Baseball's 2008 Recruiting Class Ranked No. 40 in the Country

Sept. 26, 2007

ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - Although the 2008 campaign is still five months away, there has been a lot of excitement surrounding the UCF baseball team. And it found out this week that Collegiate Baseball has ranked the Knights' incoming recruiting class No. 40 in the country. This was the second time in three years that UCF's class was rated in the top 40.

"We had some very specific needs that we wanted to fill and we were able to do that," said associate head coach and recruiting coordinator Craig Cozart. "Having another recruiting class ranked in the top 40 speaks volumes for the job that we are collectively doing as a staff as far as recruiting is concerned."

Headlining the 13 newcomers are three players that were selected in the 2007 MLB First-Year Player Draft and three Division I transfers. Stephen Branca, an infielder from Valrico, Fla., was taken by Minnesota in the 34th round and has the potential to develop into a starter at one of the middle infield positions early in his career.

Hunter Hill could break into the rotation for the Knights in 2008 following a standout year at Prestonwood Christian Academy in Texas. A 38th-round pick by the Texas Rangers, the right-handed pitcher went 11-0 with a 0.57 ERA and boasting 100 strikeouts in just 49.1 innings of work.

Colin Arnold already boasts a wealth of experience after playing for Daytona Beach Community College and the Winter Park Diamond Dawgs in the Florida Collegiate Summer League. Arnold, a junior outfielder from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., was drafted in the 47th round by the New York Yankees and was named the fifth-best prospect in the FCSL by Perfect Game (one spot behind current UCF starting pitcher Jaager Good).

UCF's other junior college transfers include Josh Siebenaler (Polk C.C.), Cory Weech (Broward C.C.) and Matt Manning (Brevard C.C.). Paul Cinder (St. Pete College and Embry-Riddle) also joins the Knights and will be a senior after spending 2007 with Embry-Riddle where he made 11 appearances on the mound.

The Knights, who finished 2007 with a 27-32 record, will get a lot of experience from three D-I transfers as well. Junior Rob Lara started in all three games for LSU when it hosted UCF a year ago. The catcher had two hits in the three-game series, and has a chance to serve as the Knights' starting backstop due to his defensive skills. Meanwhile, senior Brian Griggs made seven appearances and one start on the rubber for Alabama, notching a 1-0 record and a 1.80 ERA in 15.0 innings. And junior pitcher Caleb Graham saw time in 13 games for Florida State, making three starts and posting a 1-2 record with a 4.00 ERA in 27.0 innings.

Topping Collegiate Baseball's recruiting chart was LSU, who has a total of 19 recruits coming to Baton Rouge. In Conference USA, Rice took top honors at No. 17 followed by Tulane at No. 30 and the Knights at No. 40.

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