dame. He is perhaps the top defensive catcher in the entire Midwest and a great find for the Irish. ... Ty Adams is a very big, strong hitter with upper-deck type power potential. He should be fun to watch develop. ... Matt Katich, like McConnell, is an excellent catch-and-throw guy who can hit. These two give the Irish two outstanding defensive catchers for years to come while Matt Scioscia could provide a middle-of-the-order bat. ... Mick Doyle is an excellent all-around middle infielder who, much like Sherry, does everything very well. Irish fans will love to watch Sherry and Doyle playing up the middle. ... Matt Scioscia has the obvious bloodlines and talent to become one of the nation's top hitters. The big, strong catcher could provide a lot of future power to the Notre Dame lineup."
Characteristic of the university's geographically-diverse student body - and in line with a Notre Dame all-time baseball roster that includes players from 44 states - the 10 signees hail from throughout the nation, touching eight states ranging from the west coast (California) to the Midwest (Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana) and the northeast (New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania). The 10 signees boast an average height of 6-foot-3, led by Danieli (6-8), Adams (6-7), Casey (6-4) and Sharpley (6-4).
The compilation of the impressive signee class falls in line with Schrage's track record at the University of Evansville, as his final group of recruits with the Aces recently was rated by Baseball America as the nation's No. 21-ranked recruiting class (for the current freshman group). He is reunited at Notre Dame with his top assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Scott Lawler, who served in a similar role on Schrage's staffs for a total of five seasons at Evansville and Northern Illinois.
"Scott and I had to hit the ground running but it was beneficial that we had so much experience in the recruiting process," says Schrage. "We had a good idea about some of the players that would be strong fits for Notre Dame. The most difficult part was recruiting without knowing the current team. We were three weeks behind the rest of the country but we gained ground quickly and were able to get several top players to commit to official visits.
"We went after the best players available throughout the country. We tried to identify some of the top pitchers and were able to sign three who will be able to contribute on a high level right away. We wanted to recruit great athletes, with a focus on pitching and defense while also solidifying the catching position and depth in the middle infield. We signed two shortstops who are tremendous two-sport athletes and we signed two solid defensive catchers."
Notre Dame - which owns one of the nation's highest victory totals (278) spanning the past six seasons (46 per season) - currently features a roster with six players would exhaust their eligibility at the end of the 2007 season, with several members of the junior class also being potential high-round picks in the 2007 Major League draft. The current senior class includes catcher Sean Gaston, outfielder Danny Dressman and two-way player Mike Dury (LHP/1B), plus righthanded pitchers Dan Kapala (who has an extra year of eligibility left) and Jess Stewart. Graduate student Matt Weglarz, a catcher/first baseman who played as an undergrad at Missouri State, also is set to play his final college season in 2007.
Schrage and his staff are encouraged for the future, based on the combination of the 2006 signee class and the current group of freshmen that recently was rated the nation's No. 30 class by Collegiate Baseball magazine and was just outside the Baseball America list of the top-25 classes (first listed among "best of the rest" in the Midwest).
"We signed some top-flight players and filled some voids in areas where we need to improve," says Schrage. "We now have two strong classes to build on for the future, with some great potential leaders among those groups.
"In addition to singing three pitchers who could make an immediate impact on the weekend rotation, we needed to add more power hitters. The current freshmen class has added a lot of speed but we feel the addition of Casey, Adams and Scioscia will provide some big-time power hitters to the lineup. Casey also is a bonus, as a two-way guy who can help as a lefthander out of the bullpen.
"Sherry and Doyle will be great kids to have in the middle infield, they are tremendous players both talent-wise and with their personal character. We feel that you always need to have two or three strong catchers in your program and the addition of McConnell, Katich and Scioscia will combine with our current freshman Ryan Smith to make the catcher one of our biggest strengths going into the future."
In summary, Schrage's excitement over the signee class extends beyond their playing ability to their potential to fit into the program at Notre Dame.
