Seven pitchers and six transfers highlight a group of 13 players that have committed to play for new coach Mike Littlewood at BYU.
The six transfers are outfielder Bryan Heward, right-handed pitcher Rhett Nelson, left-handed pitcher Rhett Parkinson and right-handed pitcher Michael Springer from Salt Lake Community College, outfielder Eric Urry from Chandler Gilbert Community College in Arizona, and infielder/outfielder Dallen Reber from the University of Kentucky.
Additionally, Utah prepsters Riley Gates, a portside pitcher from Santa Clara; Bronson Larson, a catcher from Fruit Heights; Brennon Lund, an outfielder from South Jordan; and Arik Mack, a lefty pitcher from Springville, join out-of-state signees Jerrel Latham, an outfielder from Las Vegas; Hayden Rogers, a left-handed pitcher from Mesa, Ariz.; and Jordan Wood, a right-handed pitcher from Friendswood, Texas.
Riley Gates, LHP, 5-11, 186, Snow Canyon HS, Santa Clara, Utah Had a 7-1 record last season, was 3A all-tournament team, first team all-state, and third team All-American honors voted on by the National High School Baseball Coaches Association.
Littlewood on Gates: “Riley comes to us as one of the highest touted players in the state. Fresh off a 3A State Championship at Snow Canyon High School, he brings the winning mentality we recruit. We are glad Riley chose to come to BYU as he had several offers all over the country.”
Bryan Heward, Outfielder, 6-2, 215, Salt Lake Community College/Bonneville High, Ogden, Utah Batted .311, with 4 doubles, 2 triples and 3 homers last season.
Littlewood on Heward: “Bryan is a big, strong, athletic outfielder whom we expect to be a middle-of-the-lineup type guy. The ball comes off his bat different than most kids; he has a chance to hit for big power here. He plays for former Cougar standout DG Nelson at Salt Lake Community College.
Bronson Larson, Catcher, 5-11, 181, Davis High, Fruit Heights, Utah Second team all-state, played for the Utah Bucks.
Littlewood on Larson: “Bronson is one of the top high school catchers in the country. He has a ton of raw talent, pure power and a chance to be a premier defender at this level and beyond.”
Jerrel Latham, Outfield, 6-1, 185, Bishop Gorman High, Las Vegas, Nevada Batted .475 with nine doubles and 11 stolen bases, hitting the highest of any outfielder in the state last season. He played for the Cincinnati Reds scout team. Father is Chris Latham, who played in the Major League for the Twins, Blue Jays, Yankees and for the Yomiuri Giants in Japan.
Littlewood on Latham: “Jerrel is a rare five tool player that has incredible upside. His dad, Chris, had a five-year major league career and if Jerell keeps getting better, he has the ability to follow that same path. We are extremely fortunate to land a player with Jerell’s abilities. Jerrel plays at one of the best high school baseball programs in the country at Bishop Gorman High School where he is coached by former Cougar Nick Day.”
Brennon Lund, Outfield, 5-10, 180, Bingham High, So. Jordan, Utah Second team all-state, all-region, 5A all-tournament team and MVP of the state all-star game. Batted .530 last season and played in the Area code Games with the Cincinnati Reds team, for the Utah Marshalls and the 5A state champions.
Littlewood on Lund: “Brennon is a dynamic player with all the baseball tools necessary to play at the highest level. As one of the highest recruited players in the country, Brennon had many options when it came to playing college baseball and I consider it an honor Brennon chose to be a Cougar. He plays for one of the best high school coaches in the country at Bingham High School in Joey Sato.”
Arik Mack, LHP, 6-2, 185, Maple Mountain High, Springville, Utah First team all-state with a 10-0 record, a 1.15 ERA and one save and 109 strikeouts last season.
Littlewood on Mack: “Arik is one of the premier left-handed pitchers in the state. We watched him pitch very well against the best competition in the country last summer and look forward to him bringing that experience to our staff. Arik is coached by former Cougar Gary Miner and his dad Jeff also played for BYU.”
