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Tech Baseball Announces 10 Early Signees

Nov. 22, 2004

ATLANTA – Ten student-athletes, including nine high school seniors and one junior college player, have signed National Letters of Intent to play baseball at Georgia Tech next year, head coach Danny Hall announced.

The recruiting class, assembled under the direction of assistant coach/recruiting coordinator Josh Holliday as well as associate head coach Bobby Moranda, includes three pitchers, three infielders, three outfielders and one catcher. Six of Tech’s recruits are ranked among the top 400 high school players in the nation according to Perfect Game USA.

Georgia Tech’s in-state commitments, which includes five of the top 41 prospects in Georgia, are outfielder Jay Dantzler (Alpharetta, Ga./Chattahoochee HS), infielder Russell Harben (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton HS), pitcher Chris Hicks (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton HS), outfielder Chris House (Marietta, Ga./Pope HS), first baseman Luke Murton (McDonough, Ga./Eagle’s Landing HS), and infielder Nicholas Wenderoth (Marietta, Ga./Walton HS).

Tech’s three out-of-state signees – pitcher David Duncan (New Richmond, Ohio/New Richmond HS), catcher Jason Haniger (Santa Clara, Calif/Archbishop Mitty HS), and pitcher Jake Sullivan (Little Rock, Ark./Central HS) – are all ranked among the top high school prospects in their respective states.

Outfielder Wally Crancer (Riverside, Calif./Riverside JC) will join the program next year as a junior college transfer and will have two years of eligibility at Georgia Tech.

In addition to the Yellow Jackets’ signing class, outfielder Austin Jackson (Denton, Texas/Ryan HS), a Georgia Tech basketball signee, may also play baseball upon the completion of basketball season next year. Jackson is rated among the top 15 high school players in the nation.

“I am very pleased with the commitments that we have received,” said Hall. “We wanted to make sure we got another catcher, depth in the outfield and middle infield help, and you are always looking for pitchers. I like to say about recruiting classes that you will find out in three years when the pro draft hits – if a lot of your juniors are getting drafted then you have the right guys. Time will tell, but I really think that we were able to address our needs.”

A detailed look at Georgia Tech’s signees:

WALLY CRANCER, of

A left-handed hitting outfielder, Crancer will play for the Riverside Junior College in 2005 and will have two years of eligibility at Georgia Tech beginning in 2006. He led the Tigers in batting (.340), hits (50), triples (5), home runs (9) and stolen bases (9) for coach Dennis Rogers in 2004. Crancer earned first-team all Orange Empire Conference honors. During the summer with the Covington Lumberjacks of the Valley League, he hit a team-leading .302 with seven home runs and 24 RBI while being named to the all-star team.

Danny Hall on Crancer: “We feel like Wally Crancer is a guy who can come in and replace Jeremy Slayden. He is an outstanding hitter and a very good all-around baseball player. He plays for an outstanding coach in Dennis Rogers. We see Wally as a guy who can step right in, hit in the middle of the order, and play right field every day.”

JAY DANTZLER, of

Rated as the No. 34 high school senior in Georgia by Perfect Game USA, Dantzler hit .410 with six home runs and 13 stolen bases in 2004 at Chattahoochee High School. An all-area selection and team MVP as a junior while leading Chattahoochee in hits, total bases, stolen bases and runs, Dantzler currently holds the highest career batting average (.397) in school history.

Danny Hall on Dantzler: “Jay is an outstanding athlete, number one. He has a good bat and does a lot of things well. He plays in the outfield, but I think he’s a good enough athlete to play just about anywhere. He’s a good student and he is very competitive on the field.”

DAVID DUNCAN, lhp

Standing 6-9, the left-handed Duncan is rated as the No. 40 high school senior in the nation and the No. 1 prospect in the state of Ohio by Perfect Game USA. He owns a career record of 31-4 with 299 strikeouts in 200 innings, posting a 0.91 ERA at New Richmond High School for coach Brian Benzinger. A two-time Southern Buckeye Conference Player of the Year, Duncan was named the Cincinnati Player of the Year in 2004.

Danny Hall on Duncan: “David may be the best left-handed pitcher out there who has a chance to go to school. He’s a 6-9 lefty, but he is totally different than [former Tech pitcher] Kyle Bakker. Kyle was 250 pounds, while David is only 200 pounds. We feel fortune to get David, and I feel that he is going to be a dynamite pitcher.”

JASON HANIGER, c

Rated as the No. 249 prospect in the nation and the No. 38 prospect in the state of California by Perfect Game USA, Haniger hit .333 as a junior at Archbishop Mitty High School for coach Bill Hutton. The 6-3, 210-pound catcher earned all-league honors last year and helped his team win a sectional championship as a sophomore. He was selected to play in the Area Code Games and the California North-South game.

Danny Hall on Haniger: “We feel like Jason really fit our needs of getting another very good catcher in our program. He was recruited very heavily on the west coach, and we are very fortunate to get him. We see Jason as being a very solid catcher at Georgia Tech.”

RUSSELL HARBEN, inf

A 6-2, 185-pound middle infielder, Harben is rated as the No. 41 high school prospect in Georgia by Perfect Game USA. Harben hit three home runs in the state championship series to help lead Milton High School to the state title in 2004. For the season, he hit .323 with six home runs, 31 RBI and 11 stolen bases for coach Greg Robinson.

