Nov. 13, 2006
SEATTLE - The University of Washington baseball team has received National Letters of Intent from 11 high school seniors who will join the Huskies for the 2008 season, 15th-year head coach Ken Knutson announced today. The eight players that signed letters did so during the early signing period, which began Nov. 8. There will also be a late signing period beginning in April.
The 11 signees, all from the state of Washington, are: IF David Bentrott (Maple Valley/Tahoma HS), LHP Geoff Brown (Mill Creek/Jackson HS), LHP Nate Burgher (Brewster/Brewster HS), RHP Ricky Denham (Edmonds/Meadowdale), LHP Joey Dettrich (Arlington/Arlington HS), OF Brendan Gardner-Young (Seattle/Highline), OF/RHP Sean Meehan (Centralia/Centralia), IF Julien Pollard (Tacoma/Washington), IF Pierce Rankin (Seattle/Shorecrest), RHP Julian Sampson (Sammamish/Skyline) and IF Troy Scott (Auburn/Auburn).
"This is one of those special classes that would rival any class we've ever brought in, at least on paper," Knutson said. "Overall, it's really excellent group academically, as well. The key will be getting as many as possible to come to college rather than signing with the pros."
Bentrott earned first-team All-SPSL and second-team all-state last season after batting .520 for Tahoma. An outstanding running back on the football team, Knutson said that Bentrott offers "speed and power, all in a small package."
Brown went 10-0 as a starting pitcher on the Jackson High team that cruised to the state 4A championship last year, posted a 27-0 record and finished No. 2 in Baseball America's final national ranking. Brown teamed with current Husky freshmen Cam Nobles and Joey Lind. A first-team all-league and second-team all-state pick, Brown is "a hard thrower and one of the top left-handed pitchers in the state," Knutson said.
Burgher, a cousin of current Husky junior outfielder Michael Burgher, was a second-team all-league selection last year at Brewster. "We've known about Nate for many years," Knutson said. "He's a big lefty with a lot of potential."
Denham is the latest in a long line of Husky baseball players from Meadowdale, a list that includes former stars Randy Jorgensen, Brett Merrick and Tyler Davidson, as well as current junior pitcher Brandon McKerney. An honorable mention All-WesCo pick last season, Knutson called Denham "a projectible right-hander with an outstanding breaking ball."
Knutson said that Dettrich made a name for himself mainly during the past summer ball season. "He's a tall, very projectable pitcher with a nice, hard breaking ball," Knutson said.
Last season, Gardner-Young teamed with current UW freshman Ben Guidos at Highline, earning first-team All-Seamount honors. "He's a strong runner and a center field-type of player," Knutson said.
Meehan was ranked the No. 180 prospect in the country by Baseball America. A standout wide receiver on the Centralia football team, he was a second-team all-state selection in baseball last year. "Sean's a big, strong, fast athlete," Knutson said. "He's a corner outfielder who could also pitch for us."
Knutson called Pollard, a switch-hitting shortstop, "a very athletic player with all the skills." After an honorable mention All-Seamount season last spring, he came on during the summer and was the MVP of the Baseball Northwest tournament.
Rankin, who quarterbacks the Shorecrest football team and is the grandson of legendary UW quarterback Bob Schloredt, was ranked the nation's No. 196 high school prospect by Baseball America. He was a second-team All-Wesco pick last spring, playing for the Scots under former Husky pitcher Alan Bruns, and, Knutson said, "he was recruited up and down the coast. He's a super student and an offensive force."
Sampson earned the No. 43 spot on Baseball America's national rankings of high school prospects. Last year, he struck out 35 in 34 and two-thirds innings. A six-foot-five right-hander with a 90-mph fastball, Knutson said, "Sampson could be one of the highest-drafted players in the state."
Finally, Scott, the younger brother of current Husky catcher Troy Scott, projects as a corner infielder who earned first-team All-SPSL as a second baseman last season. Knutson said that Scott is "a tall, skinny guy who is a smooth fielder and a very solid hitter. He reminds me of [former UW first baseman] Ryan Soules, who was also a high school shortstop."
The Huskies open the 2007 season next Feb. 16 with a three-game series at Cal Poly.
UW Baseball 2008 Early Letter of Intent Signees
Name Pos. Hometown/High School David Bentrott IF Maple Valley, Wash./Tahoma Geoff Brown LHP Mill Creek, Wash./Jackson Nate Burgher LHP Brewster, Wash./Brewster Ricky Denham RHP Edmonds, Wash./Meadowdale Joey Dettrich LHP Arlington, Wash./Arlington Brendan Gardner-Young OF Seattle, Wash./Highline Sean Meehan OF/RHP Centralia, Wash./Centralia Julien Pollard IF Tacoma, Wash./Washington Pierce Rankin IF Seattle, Wash./Shorecrest Julian Sampson RHP Sammamish, Wash./Skyline Troy Scott IF Auburn, Wash./Auburn