"Character is a big factor in our recruiting process. At Notre Dame, you want talented players to take you far in the NCAAs but you also want people who are going to lead your team and be team players," says Schrage. "When we do home visits, we see how they act to their parents, how they respect their siblings and how they respect us in the homes. On the phone and in home visits, we break down our needs and guys who fit in terms of GPAs and test scores, And then we find a kid we want because of is character. You have to go after the most talented kids who also are fits for your program.
"We signed players from coast-to-coast, from Los Angeles to New Jersey. Scott Lawler did a great job of identifying the right guys who fit Notre Dame. I also want to thank all the people who were involved in the recruiting process - Boo Corrigan, Mike Danch, Chuck Lennon, Bill Leahy, Charmelle Green, Laura Metzger-Kerls, Mike Joseph and the admissions office. Our current players also were great hosts and always are the best recruiters once the high school schools are on their campus visits."
FAR AND WIDE - McConnell and Doyle are set to join an ND baseball program that has featured 145 previous monogram winners from the state of Illinois, including current sophomore RHP Brett Graffy (Joliet) and freshman outfielder Billy Boockford (Glen Ellyn), plus 2006 senior outfielder Alex Nettey (Dolton) ... others of note from Illinois include1964 All-America shortstop Rich Gonski (Chicago) while the recent years have seen many top players from the state, among them Mike Amrhein, Randall Brooks, Tim and Ryan Kalita, Bob Lisanti, Peter Ogilvie, Alec Porzel and Darin Schmalz ... Dupra could become the 83rd New York to letter with ND baseball, following in the footsteps of 2006 All-America first baseman and Plainview native Craig Cooper (current sophomore OF Ryan Connolly hails from Binghamton) ... former ND All-America outfielder Dan Peltier ('87-'89) grew up in Clifton Park, N.Y. ... Adams continues a long trend of top in-state talent from Indiana, with the current roster including senior catcher Sean Gaston (Brownsburg) and senior LHP/1B Mike Dury (Indianapolis) ... the program's 77 all-time monogram winners from Indiana also have included the likes of All-America pitcher Aaron Heilman (Logansport) and two-sport star Jeff Samardzija (Valparaiso) ... Danieli and Sherry will join an ND program that has featured 45 previous letterwinners from New Jersey, including All-America RHP Nick Palihnich (West Orange) in the late 1950s and recent players such as outfielder Rowan Richards (Bloomfield) and All-America closer Ryan Doherty (Toms River) ... Michigan also has produced a large number of ND baseball monogram winners (40), including current senior RHP Dan Kapala (Royal Oak) and recent All-America outfielders Eric Danapilis (St. Joseph) and Ryan Topham (Portage) ... Katich could become the 38th Pennsylvania native to earn an ND baseball monogram, with previous players from that state including recent Academic All-America outfielder Brian Stavisky (Port Allegany) ... California likewise has produced its share of ND baseball letterwinners (32), among them 1964 All-America catcher and Compton native Walt Osgood and several recent players, including current senior outfielder Danny Dressman (San Jose) and 2006 senior outfielders Steve Andres (Napa) and Cody Rizzo (Temecula) ... most of the program's 28 monogram winners from Wisconsin played during the first half of the 1900s, with Casey set to be the program's first Wisconsin monogram winner since fellow Whitefish Bay native (and current big-leaguer) Craig Counsell in the late 1980s ... Counsell's father John Counsell (Oconomowoc) also played for the Irish and later was an ND assistant while early-1980s outfielder Rick Chryst (Plateville) currently is commissioner of the Mid-American Conference.
(Note: Bio. capsules on each of the 10 signees follow below, as do quotes from each player and quotes from coach Schrage on each signee; some additional bio. data may be added later for some of the signees, in addition to links to articles on the various players.)
