DURHAM, N.C. – The 2010 Oregon recruiting class was ranked fifth in the nation by Baseball America’s annual evaluation of NCAA Division I classes, it was announced by the publication today.

The ranking marks the third consecutive season a UO baseball recruiting class has earned a top-25 ranking from Baseball America. Six teams from the Pacific-10 Conference were ranked in the top 16, as Stanford earned Baseball America’s top ranking, followed by UCLA (No. 3), Oregon (No. 5), California (No. 11), Oregon State (No. 14) and USC (No. 16).

“After five weeks of working with our student-athletes during fall practice, I am beginning to sense that this group is committed to success and deserving of the accolades it has received early on,” head coach George Horton said. “I expect this class to instantly help our young program. Andrew Checketts and Mike Kirby did an exemplary job evaluating the best talent in the country, and bringing those student-athletes to the University of Oregon. Like the two classes that preceded these young men, they are devoted to excelling both on and off the field, and we are looking forward to the 2011 season beginning in February.”

Last month, Oregon’s 2010 recruiting class received a No. 3 ranking from Collegiate Baseball. The class consists of 13 newcomers, including 11 freshmen and two junior college transfers.

Aaron Fitt from Baseball America had this to say about Oregon’s 2010 class:
Oregon, like UCLA, is already loaded with arms, so the Ducks were content to bring in the nation's best group of impact hitters. Stefan Sabol, Tyler Kuresa and Ryon Healy are all blue-chip prospects, and coaches and scouts in the West also rave about speedy outfielder Connor Hofmann, catcher Aaron Jones and outfielder Brett Thomas. Add those bats to Oregon's loaded pitching staff, and it's easy to envision the Ducks getting to Omaha in just their third season since the program was reinstated after a 28-year hiatus.

The 2010 freshman class is comprised of six 2010 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft selections including infielder Tyler Kuresa (Roseville, Calif./Oakmont HS), catcher Stefan Sabol (Aliso Viejo, Calif./Aliso Niguel HS), right-hander Brando Tessar (Simi Valley, Calif./Chaminade HS), outfielder Connor Hofmann (San Diego, Calif./St. Augustine HS), catcher Aaron Jones (San Clemente, Calif./San Clemente HS) and right-hander Brandon Brennan (San Juan Capistrano, Calif./Capistrano Valley HS).

In addition, Oregon has highly-touted freshmen outfielder Kyle Garlick (Chino Hills, Calif./Chino Hills HS), right-hander Ryon Healy (West Hills, Calif.), infielder Aaron Payne (San Clemente, Calif./San Clemente HS), right-hander Jimmie Sherfy (Camarillo, Calif./Newbury Park HS) and outfielder Brett Thomas (Poway, Calif./Poway HS) on the roster.

Sabol was named the West Coast League’s top prospect by both Baseball America and Perfect Game Crosschecker in September, while Healy was named the California Collegiate League’s top prospect by Baseball America.

Jones, who also played in the WCL, was named the league’s No. 11 prospect by Perfect Game Crosschecker, while Kuresa was picked as the Hawaii Collegiate Baseball League’s No. 3 and No. 10 prospects by Perfect Game Crosschecker and Baseball America, respectively.

Junior college transfer Brett Hambright was drafted by the Rockies out of Riverside Community College in 2009, and is one of three newcomers who will be working behind the plate this year. Oregon’s second JC transfer is outfielder Alex Buccilli from Frederick Community College in Maryland.

The Ducks are currently participating in fall practice after beginning workouts on Sept. 13.

Oregon is returning to the field after advancing to the Norwich Regional finals in 2010, in only the program’s second year of reinstatement after a 27-year absence.

Horton manufactured the second-best turn around in NCAA history since 1998, as UO went from 14-42 in 2009 to 40-24 in 2010. Oregon ended the 2010 season ranked in four out of five national polls.

2010 BASEBALL AMERICA RECRUITING CLASS RANKINGS
1. Stanford
2. Louisiana State
3. UCLA
4. San Diego
5. Oregon
6. Florida
7. Georgia Tech
8. Arkansas
9. Rice
10. Cal State Fullerton
11. California
12. Vanderbilt
13. North Carolina
14. Oregon State
15. Oklahoma State
16. Southern California
17. San Diego State
18. Mississippi
19. South Carolina
20. Auburn
21. Oklahoma
22. Mississippi State
23. Nebraska
24. Louisville
25. Maryland