Johnson inks '17 class - Tucson News Now

Johnson inks '17 class

Tucson, Ariz. – Coach Jay Johnson and the Arizona Wildcats announced their 14-man recruiting class for 2017 on Thursday.

Johnson's second class at Arizona includes eight pitchers, three outfielders, two infielders and a catcher. Of the 14, 10 hail from California or Arizona. Johnson also welcomes in future student-athletes from Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Nevada.

The Wildcats will welcome in 11 high school products and three junior college players.

"This is a great day for Arizona Baseball," Johnson said. "We believe we found a great blend of players with upside with future growth potential along with a bunch of winners and high level performers, which I am excited about. This group will fit well with the current players in our program as we continue to lay the foundation of Arizona Baseball for the long run and work to play a brand of baseball that our University, the city of Tucson, and the state of Arizona can be proud of."

Here's more information on each player:

Michael Benson
Catcher
Vista, Calif. | Palomar JC/Rancho Buena Vista HS
- Hit. 419 with eight home runs as a senior at Rancho Buena Vista HS in 2015; 34th round pick of Rockies in 2015
- Hit .370 (.470 in conference) with three home runs as a freshman at Palomar Junior College
- 2016 Pacific Association Division Rawlings Gold Glove Award Winner at Palomar
- First-Team ABCA /Rawlings Pacific Division All-American at Palomar
"Michael is a great defensive catcher with a strong throwing arm who has improved as an offensive player in his time at Palomar. He was drafted out of high school by the Colorado Rockies and I like the progression he has made as a player." – Coach Jay Johnson

Jacob Blas
Infield
Carlsbad, Calif. | San Marcos HS
- Hit .402 as a junior with 2 HR, 16 SB, 19 RBI and 33 runs scored; posted a .484 OBP
- Avocado East League MVP
- Member of 15U Team USA
- Member of CIF Championship team in 2016 at San Marcos HS
"Jacob is one of the elite infielders in the class of 2017 in California. He is an elite defensive player with high level infield actions and arm strength. He is a great athlete that can impact the game in many ways. He is a leader on the field, and a great fit for us. We are excited to see his development here at Arizona as a high impact player." – Coach Jay Johnson

Quinn Flanagan
Right-handed Pitcher
Chandler, Ariz. | Corona del Sol HS
- 2016 Perfect Game Second-Team Underclass All-American
- Posted a 6-1 record with a 1.56 ERA as a junior with 56 Ks in 49 1/3 IP
- AIA All-Section 1st Team
- American Family Insurance All-USA Arizona Baseball Division 1 Second-Team
"Quinn is one of the best high school pitchers in the state of Arizona. He is a big physical pitcher with a great arm, feel for his off speed, and a great competitive presence. He has a great future awaiting here and will be a big part of our pitching staff for the next several years." – CoachJay Johnson

Josh Haley
Left-handed Pitcher
Lakewood, Calif. | Gahr HS
- San Gabriel Valley Pitcher of the Year
- All-CIF First-Team
- Dream Team Selection First-Team
- Second-Team All-State
"Josh is a winner at one of the best high school programs in Southern California. He is a high level pitch ability guy with 3 pitches that are usable. He has a little bit of JC Cloney in him. I am excited about Josh.  His competitive nature will serve us well." – Coach Jay Johnson

Gil Luna
Left-handed Pitcher
Casa Grande, Ariz. | Casa Grande HS
- Posted a 1.16 ERA with 138 strikeouts as a junior
- Louisville Slugger All-American
- AIA Section Player of the Year
- AIA All-Division First-Team
"Gil had arguably the best season of any high school pitcher in the state of Arizona in 2016. He has an electric arm (up to 91 MPH), and will make an immediate impact for us. He has strike out stuff and will be a fixture of our pitching staff for a long time." – Coach Jay Johnson

Travis Moniot
Infield
Palm Desert, Calif. | Orange Coast JC/Oregon/Palm Desert HS
- All-State as a junior and senior at Palm Desert High School
- 34th round pick of the San Francisco Giants in 2015
- Started 53 games at shortstop at Oregon; tied school freshman home run record with five
- Member of Team USA Collegiate National Team that traveled to Cuba
"Travis is a great get for us and great fit for our 2018 team. We are fortunate that he was available and chose Arizona. To be able to bring in a player that has Pac-12 experience and Team USA experience is unique, which will benefit him and our team tremendously next year. His athletic skill fits perfectly into the type of team we want to build here at Arizona." – Coach Jay Johnson

J.J. Montenegro
Right-handed Pitcher
Farmers Branch, Texas | Jesuit College Prep
- Posted 11 wins total as a sophomore and junior at Jesuit College Prep
- Had a 1.75 ERA as a sophomore and held opponents to a .223 batting average
- 2016 Perfect Game Underclass Honorable Mention All-American
- 2015 Perfect Game Underclass Honorable Mention All-American
"JJ is a winner, and was a key piece of his Texas 6A state Championship team. Every time we evaluated him this summer, he rolled through the opposing line up. Great pitch ability, and a pitching approach that will fit well in our program. JJ is a winner plain and simple and we are excited we were able to pull him out of the state of Texas."