Adams Bio. Notes - Rated 555th on Perfect Game's most recent list of the nation's top high school prospects (Nov. 14, 2006) ... starting first baseman at Brebeuf Jesuit during each of his first three seasons, also serving as one of the school's top basketball players ... current ND baseball assistant coach Sherard Clinkscales had a similar two-sport career at Brebeuf Jesuit in the late 1980s ... earned first team all-county and baseball team MVP honors as a junior in 2006, after leading team in batting (.515) and tying the school home run record (9, in 72 ABs) ... only sophomore named first team all-county in 2005 ... named Brebeuf's freshman male athlete of the year in 2004-05 (also tabbed "freshman of the year" by the Indianapolis Star), after earning honorable mention all-county honors and leading team with .446 batting avg. ... helped 2005 team win sectional and regional titles, as a top-8 team in Class 3A ... played during the summer of 2006 with the Indiana Bulls 17-and-under travel team ... three-year starter on the Brebeuf basketball team, earning honorable mention all-county honors as a freshman, sophomore and junior ... invited to the IHSBCA's "Top-100 Underclassmen Showcase" as a freshman and sophomore ... named basketball team's most improved player as a freshman ... received 2006-07 U.S. Army Reserve Scholar-Athlete Award ... a high-honors student and member of the National Honor Society ... nominated for the Bart McCormick and Ellen Foster scholarships ... his father Skip Adams played baseball at Wabash from 1968-1971 while his mother (the former Linda xxxx) was a cheerleader at DePauw ... his sister, Dr. Kristin Adams, ran cross country and track at Bowdoin from 1993-1996, captaining both teams and running in two NCAA Division III NCAA cross country races ... his other sister Courtney Adams ran cross country and track at Stanford from 1996-2000, captaining both teams and helping the cross country team place third at the NCAAs before being a finalist in the NCAA 3,000-meter indoor race ... his grandfather David Swanson graduated from Notre Dame in 1947.
Schrage on Adams - "Ty is a great story, in that he is such a tremendous athlete who was recruited by Division I basketball schools. His primary role for us will be as a first baseman and outfielder. He is a great athlete and a very quick runner for his size. Ty can hit for average and for power and we hope that he combines with his classmates Matt Scioscia and David Casey who can add some power and steady RBI production to the lineup."
Adams on His Decision - "As a sophomore, I visited the campus for a football game and was immediately impressed by Notre Dame's school spirit and tradition. From that point forward, I was very interested in the school. I knew Notre Dame was the right place for me as soon as I stepped on campus for my official visit. I think it was a combination of academic and athletic excellence - as well as the legendary network of Notre Dame alumni and friends - that convinced me this was where I belonged. I also believe that there is just something very special about the University and I wanted to be a part of that."
Casey Bio. Notes - Rated 450th on Perfect Game's most recent list of the nation's top high school prospects (Nov. 14, 2006) ... has earned three letters with the varsity baseball team at Whitefish Bay HS ... set to serve as co-captain of the Blue Dukes for the second straight season, as a senior in 2007 ... repeated as team MVP in 2006, also earning first team all-state, all-area, all-district and all-conference after batting .533 with 44 RBI and a .911 slugging pct. for team that went 19-11 ... his sophomore season included first team all-conference and second team all-district honors (.466 batting, 40 RBI, .585 slugging; 23-11 record) ... his two-year pitching stats in 2005 and '06 include a 2.81 ERA, 11-4 record and an average of better than one strikeout per inning pitched ... has played fall ball with the Racine Hitters ... selected to play on Team Wisconsin after attending state-wide tryout combine ... earned starting first base role with Team Wisconsin in 2006, batting .400 with a pair of home runs as team went 3-1-1 versus state teams from Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Kentucky and Nebraska ... played for the Wisconsin Shockers team that is coached by ND alum John Murphy (who earned a letter with the Irish in 1985, as a third baseman, and currently has a daughter attending Notre Dame) ... named to the all-tournament team at the 2006 CABA Ultimate High School World Series (Euclid, Ohio), after helping the Shockers go 5-3 for a fifth-place finish among some 50 teams from across the nation ... hit .476 with 11 RBI at that tournament (3 H) while going 2-1 on the mound (1.79 ERA, 13 Ks in 15 IP) ... selected to play in the "2006 Milwaukee Brewers Classic" baseball game, held at Miller Park on Aug. 7, 2007 ... was the starting first baseman in that game, featuring 40 of Wisconsin's top high school players (1-for-3, 2B) ... has benefited from the hitting instruction of Dan Hines and RJ Fergus(Racine Hitters) ... also plays for the Whitefish Bay varsity basketball team ... hails from same hometown and high school as former ND standout and longtime Major Leaguer Craig Counsell (who has won World Series titles with the Florida Marlins and Arizona Diamondbacks) ... Counsell and his father father John Counsell (a former ND baseball player and assistant coach) have been loyal supporters of the Whitefish Bay area's local baseball organization, the Friends of Bay Baseball ... his father Bill Casey served as Columbia University's primary starting pitcher for its varsity baseball team in the mid 1970s, in addition to being a member of Columbia's varsity basketball team.
