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Prado Announces 2011-12 Signing Class
Article Photo
Courtesy: J. Meric

TAMPA - University of South Florida head baseball coach Lelo Prado has announced the signing of seven high school recruits and one junior college transfer to National Letters of Intent for the 2011-12 academic year.

"The class as a whole is a group of guys that we believe will come in and play for us and have an impact right away," said Prado. "All of them are accomplished at the high school level. It is a solid group but we will not grade them until after four years when we see what was accomplished. This is a class that we feel has a chance to help us win multiple championships."

The class of 2011-12 includes: Steven Leasure - RHP - State College of Florida; Michael Clarkson - RHP/IF - Dunedin HS - Oldsmar, Fla; Joe Kreibiel - SS/ RHP - Seminole HS - Seminole, Fla.; Austin Lueck - OF - Lake Brantley - Longwood, Fla.;  Buddy Putnam - IF/ OF - Bartow High School - Bartow, Fla.; Max Rowe - RHP - Plant HS/Tampa, Fla.; Blake Sydeski - C/1B - New Smyrna Beach HS - Edgewater, Fla.­­; and Kyle Teaf - 2B/SS - Trinity Catholic HS - Leesburg, Fla.

The class, which is the fifth of Prado's tenure at USF, is headlined by the 2010 Pinellas County Player of the Year, in addition to a number of student-athletics who garnered all-state and all-area honors.

Of the eight signees, four hail from the Tampa Bay area, and will join the 20 Bulls already on the USF roster from the Bay Area. 

More impressively, not only are these individuals solid on field but they are excellent in the class room as well.

"The thing I am most happy with about this class is they all are excellent students in the classroom. That is very important. We will always look for the player that is a true student-athlete. All of these guys can come in and compete at the highest level academically," added Prado.

Player Bios

Michael Clarkson - RHP/IF - Bats: R - Throws: R -  6'1"/190 lbs - Dunedin HS - Oldsmar, Fla.
Led Dunedin to a 24-4-1 overall record as a junior, hit .379 with 29 RBI and 24 runs scored ... Shined on the mound going 9-2 with a 1.58 ERA ... Named St. Pete Times' honorable mention All-Suncoast baseball team ... Named to All-Pinellas County baseball team ... Rated by Perfect Game as the No. 53 prospect in the state of Florida and the No. 459 prospect in the country ... Named to 2010 Pinellas County Athletic Conference North first team ... Born March 16th, 1993.

Coach Lelo Prado on Clarkson...
"Mike has a great arm. He knows how to pitch but once he gets here and starts working with Chuck (Hernandez) his better days are ahead of him. He's a winner and knows how to pitch. He sets up hitters and it's rare to find that in a high school kid."

Coach Chuck Hernandez on Clarkson...

"Michael shows the ability to throw strikes and change speeds effectively at a very young age.  I think he is going to be able to compete quickly for us."

Joe Krehbiel - 6'1/185 - Bats: R - Throws: R - SS/RHP - Seminole HS - Seminole, Fla.
Named the 2010 Pinellas County Player of the year ... Hit .476 with six home runs, 23 runs scored and 20 RBI, ranking among the top two county public school players in batting average and home runs ... Recorded nine saves with a 1.00 ERA ... Opposing batters hit .167, giving up just six hits in 16 appearances ... Led the Warhawks to the Class 5A region finals ... Drew 21 walks while striking out just eight times ... Named to 2010 Pinellas County Athletic Conference first team.

Coach Lelo Prado on Krehbiel...
"Joe is one of the better players in the bay area, regardless of class. Being Pinellas Player of the year says it all. No doubt, he's going to have a decision to make but I hope he makes it to USF. He's a great athlete and I think will be a huge asset to this program if he steps foot on campus."

Coach Chris Heintz on Krehbiel ...
"Joe was last year's Pinellas County Player of the Year as a Junior.  Not only is he an outstanding shortstop with a great right-handed bat, he can also get on the mound and pitch for us as well."

Steven Leasure - RHP- 6-0/ 180 - Bats: R - Throws: R - State College of Fla./ Manatee HS/ Bradenton, Fla.

Will have two years of eligibility remaining once he arrives at USF ... In his lone season at State College of Florida, went 4-2 with a 3.81 earned run average, striking out 41 while walking 16 ... Pitched in 13 games, logging 52.0 innings ... All-Suncoast Conference Second Team ... Fanned 53 batters in 56 2/3 innings as a Manatee High senior ... Sported a 1.48 ERA as Canes made state tournament as district runners-up.

Coach Lelo Prado on Leasure...

"Steven is a guy who (Pitching coach) Chuck (Hernandez) saw at a junior-college tournament and really impressed him. He is a kid who can come in and pitch right away. He comes from a very successful junior-college program and was very good there. He will likely be one of their top arms on a very good team that went to the junior college world series last season. I like his makeup. He gets after it and knows how to pitch."

Coach Chuck Hernandez on Leasure...
"Steve is a JUCO recruit that we feel can make an immediate impact on our pitching staff. He pounds the strike zone and has shown the ability to compete at a high level. 

Austin Lueck - OF - 6'0/206 lbs - Bats: R - Throws: R - Lake Brantley HS-Longwood, Fla.