Danny Hall on Harben: “Russell played second base at Milton last year, and he will move over to shortstop this year. We see him as being a guy who could potentially replace Tyler Greene at shortstop. He’s a great athlete, and a guy that I would favorably compare to [former Tech infielder] Heath Honeycutt. I think that Russell has a great work ethic and will continue to develop and improve.”

CHRIS HICKS, rhp

A 6-4, 195-pound right-handed pitcher, Hicks is rated as the No. 398 high school prospect in the nation by Perfect Game USA. He went 5-1 with a 1.48 ERA as a junior at Lafayette (Mo.) High School, earning all-conference and all-metro honors while leading his team to a district championship. His family moved to Alpharetta, Ga., and he will complete his senior year at Milton High School.

Danny Hall on Hicks: “Chris moved into the Milton district from Missouri. He’s a very good right-handed pitcher with a tremendous upside. An interesting thing from a Georgia Tech perspective is that he went to the same high school in Missouri as quarterback Taylor Bennett. He is a very good pitcher that we think is going to be outstanding.”

CHRIS HOUSE, of

House batted .415 with three home runs and 11 stolen bases as a junior for coach Jeff Rowland at Pope High School. He earned all-county honors and was voted his team’s most valuable player while leading Pope to the state quarterfinals. Also a star wide receiver on the football field, House holds his school record for longest reception (98 yards) and most receiving touchdowns in a season (10).

Danny Hall on House: “Chris is a center fielder who can really run. He is a very good baseball player. He’s a very competitive guy as evidenced by his success in football as a wide receiver. He’s a good athlete, competitive and a tremendous student.”

AUSTIN JACKSON, of

Jackson is rated as the No. 2 high school prospect Texas and No. 14 nationally. He hit .423 with five home runs and 34 RBI as a junior at Ryan High School while leading his team to the AAAA state finals. Also ranked among the nation’s top 50 college basketball players, Jackson 22.5 points, five rebounds and three assists as a junior.

Danny Hall on Jackson: “Austin Jackson is a tremendous athlete. If we are fortunate enough to have him play for us, he will be a great baseball player in college. He has indicated that he would like to play professional baseball and college basketball. But if he slips through and ends up playing baseball at Georgia Tech, then he will be a tremendous addition to our program.”

LUKE MURTON, 1b

The brother of former Tech standout Matt Murton, Luke Murton is rated as the No. 12 prospect in Georgia and No. 212 in the nation by Perfect Game USA. The 6-4, 220-pound first baseman hit .365 with six home runs as a junior for coach Troy Baker at Eagle’s Landing High School. During the summer of 2004, Murton hit .410 with eight home runs and 58 RBI while leading the Midland Redskins to the Connie Mack National Championship.

Danny Hall on Murton: “Luke is a big, athletic guy like his brother Matt. Luke has a chance to be a very good player like his brother. We see him as being a strong, right-handed hitter that can come in and hit well right away. He has great genes in the family, and we’re excited to have another Murton in our program.”

JAKE SULLIVAN, lhp

Sullivan is rated the No. 3 high school prospect in Arkansas and No. 273 nationally by Perfect Game USA. Standing 6-5 and 180 pounds, the left-handed pitcher posted a 7-2 record and a 1.80 ERA as a junior for coach Frank Troutman at Central High School while earning all-conference honors.

Danny Hall on Sullivan: “Jake is a big, left-handed pitcher who comes from a great family. His brother plays baseball at Auburn and his dad was a lineman for Lou Holtz at Arkansas. I feel like Jake is a very good pitcher that is will continue to develop and he has a chance to be outstanding.”

NICHOLAS WENDEROTH, inf

Wenderoth is rated as the No. 18 high school prospect in Georgia by Perfect Game USA. He middle infielder hit. 372 with 25 stolen bases as a junior for coach Shane Amos at Walton High School while leading his team to a region championship.

Danny Hall on Wenderoth: “Nicholas reminds me a lot of Mike Trapani, a guy worked really hard and has become one of our better players and a great leader. I think Nicholas is a lot like that. He can play shortstop and second base, and he can really run. We’re excited to have him join our program.”

2005 Georgia Tech Baseball Early Signees

Name POS B-T HT WT Hometown (High School/JC) Wally Crancer OF L-R 5-11 215 Riverside, Calif. (Riverside JC) Jay Dantzler OF R-R 6-0 180 Alpharetta, Ga. (Chattahoochee HS) David Duncan P L-L 6-9 200 New Richmond, Ohio (New Richmond HS) Jason Haniger C R-R 6-3 210 Santa Clara, Calif. (Archbishop Mitty HS) Russell Harben IF R-R 6-2 185 Alpharetta, Ga. (Milton HS) Chris Hicks P R-R 6-4 195 Alpharetta, Ga. (Milton HS) Chris House OF R-R 6-0 175 Marietta, Ga. (Pope HS) Austin Jackson OF R-R 6-1 180 Denton, Texas (Ryan HS) Luke Murton 1B R-R 6-4 220 McDonough, Ga. (Eagle’s Landing HS) Jake Sullivan P L-L 6-5 180 Little Rock, Ark. (Central HS) Nicholas Wenderoth IF R-R 5-10 160 Marietta, Ga. (Walton HS)

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