Athens, GA - The University of Georgia baseball recruiting class wrapped up its early recruiting Wednesday with six additional signees, and this latest group includes top rated players in Georgia, Texas and Ohio, according to coach David Perno.
Infielder Tyler Greene, infielder Patrick Leonard, pitcher Mike Mancuso, pitcher/outfielder Matthew Taylor, pitcher/infielder Jared Walsh and infielder Nelson Ward all have signed a national letter-of-intent to attend UGA.
A 6-3, 185-pound right-handed hitter, Tyler is the son Jeff and Lorna Greene of Easton, Md. Greene attended West Boca High School in Boca Raton, Fla., as a sophomore and then moved to Roswell (Ga.) High School for his junior year where he played for coach Mike Power. He is back at West Boca for his senior season where he will play for the Bulls and coach Nick Siano. Greene is the fourth-ranked prep player in Georgia and 47th in the country according to Perfect Game’s national rankings. Greene was named a 2010 Under Armour All-American and participated in their All-America game held this past August at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Last year with the Roswell Hornets, he helped them post a 17-8 record. Greene owns an English Bulldog named Goliath.
“I couldn’t be happier with Georgia, I’m ready to win the University of Georgia a national championship in 2012,” said Greene.
“Tyler is an extremely talented middle infielder and one of the best shortstops in his class,” said Perno. “He has been committed to us for a long time, and we’re excited to make it official.”
A 6-3, 200-pound right-handed hitter, Patrick is the son of Shane and Jennifer Leonard of Katy, Texas. He is the sixth-ranked prep player in Texas and 52nd in the country according to Perfect Game’s national rankings. Leonard is enrolled at St. Thomas High School in Houston after his family relocated this past summer from Jacksonville. He was a two-time All-District and All-State selection in Florida while attending Creekside High School and playing for coach Luke Marabell. As a junior, he batted .452 with three home runs and 18 RBI, went 6-1 on the mound with a 0.64 ERA and was the San Augustine Record’s St. Johns County Player of the Year. He was a preseason first-team Underclassmen All-American by Perfect Game. Also, he was a key part of the Midland Redskins summer league team that won the Connie Mack World Series national championship. At St. Thomas, Leonard’s baseball coach will be former Houston Astros great Craig Biggio.
“Patrick was the first commitment of this class, and we really liked him when we first saw him as a sophomore at one of our camps,” said Perno. “We were fortunate to hold on to him after his family moved to Houston and the Texas schools got a look at him. He’s another versatile, physical and advanced hitter that we will welcome to UGA next year.”
A 6-6, 230-pound right-hander, Mike is the son of Jeff and Rosemary Mancuso of Brecksville, Ohio. He is the third-ranked prep player in Ohio according to Perfect Game’s national rankings. Mike is an honor student at Brecksville High School where he pitches and plays first base for coach John Mutch and is a member of the basketball team. As a junior, he earned Louisville Slugger All-America honors after going 6-0 with a 1.10 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 45.2 innings pitched. He batted .468 with 27 RBI in helping the Bees go 23-5 and win the conference and sectional championship. He was named the Southwest Conference MVP and All-State as the squad finished ranked fifth in the state. As a sophomore, he went 7-0 with a 1.20 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 44 innings pitched. Over the past three years, he has helped the Bees compile a 63-18 mark. Mike has won two straight Connie Mack World Series national summer titles as a member of the Midland Redskins.
“It was a great decision to choose UGA, and I’m glad that I am a Bulldog and get to be a part of the Bulldog family,” said Mancuso.
“Mike fits what we’re looking for in the pitching department as a big, physical athlete with a huge upside that’s used to winning,” said Perno. “He is a winner and is talented enough to contribute as a freshman.”
A 6-1, 170-pound left-handed pitcher and right-handed hitter, Matt is the son of Clint and Cathy Taylor of Midland, Ga. He is ranked 12th on Perfect Game’s Top 100 JUCO prospects for the 2011 draft. Currently, he attends Middle Georgia where he plays for coach Craig Young. He spent his freshman season at the University of Alabama where he appeared in 25 games for the Crimson Tide and coach Mitch Gaspard. Taylor made 11 appearances on the mound, going 0-0 with a 12.79 ERA in 12.2 innings pitched and batted .143 with two RBI as Alabama went 42-25 and advanced to an NCAA Super Regional. Taylor was a 50th round selection by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2009 MLB draft after his senior season at Columbus High School. He was 30-5 in his prep career and was named a 2009 Louisville Slugger All-American. As a senior, he went 14-4 with a 0.89 ERA and hit .450-8-58. He was the 2009 Columbus High School Player of the Year and a National Scholar Athlete.
“Matt was a very highly-rated prospect out of Columbus who committed early in high school to Alabama, and then we got another shot after he decided to go to junior college,” said Perno. “We’re glad he’s coming to Georgia now. He is the only junior college player in our class, and he will arrive with a lot of experience, and that’s always a plus.”
A 6-1, 205-pound left-handed pitcher/infielder, Jared is the son of Harry and Lisa Walsh of Duluth, Ga. He attends Peachtree Ridge High School where he plays for coach Ryan Hanik. Walsh is a two-time Most Valuable Player recipient for the Lions. As a junior, he had a 2.09 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 57 innings pitched and batted .408. He was named to the Gwinnett County Dugout Club First Team as a pitcher and All-Region as a pitcher and hitter. He has earned MVP awards in summer baseball as a member of the East Cobb Astros, been named to the Atlanta Braves 400 Club Atlanta All Star baseball team and received a Rawlings Silver Slugger Award.
“Jared was a pleasant surprise for us as a left-handed pitcher and a left-handed hitter,” said Perno. “He is talented enough to do both at this level, and we aim for him to continue to do that as a dual position player.”
A 5-11, 170-pound left-handed hitting infielder, Nelson is the son of Lucy Ward of Marietta, Ga. He has been a standout for the Lassiter Trojans and coach Scott Kelly as they advanced to the state finals last year. He has been a key member of the East Cobb Astros summer baseball program. This past summer, they won a Perfect Game 17U Baseball Championship Series National Tournament in Fort Myers, Fla., and they advanced to the finals of the World Wood Bat Association 17U National Championship.
“Nelson is one of those guys who gets his uniform dirty, an old-fashioned blue-collar player,” said Perno. “He is a left-handed hitter and very gifted middle infielder. We have plans for him to see action right away both offensively and defensively."
Overall, Georgia’s 2011 recruiting haul features 20 student-athletes (19 high school and one junior college student-athlete), and Perfect Game ranks it the second best class in the country.
“We couldn’t be more excited about this class because it’s loaded with power hitters, contact hitters, big-time pitchers and without a doubt, it’s the best class we’ve every signed,” said Perno. “This is a credit to the assistant coaches Jason Eller and Allen Osborne, the entire baseball staff, as they built and maintained relationships with our new Bulldogs. We are looking forward to coaching these young men, and they all are excited about coming to UGA.”