Schrage on Casey - "David is our first player from Wisconsin since Craig Counsell, who is from the same hometown and high school in Whitefish Bay. We hope he can fill a void for us as a situation lefthanded pitcher while also serving as a top lefthanded bat. David will play mostly at first base and is a player who could provide a big boost to the lineup due to his lefthanded power. He will try to find his way into the lineup right away, mainly due to his ability with the bat. He was a very good pickup for us later in the recruiting process."
Casey on His Decision - "I chose Notre Dame because it had an incredible combination of academics and athletics, and I felt great about the coaching staff. I felt Notre Dame gave me the best opportunity to develop both on and off the field and to be a part of a College World Series winning team."
Danieli Bio. Notes - Rated 27th on Perfect Game's most recent list of the nation's top high school prospects (Nov. 14, 2006) ... he is the 14th pitcher (9th RHP) on that list ... also rated by Perfect Game as the #58 overall prospect (including college players) for the 2007 MLB draft ... received prestigious honor of being one of 38 players in the nation named to the 2006 Aflac All-America Team, which included the unique opportunity to meet and visit with Yogi Berra and Alex Rodriguez ... the Aflac All-Star Classic was held Aug. 12 at San Diego State's Tony Gwynn Stadium (and telecast by FOX Sports Net) ... his junior-year season at Seton Hall Prep included a 1.10 ERA, 5-1 record and 59 strikeouts in 39 innings (13.6 Ks per 9 IP) ... three a one-hitter for SHP team that won 2006 state title and was ranked 25th in the final USA Today national rankings ... named most valuable pitcher on 2004 SHP team ... selected to participate in the 2006 East Coast Professional Showcase (Wilmington, N.C.) and the Area Code Games in Long Beach, Calif.(unable to attend) ... played during the summer and fall of 2005 with the New Jersey Twins ... helped the Vailsburg American Legion team reach the state playoffs in the summer of '04 and the district playoffs in '05 ... an honors student and member of student council ... two of his high school teammates (Brooks and Porcello) also were named to the 2006 Aflac All-America team ... son of Steven and Janet Danieli ... born Aug. 2, 1989.
Schrage on Danelli - "Evan has the potential to be a very high draft pick next spring and his commitment to Notre Dame was a big thing because it helped the rest of the class fall in line. He and Greg Sherry have known each other from playing together at various showcase during the past few years. Evan's fastball is 90-94 miles-per-hour and some have seen him throw up to 96, and that's coming from a 6-8 kid. He is big, strong and only is going to get better. Evan's breaking ball actually is his `bread and butter' and that only makes him more impressive. He also is good using his changeup and has excellent control. Evan is a guy who can come in right away and pitch for us in the rotation. He probably will be one of the most talented freshmen in college baseball next season. It's fun to see a guy who is 6-8 with great velocity and able to throw all three pitches for strikes. He also is very athletic and fields his position very well, especially for his size. Evan probably could play football or basketball at the next level, he's that athletic."
Danieli on His Decision - "For as long as I can remember I've been a big fan of Notre Dame. I realized after meeting coach Schrage that becoming a part of Notre Dame would be the best thing that's ever happened to me. During my visit, I felt so much electricity and excitement - not just in the stands at the game, but all-around. The coaches, the student body and just the whole campus in general welcome you with open arms. I am really looking forward to playing baseball for a school that means so much to me. There is no place like Notre Dame!"