Blake Paugh
Outfield
Scottsdale, Ariz. | Chaparral HS
- Three-year varsity letterman
- 2016 Area Codes participant
- Hit nine home runs total at Chaparral HS as a sophomore and junior
- Posted a .315 batting average as a sophomore
"Blake is a physical player with great power potential. He was one of the best hitters this summer at the 2016 Area Code Games and has improved a lot over the past 6 months. He has a chance to become a great hitter here and blends that ability with good athleticism." – Coach Jay Johnson

Roman Phansalkar
Right-handed Pitcher
Edmond, Okla. | Heritage Hall HS
- Posted a team-best 10 wins as a sophomore
- Tossed 21 consecutive scoreless innings, establishing a new school record
- Two-time Oklahoma All-Star Game selection
- 2017 Under Armour Preseason All-American
"Roman was a huge get for us. He is a great athlete, with a loose arm with tons of projection. It is hard to find true strike out type guys but he has a legit (83 mph) knock out slider. Like JJ Montenegro, he seems to win and perform every time we see him. He is a two-time state champion in Oklahoma.  Roman has the skill and make up to make an immediate impact on our program." – Coach Jay Johnson

Matt Sauer
Right-handed Pitcher
Santa Maria, Calif. | Ernest Righetti HS
- 2016 Perfect Game Underclass First-Team All-American
- Went 10-3 with a 0.83 ERA as a junior at Ernest Righetti HS
- Totaled 103 strikeouts in 84 1/3 innings as a junior
- Member of the 2015 USA 17U National Team Development Program
"Matt may be the most impactful recruit we have had in our time here at Arizona. I believe he is one of the best pitchers in the country and blends his great stuff with elite make up and competitiveness. He has all the tools to become as good as he wants here at Arizona, and I could not be more excited to have him as a Wildcat." – Coach Jay Johnson

Tate Soderstrom
First Base/Outfield
Turlock, Calif. | Turlock HS
- Oakland A's Area Code Team selection (2016)
- California Baseball Coaches Association North-South State All-Star (2016)
- Batted .420 as a junior at Turlock HS
- Central California Conference First-team First Base; CCC Scholar Athlete
"Tate has a chance to become a name you will hear a lot about here. He is one of those rare guys that blends solid hitting skills with power and running speed. He has a balanced approach and has a very competitive nature about him that we are excited to add to our program." – CoachJay Johnson

Jonathan Stroman
Right-handed Pitcher
Albuquerque, N.M. | La Cueva HS
- Two-Time All-State selection
- Two-Time First-Team All-District selection
- Louisville, Under Armour and Perfect Game Preseason All-American
- Member of a state champion team at La Cueva HS
"Jonathan has an electric arm with a great breaking ball and has a chance to become as good as he wants to be. He has talent you do not see very often, a great athlete with a great arm and a high level performer." – Coach Jay Johnson

Avery Weems
Left-handed Pitcher
Flagstaff, Ariz. | Yavapai JC/Coconino HS
- Posted a .156 ERA as a senior at Coconino HS, holding opponents to a .197 batting average
- Arizona Daily Sun Athlete of the Year
- AIA All-Section First-Team, Division II
- Posted more than 200 strikeouts during high school career
"Avery has been committed to us for a long time and it has been great to see his growth as a pitcher over the last 12 months. He blends a fast left-handed arm with a great breaking ball, and has been developing his changeup. I think when he gets here and has the opportunity to be coached by Coach (Dave) Lawn, he will position himself to be a major factor for us in 2018." – Coach Jay Johnson

Donta Williams
Outfield
Las Vegas, Nev. | Legacy HS
- First-Team Perfect Game Preseason All-American
- 2016 Perfect Game Underclass First-Team All-American
- Batted .374 as a freshman with 14 SBs and was team MVP
- Perfect Game California World Series Underclass MVP
"Donta is an exciting player with elite defensive skills in the outfield, a plus runner, and a baseball player that could fit into Hi Corbett Field and our style of play very well. He has great athleticism, and I am excited to watch his future develop here at Arizona." – Coach Jay Johnson

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