PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania's W. Joseph Blood Head Coach of Baseball, John Cole, has announced his nine-man recruiting class for 2016. A truly nationwide class, the nine freshmen hail from seven different states. Four pitchers join the team, two of which may see time in the field as position players as well. A catcher, two outfielders and two right-side infielders round out the mix.
Connor Betbeze - OF
Kennesaw, Georgia (Kennesaw Mountain/Georgia Tech)
Connor Betbeze joins the Quakers after spending a year at Georgia Tech. A three-year letterwinner for head coach George Hansen at Kennesaw Mountain HS where he was an AP Scholar with Distinction, Betbeze will compete for an outfield slot at Penn.
Marshall Harden - INF/RHP
Burlington, N.J. (Steinert)
The first of two players in this class who could see time on the mound as well as in the field, Marshall Harden played all four years at Steinert HS, where he was named first-team All-South Jersey as an infielder as a sophomore and a preseason All-State pitcher as a senior. Coached by Brian Gialella, his 2012 team won a county championship with a 27-4 overall record.
Mitch Holtz - RHP/OF
Plainfield, Ill. (Aurora Christian)
A multi-sport athlete at Aurora Christian HS, Mitch Holtz played four years of varsity baseball and football, including three years as captain of the baseball team for coach Andy Zorger. Holtz was an all-conference selection in both sports, and his senior year baseball team won a conference title with a record of 26-9.
Dave Kussell - C
Needham, Mass. (Roxbury Latin)
Dave Kussell was a three-year letterwinner at Roxbury Latin, serving as team captain as a senior. An all-league selection in each of his three seasons under coach Dave Morgan, Kussell was also a member of the National Honor Society.
Ryan Mincher - INF
Glenshaw, Pa. (Shaler Area)
Another multi-sport athlete, Ryan Mincher starred at shortstop and quarterback and was a member of back-to-back conference-winning teams in basketball. In his junior season, Mincher set a school record with a batting average of .515 and was an all-conference selection as a junior and senior for coach Bob Hinds.
Brian Schwarzbach - RHP
Houston, Texas (St. Thomas)
Brian Schwarzbach played three seasons at Houston's St. Thomas HS for coach Craig Biggio, winning 5A championships in both his sophomore and junior seasons. Following the 2011 championship, he was honored as a member of the All-Tournament team, and was named a 2012 preseason All-American by both Rawlings and Under Armour. Schwarzbach was also active in both Student Council and National Honor Society throughout high school.
Gary Tesch - OF
Cypress, Texas (Cy-Woods)
Gary Tesch was a two sport star in baseball and football at Cy-Woods HS. Named the baseball team's Defensive MVP as a junior, he followed up as a senior by being named first-team All-District and was captain of a District championship team. Coached by Thomas Loria, Tesch was twice named Academic All-State.
Michael Vilardo - INF
Cary, Ill. (Cary-Grove/ Richmond)
Michael Vilardo comes to Penn after spending his freshman year at the University of Richmond. A first-team all-state shortstop pick as a senior by multiple publications including the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, Vilardo also starred as a hockey player, where he was a member of the Team USA U18 Developmental Team. A product of Cary-Grove HS where he played for Don Sutherland, the Northwest Herald newspaper selected Vilardo as its 2011 Baseball, Hockey and Athlete of the Year.
Jeremy Witt - RHP
Coto de Caza, Calif. (Santa Margarita)
Jeremy Witt was a three-year letterwinner at Santa Margarita HS for coach David Bacani Jr., captaining the team in 2012. He concluded his senior season as an all-league and Trinity League All-Star selection.