Doyle Bio. Notes - Rated 606th on Perfect Game's most recent list of the nation's top high school prospects (Nov. 14, 2006) ... an all-conference and all-city performer as a junior at Benet Academy, captaining the 2006 team that went 30-10 and won the conference title, in addition to winning the Flyers Classic Tournament and a postseason regional ... set to become a fourth-year starter at Benet in 2007 ... also a top guard on the Benet basketball team, earning honorable mention all-city honors as a junior ... helped basketball team win regional title and reach sectional finals during his sophomore year ... honor-roll student ... member of the National Honor Society and the Foreign Language Honor Society ... his father Mike Doyle is a 1985 ND graduate ... nine of his uncles/aunts also are ND grads: Terri and Cy Clune (both class of '75), Jim Blaha ('80), Fritz and Sheila Fisher (both '81), Pat Doyle ('83), Jeff Toner ('84), Kathy Doyle (`85) and Kevin Doyle ('89) ... his cousin Katy Clune just graduated from Notre Dame in 2006 ... full name is Michael Patrick Doyle.
Schrage on Doyle - "Mick comes from almost the same mold as Greg Sherry, in that he is a hard-nosed kid who can play a lot of positions. He is a very versatile and talented athlete who can hit with gap-to-gap power. He and Sherry are the infield of our future and we are in good hands with those two guys, who are part of an entire class of great character kids."
Doyle on His Decision - "I have been coming to Notre Dame football games every year since I was seven years old, but I saw a completely different Notre Dame on my visit this fall. Touring the campus and meeting several people, the theme of greatness was emphasized and I saw it first-hand. Notre Dame offers a chance to excel in the classroom, in the community, and on the field and that was something I wanted to be a part of. I can't wait to be a part of the winning tradition at Notre Dame."
Dupra Bio. Notes - Rated 59th on Perfect Game's most recent list of the nation's top high school prospects (Nov. 14, 2006) ... also the 25th pitcher on that list (17th RHP) ... listed by Perfect Game as the #136 overall prospect (including college players) for the 2007 MLB draft ... attended USA Baseball tryouts in 2006 ... earned all-state and first team all-county honors as a junior at Greece Athena HS ... named second team all-county and state all-western as a sophomore in 2005 ... played for the Western team at the 2005 and '06 Empire State Games ... helped the East Cobb Astros place third at the 2006 Wood-Bat World Championships in Jupiter, Fla., after advancing from the WWBA qualifier in Long Island ... also competed at the Wood-Bat World Championships in 2005 ... ... pitched in several top 2006 showcases, including: the Perfect Game Nationals (Arkansas), the East Cobb Perfect Game Showcase (Georgia), the East Coast Pro Showcase (Wilmington N.C.) and the Goodwill Games (Cooperstown) ... competed with the South Florida Bandits in October of 2006 ... played with the Western team at the Empire State Games in 2005 and '06 ... member of the 2004 and '05 Rochester Grays summer team ... played two seasons on the JV basketball team at Greece Athena and also ran with the varsity cross country team in 2003 ... has earned scholar-athlete honors throughout his career ... member of the National Honor Society, carrying a 3.5 GPA ... an accomplished singer who is a member of the GAHS nationally-ranked Show Choir that placed first in the state competition ... also a member of symphonic band, select choir and pit orchestra ... involved in various community-service activities, including Special Olympics, youth baseball, reading programs and youth group ... his sister Lyanne Dupra served as a senior team captain with James Madison University's 2006 women's soccer team ... son of John and Kim Dupra ... full name is Brian Martin Dupra ... born Dec. 15, 1988.
Schrage on Dupra - "Brian is a talented pitcher who throws three pitches consistently for strikes, with a slider, changeup and a fastball that touches 94 miles-per hour. He has great velocity but also has the mindset of a pitcher like Tom Glavine or Greg Maddux, to go along with a John Smoltz or Roger Clemens fastball. He can outthink hitters and is a true student of the game. Brian does not get rattled and that will help him pitch effectively for us a freshman. Any time you have a pitcher with such smooth delivery and pinpoint control, to go along with a low-90s fastball, that's impressive."