Hit .371 during his junior year in 2009 with 25 runs scored and 17 RBI ... Also swiped five bases ... Named  Perfect Game USA Preseason All-America Honorable Mention ... Plays for the Orlando Scorpions in the summer ... Hit .365 for the summer and fall season with two HR's for the Scorpions ... One of four Scorpion teammates along with Blake Sydeski (C), Kyle Teaf (INF) and Buddy Putnam (INF) to sign with the Bulls in the fall of 2010 ... Born November 16th, 1992 ... Also played linebacker for Lake Brantley HS.

Coach Lelo Prado on Lueck...
"Austin is a physically impressive kid with a good frame. He stopped playing football to focus on baseball and it really showed. His finest days are ahead of him. He's a fiery kid who competes and I love that about him."

Coach Chris Heintz on Lueck...
"Austin is a strong right-handed hitting outfielder that we feel has the potential to bring some power to our lineup." 

Buddy Putnam - IF/OF -
6'3/170 - Bats: L - Throws: R - Bartow HS-Bartow, Fla.
Hit .400 with a homer and 18 RBI as a junior in 2010 ... Made the Winter Haven News first-team All-Area team... Can, and has, played all nine positions on the field ... Named 4A All-State third team as a sophomore ... Plays for the Orlando Scorpions in the summer ... One of four Scorpion teammates along with Austin Lueck (OF), Kyle Teaf (INF) and Blake Sydeski (C) to sign with the Bulls in the fall of 2010 ... Chose USF over offers from Stetson and Mercer, as well as interest from Florida Atlantic (football) and Gardner-Webb (football and baseball) ... Played quarterback for Bartow ... Born January 12th, 1993 ... His sister, Courtney, is a softball player at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Coach Lelo Prado on Putnam...
"
I saw Buddy over the summer and instantly wanted him to come to USF.  He's athletic. He plays football and he can play any position on the (baseball) field. He's just an athlete that I really think is going to have a great college career."

Coach Chris Heintz on Putnam...
"Buddy is a great athlete that will contribute at the corner positions in the infield and the outfield.  He brings great versatility with his ability to play multiple positions.  He also brings a solid left-handed bat to our program."

Max Rowe - RHP - 6'6"/220-Bat: @ - Throws: R - Plant HS -- Tampa, Fla.
As a junior, 4-1 on the mound with a 1.89 earned run average ... Appeared in 11 games in 2010 with eight of them being starts ... Struck out 36 batters in 37 innings pitched while walking just 12 batters ... Named honorable mention All-Hillsborough County by the Tampa Tribune ... Older brother, Stan, is a 2010 Plant grad and a member of the Georgetown baseball team.

Coach Lelo Prado on Rowe...

"Max is a solid right-hander that really came on at the end of the year for Plant High School. With a 6'6" frame, he is intimidating on the mound. He is the type of kid that you are going to see get better and better each day as his body fills out and gets stronger. He is going to have an opportunity to pitch early."

Coach Chuck Hernandez on Rowe...
"Max is a tall, athletic righty with a tremendous upside. As his body matures, he could prove to be a solid weekend starter for us in the future."

Blake Sydeski - C/1B - 6'3"/218 lbs-Bat: R - Throws R - New Smyrna Beach HS - Edgewater, Fla.
As a junior, hit .382 with 26 RBI and 27 runs scored ... Behind the plate, he threw out 75 percent of base-stealers ... Named to the Daytona News-Journal All-Area first team ... Rated by Perfect Game as the No. 51 prospect in the state of Florida and the No. 466 prospect in the country ... Chose USF over offers from Ole Miss and Stetson ... Named first team All-Florida North by High School Baseball Scouting Network ... Plays for the Orlando Scorpions in the summer ... One of four Scorpion teammates along with Austin Lueck (OF), Kyle Teaf (INF) and Buddy Putnam (INF) to sign with the Bulls in the fall of 2010 ... Born November 16th, 1992.

Coach Lelo Prado on Sydeski...
"
Blake is a big, strong, solid kid. He going to be a guy who we are going to rely on. I love everything about him. I love the way he plays the game. I love his make up. His poise behind the plate separates him.

Coach Chris Heintz on Sydeski...
"Blake is a big, strong, athletic kid who has some pop in his bat and handles himself very well behind the plate.  He is also an outstanding student."

Kyle Teaf - 2B/SS - 5'11/160 lbs - Bats: Left - Throws: Right - Trinity Catholic HS-Leesburg, Fla.
Hit .333 with 19 stolen bases and 36 runs scored in 2010 as a junior ... Named first-team all-county by the Ocala Star-Banner ... As a sophomore, he had a school-record 24-game hitting streak, leading Trinity Catholic HS to to the Class 3A Final Four ... Was a second-team all-state selection as a sophomore in 2009 when he hit .478 ... Chose USF over Florida Atlantic, North Florida and Kentucky ... Plays for the Orlando Scorpions in the summer ... One of four Scorpion teammates along with Austin Lueck (OF), Blake Sydeski (C) and Buddy Putnam (INF) to sign with the Bulls in the fall of 2010 ... Born July 26th, 1992.

Coach Lelo Prado on Teaf...
"Kyle Teaf is a Chris Heintz-type of ball player. He's a player that just goes about his business. A Jon Koscos type player. He plays hard everyday. He will have a shot early in his career to step in and play."

Coach Chris Heintz on Teaf...
"Kyle is a "Gamer" who will be able to help us at any position on the infield.  He knows how to play the game and is also excellent in the classroom."


USF Baseball




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