Kansas Baseball Inks Six

LAWRENCE, Kan. - After recording the third most single-season wins in school history during the 2003 season, Kansas head baseball coach Ritch Price announced the signing of the Jayhawk recruiting class for 2005 on Wednesday.

"A year ago, our first recruiting class focused on junior college players who could step in and make an immediate impact in the Big 12 Conference. Our goal for the 2005 class was to balance our roster and focus on outstanding high school players, who have the physical and mental abilities to play early in their careers at KU," Price said.

"Because we only have seven seniors on the 2004 roster, this is a small recruiting class. I couldn't be more pleased with this group. These young men have the ability to play any place in the country."

Tyson Corley, a right-hander from Shawnee, Kan., was an All-Kaw Valley League pitcher in 2003. The 6-5 senior at Mill Valley recorded 52 strikeouts in 47 innings and sported a 6-1 mark last season. He also went 10-3 with a 2.21 ERA for the Mill Valley American Legion last summer.

"Tyson has great size, long arms, big hands and is really loose. As he physically matures and develops he could blossom into an outstanding pitcher with plus velocity," Price said. "If he fulfills his potential he has an excellent chance to be a high professional draft choice before his career ends at KU."

Kyle Klem will play two-ways for the Jayhawk baseball team. Klem, a senior at Thunder Ridge High School in Highland Ranch, Colo., is a two-time member of the Colorado Junior Olympic team. He went 2-1 and recorded 25 strikeouts in 25 innings as a pitcher in 2003. From the plate, the 6-3 left-handed hitter drove in 14 and carried a batting average of .361.

"We think Kyle has the ability to be a legitimate two-way player at the D-1 level," Price said. "He is an excellent athlete with good size. He runs very well, is a fine outfielder and has a plus arm."

Erik Morrison, a senior at Arroyo Grande High School in Arroyo Grande, Calif., continues the California connection for the KU baseball staff. Morrison, a 6-2 middle infielder, is a two-time Time Defensive Player of Year recipient. He helped the lead the San Luis Obispo Firestone Rangers to the USABF National Championship last summer by recording a batting average of .288. He also tallied 19 doubles, 19 homeruns, 19 stolen bases and drove in 64 runs.

"Erik is an outstanding infielder with the physical tools to play all three infield positions. He has nice hands, good feet and an excellent throwing arm," Price said. "Erik has shown the ability to hit and hit for power, as evidenced by his 19 homeruns last summer."

Gus Milner, the only junior college student-athlete in the 2005 recruiting class, hails from Olathe, Kan., and spent last season at Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, Kan. While playing in the outfield for the Blue Dragons, the graduate of Olathe North, garnered an average of .310 with eight homeruns and 35 RBI. He also swiped a total of 10 stolen bases.

"Gus is regarded by many pro scouts to be the top junior college prospect in the state of Kansas. He has tremendous physical tools and the potential to be a five-tool player," Price said. "Gus has the physical ability to be a high draft choice this year. We expect him to hit in the four-hole for us and replace senior Ryan Baty's powerful bat in the 2005 season."

Ryne Price comes to KU after moving to Lawrence prior to the 2003 high school season. Price, a catcher for the Lawrence Free State Firebirds, helped guide his team to its first conference championship and first-ever berth in the Kansas State Championships. Price, a first team selection to the All-Sunflower Conference, All-State and All-Metro teams, batted .497 with 10 doubles and 39 RBI during the 2003 season. During the summer Price also played for the San Luis Obispo Firestone Rangers where he hit 18 homeruns, drove in 80 and scored 95 runs with a batting average of .359.

"Our coaching staff is thrilled that Ryne chose to stay home and become a Jayhawk. Ryne is one of the top high school catchers in the country and is an outstanding offensive player," Ritch Price added.

Brock Simpson rounds out the 2005 class and is considered one of the top high school players in the Midwest. Simpson, a 6-3 senior third basemen, will graduate from Washburn Rural High School in Topeka, Kan., in 2004. Simpson was a first team All-Centennial League honoree and first team All-City selection last year as he recorded a .409 average including seven doubles, three triples and 13 RBI. Simpson was a member of the Cleveland Indians 2003 Area Code Team in Long Beach, Calif., during the 2003 summer.

"Brock has tremendous size, strength and speed. We expect him to step into the lineup and make a major contribution as a freshman," Price said. "He has the tools to start at either third base or in the outfield as a freshman. He picked the Jay hawks over the University of Nebraska, electing to stay close to home and fulfill his dream of playing for the University of Kansas."

Kansas begins its 2004 season Jan. 16, with a doubleheader in Hilo, Hawaii. First pitch in the first game against the Vulcans is set for 4 p.m. HST (9 p.m. CST).

"We won several recruiting battles with major D-1 college programs for these student-athletes' services. I am confident these young men will become big time players at the University of Kansas and help us reach our goal of becoming a Top-25 program," Price added.

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