Dupra on His Decision - "After driving by the Dome while heading to eat breakfast, I knew that Notre Dame was going to be a special place. I was then overwhelmed with all the important people from the University that I was introduced to. This meant a lot to me because at my previous visit I did not have that opportunity. The coaches and the players were the final factor to my decision, besides the overall atmosphere of it being a football weekend. The decision I already has impacted my life from the people that I talk to and all the people I already have met. When I received a text from coach Lawler after verbally committing to Notre Dame saying `welcome to the family future golden domer,' it hit me. I made the best decision of my life and that text has yet to leave my phone to remind me of the opportunity that baseball has brought to me for my future in athletics or in another field. I am so proud to become a `domer' in the future."
Katich Bio. Notes - Rated 575th on Perfect Game's most recent list of the nation's top high school prospects (Nov. 14, 2006) ... invited to 2006 Puma National Team tryouts ... repeated as an all-section performer after batting .444 with a county-best 30 RBI in 20 games as a junior at Mohawk HS ... named to the 2006 NABF Regional All-tournament Team ... threw out a league-high 18 attempted basestealers for the Youngstown Class-B team in the summer of 2006 ... hit .352 as a sophomore at Mohawk HS before ranking fourth in the 2005 summer league with a .438 batting avg. ... also played on varsity at Mohawk as a freshman, batting .500 in 14 games played ... will serve as team captain as a senior during 2007 season ... named MVP of the 2005 Blue Chip Baseball Showcase ... played for the 2006 Allegheny Pirates ... helped his Babe Ruth League teams (13-15 years old) win three state and regional title, plus one world championship ... a three-year high school scholar-athlete and a high honor-roll student ... nominated for the People to People Student Ambassador program and the National Honor Roll ... invited to represent Pennsylvania at the 2006 National Student Leadership Conference ... a three-time qualifier for the national academic game competition ... carries a 4.1 cumulative GPA.
Schrage on Katich - "Matt has a great arm and is an excellent defensive catcher. We feel one of the voids we have in the program now is a lack of catching depth. We will need someone else with Ryan Smith in the future and feel that we have filled that spot for the next few years with the addition of McConnell, Katich and Scioscia."
Katich on His Decision -"I choose to attend Notre Dame because the students, coaches and the players show the most dedication and enthusiasm of any school that I visited. When you go to Notre Dame, you become part of a family and I felt part of it immediately."
McConnell Bio. Notes - Rated 499th on Perfect Game's most recent list of the nation's top high school prospects (Nov. 14, 2006) ... named the best defensive catcher in Illinois by the Prep Baseball Report, which also rated him the second-best overall catcher and #15 top overall prospect in the state ... earned all-conference honors as a junior at Deerfield HS, after batting .326 with 34 RBI (4 HR, 2 3B, 7 SB) ... hit .435 as a sophomore (7 RBI, 10 R, 4 2B, 3 SB) ... participated in both the 2005 and 2006 tryouts for the Area Code Games ... selected as one of the players to represent the Central Suburban League Conference at the Stevenson Showcase ... also selected to play in The Jack Kaiser All-Star game but was unable to participate due to the WWBA 18U World Series that was being held in East Cobb ... similarly was unable to play with Team Illinois at Harvey Foster's exposure event (Aug., 2006) due to the East Cobb event ... selected to play in the "Super 60" showcase.
Schrage on McConnell - "Cameron is a great athlete and, being from Illinois, he is a kid that Scott Lawler and I both knew about him before coming to Notre Dame. We both thought he was one of best arms in the Midwest and possibly one of the best arms nationally. He has great footwork around the plate and a very strong arm. He will shut down the running game. Cameron has a good frame on him and can put on some pounds to become stronger - but he's already a great athlete."
McConnell on His Decision - "I could not be more thrilled about getting the opportunity of playing baseball at Notre Dame. I was absolutely shocked when the coaching staff started to show genuine interest in me as a potential student-athlete at ND and I truly feel that I could not have ended up at a better institution in the country. Notre Dame offers a blend of great academics and athletics that is rarely found elsewhere. The thing that wowed me most was the people at ND and the whole aura that surrounded the school. From the minute that I checked into the hotel on my official visit, I could feel it. The atmosphere is truly astonishing. I do not think that there is a nicer collection of people in the country. The openness, warmness, and caring that I was greeted with at every stage of my official visit was absolutely amazing. I cannot even begin to describe how kind and just at home I felt. I am extremely excited to be a part of Notre Dame and I can't wait to get onto campus full-time. I also am excited to have a legitimate shot at playing in the College World Series!"
Scioscia Bio. Notes - Rated 610th on Perfect Game's most recent list of the nation's top high school prospects (Nov. 14, 2006) ... listed 45th in California's top 60 by the California Baseball Zone ... ranked among the Mission League's top-10 in RBI and runs scored while playing with the 2006 Encino Crespi HS team, helping lead team into the CIF state playoffs ... led Crespi in hits for team that won the Southern California VIBL summer-league title ... selected to play on the 2006 L.A. Angels Elite baseball team and the 2006 St. Louis Cardinal Elite team ... earned second team all-league honors as a defensive end on the 2005 Crespi football team ... helped football team win 2004 and '05 CIF divisional titles ... named to all-academic teams in football (2005) and baseball (2005 and 06) ... member of the National Honor Society and the California Scholarship Federation ... received the Crespi Carmelite HS foreign language award for Latin ... three-year recipient of the Outstanding Scholar Award ... his father Mike Scioscia played 13 seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers. (1980-92) and currently is manager of the Anaheim Angels (he was named American League manager of the year while guiding the 2002 Angels to the World Series title)... his great-uncle Lou Scioscia played football at Duke from 1946-49 ... hails from same hometown (Westlake Village, Calif.) as current ND women's soccer junior defenders Ashley Jones ...full name is Matthew Michael Scioscia ... born Sept. 20, 1988.
Schrage on Scioscia - "Matt helps fill our goal of trying to get some guys into the lineup with a little bit more power than we have. Matt should fill a role at first base, DH or catcher. He is a big, strong kid, with good hands and he shows a lot of power. Obviously, he has a great pedigree and is an outstanding student and outstanding kid. He will swing the bat for us right away, and will grow as a first baseman/catcher in our program. His bat is really promising. Another thing is the fact that he's not going to be nervous about anything, because he has been around Major League players with his dad playing and being a big-league manager. He's been at World Series games and will let the game come to him faster and easier than other kids."
Scioscia on His Decision - "Notre Dame's tradition, along with the academic and athletic opportunity, make it a special place. Coach Schrage, coach Lawler and coach Clinkscales have created a great environment for achievement that I am excited to join. I hope to reach my potential academically, athletically and morally at this great university."
Sharpley Bio. Notes - Rated 111th on Perfect Game's most recent list of the nation's top high school prospects (Nov. 14, 2006) ... also the 40th pitcher on that list (31st RHP) ... key member of Mid-Michigan Tigers summer team that was one of six teams in the nation to reach the 2006 AABC Mickey Mantle World Series ... threw one-hitter to pick up a win at the MMWS, also batting .667 in the series despite playing with a broken hand ... his overall stats with the 2006 Tigers included a 1.84 ERA, 6-1 record and 53 strikeouts in 38 innings, also batting .500 with 9 home runs as the 3-hole hitter for the AACA North Central Regional champs ... received the Lowe/Spangler MVP Award at the Mickey Mantle North Central Regional Tournament in back-to-back years while playing for the 2005 runner-up (Coldwater, Mich.) and the '06 champs (Mid-Michigan Tigers) ... member of the Marshall HS varsity baseball team since his freshman year ... helped reach the 2006 state semifinals, serving as team captain during that junior season while earning all-district, all-conference and all-area honors ... registered four wins in the 2006 Michigan Division 2 state tournament, including a strong outing in the district round in which he nearly pitched a no-hitter (2-out single in the 7th and final inning) ...earned all-district and honorable mention all-conference honors (as a catcher) in 2005, batting .368 with 33 runs scored as the team's cleanup batter ... invited to participate in several of the nation's top 2006 events, including: the East Coast Pro Showcase with the N.Y. Yankees team (Wilmington, N.C.); the Area Code Games with the Chicago White Sox team (Long Beach, Calif.); and the 80-team World Wood Bat Association World Championships (Jupiter, Fla.) with the Cincinnati Reds scout team (the Cincinnati Midland Redskins) ... pitched three shutout innings in semifinal game for Redskins team that won the 2006 Perfect Game WWBA World Championship title ... set tournament career records for most home runs (7) and RBI (28) while also winning four games on the mound ... his combined stats during the summer of 2005 includes a 1.95 ERA, 8-1 record and 51 Ks in 44 innings, also batting .395 while splitting time with the Concealed Security Dodgers and Coldwater Mantle teams ... lettered on the Marshall football team as a sophomore and junior, serving as a receiver, quarterback and safety ... led 2005 football team in all-purpose yardage (925) ... member of the National Honor Society, with a 3.7 cumulative GPA ... also an accomplished piano player ... follows in the footsteps of his brother Evan Sharpley, currently a sophomore at Notre Dame who serves as the backup quarterback on the Irish football team and who will be in the mix for the open spot at first base with the 2007 ND baseball team ... son of Tom and Nancy Sharpley ... full name is Ryan Joseph Sharpley ... born Sept. 15, 1989.
Schrage on Sharpley - "Ryan is yet another very talented addition to our pitching staff. When you talk to the various talent evaluators, he might be the most projectable pitcher in the nation. He consistently throws his fastball in the 88-91 range, has a good pitcher's body and is only going to keep getting better. He also throws a hard slider and can hit a little bit, which is something we are going to let him do for us. Ryan could pitch for us already and, like Danieli and Dupra, he is a kid with a ton of upside. It is going to be fun to see him grow into this body and become a great college pitcher."
Sharpley on His Decision - "Notre Dame gives me the best opportunity for success in both academics and athletics, along with having a great comfort level with the new coaching staff."
Sherry Bio. Notes - Rated 159th on Perfect Game's most recent list of the nation's top high school prospects (Nov. 14, 2006) ... also the 58th position player and fifth pure shortstop on that list ... forecasted as a 2007 Puma preseason All-American ... named an alternate to the 2006 USA Baseball Junior National Team ... ranked #35 at the 2006 Perfect Game National Top-200 event ... one of 32 players selected for the Cape Cod High School Classic ... named to USA Baseball Tournament of Stars ... invited to AFLAC Camp ... rated the #5 position player (#17 overall) at the PG Northeast Top Prospects ... played for Team New Jersey at the Perfect Game Top Prospects Tournament ... earned all-conference, all-area and all-county honors as a sophomore (catcher) and junior (shortstop) at Delbarton High School ... has played summer ball with the South Florida Bandits ... a highest honors student at Delbarton, also earning the Leadership Award and serving as a middle-school mentor ...his sister Katelyn is a senior sabre fencer at the University of Pennsylvania., twice earning All-America honors and currently serving as a team captain ... Katelyn Sherry is a friend of current ND junior fencer Mariel Zagunis, the 2002 Olympic gold medalist in women's sabre (Sherry and Zagunis fenced on the World Cup circuit together in 2003 and Zagunis has been to the Sherry's home in Kiawah, S.C., during family vacations ... son of Greg and Mary Sherry ... full name is Gregory John Sherry ... born Oct. 6, 1988.
Schrage on Sherry - "Greg is a very tough out and is good at everything he does, whether it be infield play, hitting or throwing. We love the way he plays the game, very hard-nosed and hustling all the time. He reminds us of Jeremy Barnes, as a player who does all the little things. But he also is a very talented athlete at the same time. He plays a lot like like David Eckstein, who played his college ball at Florida. Greg throws very well from the diamond, has good range and can play a lot of positions. He is a very versatile athlete and an outstanding person. You could see him leading the infield for us in the future. He is a leader and that's what you want to see that in your middle infielders. Like all of the signees, he is a great character kid and has the talent to go along with that great personality."
Sherry on His Decision - "The opportunity to be a student-athlete at Notre Dame is very exciting. After I spent time with coach Schrage in New Jersey and in South Bend, and speaking with coach Lawler, I knew it was the right decision for me. I went into the official visit having already verbally committed, but I knew I made the right decision once on campus. I am looking forward to representing Notre Dame on the field and off."