Rhett Nelson, Inf-RHP, 6-3, 210, Salt Lake Community College/Santa Clara University/Timpanogos High, Lindon, Utah Prior to serving a mission to Osorno, Chile, he had 12 appearances out of the SCU bullpen, going 1-0 with a 7.59 ERA, striking out six in 10 2/3 innings in 2010. Led THS to the 2008 Utah Class 5A state title, with a 10-0 record, including a 3-0 mark during the title. Recorded 78 strikeouts and owned an ERA of 2.02 as a prep junior while also hitting .441 playing third base and hitting third in the lineup. Was the 2008 5A State Tournament MVP and a MaxPreps.com Junior All-American. Got 'Player of the Year' honors from the Salt Lake Tribune, Provo Daily Herald and named 5A MVP by the Deseret News. Was 2008 Utah Class 5A first team all-state, all-region and National High School Baseball Coaches Association all-district selection. Earned all-region honors as a sophomore in 2007. Won seven games and hit .415 as a senior in 2009 and was named a First Team All-State player by the Deseret News and 2009 Timpanogos Team MVP. His sister played soccer at Grand Canyon Univ. and is a coach at Iowa Western.
Littlewood on Nelson: “Rhett is a highly-competitive person with great athletic ability and we are very fortunate to have him join our program. A two-way player in high school and at Salt Lake CC, Rhett will concentrate on pitching here at BYU, and with his experience at SLCC and Santa Clara University we expect him to contribute heavily to our program immediately. He also plays for former Cougar standout DG Nelson.”
Dallen Reber, infielder/outfielder, 6-0, 220, Univ. Kentucky/Dixie High, St. George, Utah Currently serving a mission to Chile Santiago, he was two-time first team all-state in baseball and first team all-state in football. He batted .310 with two home runs at the University of Kentucky in 2011.
Littlewood on Reber: “Dallen was a three-sport athlete at Dixie High School in St. George and could have played college football. Dallen is one of the most competitive athletes I’ve been around and brings a year of SEC playing experience to BYU after transferring from the University of Kentucky.”
Rhett Parkinson, LHP, 6-0, 190, Salt Lake Community College/Mountain Crest High, Wellsville, Utah Had a 5-0 record with a 3.22 ERA and 58 strikeouts in 50 innings last season at SLCC.
Littlewood on Parkinson: “Rhett is a power left-hander who pounds the zone and isn’t afraid to compete. He brings a wealth of experience from playing in one of the best junior college conferences in the country and we look for him to make an immediate impact on our program. He plays for former Cougar standout DG Nelson.”
Hayden Rogers, LHP, 6-0, 180, Mountain View High, Mesa, Ariz. Currently serving a mission to London, England. MVP of the 5A all star game in 2011, second team all-state and two-time all-region. Was honorable mention Arizona Republic 5A in 2010. Played on the Arizona team in the Southland Classic. He had a broken hand last season, but in 2011 had a 4-2 record with a 2.37 ERA in 38.1 innings with 40 strikeouts and three saves, batting .350.
Littlewood on Rogers: “Hayden is an upper 80’s, low 90’s left hander who got a lot of attention from professional scouts during his senior year at Mt. View H.S. in Mesa, Ariz. Hayden elected to serve his mission immediately after high school and we are looking forward to getting him on campus next fall.”
Michael Springer, RHP, 6-2, 165, Salt Lake Community College/ Taylorsville High, West Jordan, Utah Last season he was second team All-Region 18 and had a 5-0 record with a 2.49 ERA in 43.1 innings with 39 strikeouts.
Littlewood on Springer: “Mike comes from a great program at Taylorsville High, and a great junior college program at Salt Lake Community College. Mike is a proven winner with a power arm and we expect him to do great things here at BYU. He also plays for former Cougar standout DG Nelson.”
Eric Urry, Outfielder, 6-1, 180, Chandler Gilbert Community College/ McClintock High, Tempe, Ariz. Was second team all-region and has served a mission to the Dominican Republic. At McClintock High he was three-time all-region, MVP and captain in both baseball and football, being named all-state in football as a senior.
Littlewood on Urry: “Eric is a very athletic outfielder who brings a tremendous amount of experience at the junior college level from Chandler-Gilbert Community College. Eric has a tough-nosed competitive attitude that will make our team better immediately.”
Jordan Wood, RHP, 6-3, 190, Friendswood High, Friendswood, Texas Was two-time All-Galveston County Second Team as a sophomore and played with the Houston Kyle Chapman Team the past two summers. As a sophomore he had an 8-1 record with a 1.62 ERA and last season was 2-5, 2.62 and a team co-captain. He was first team all-district as a shortstop. He participated in the Texas Scout Team at Minute Maid Park. He was second team all-district in basketball and was quarterback in football, twice named first team all-district and was the only player in Houston area rushing for 2,000 yards.
Littlewood on Wood: “Jordan comes to us from Texas and has had an outstanding career at Friendswood High. He is a two-way player that has a very live arm and tremendous upside. He will be a great player for us here at BYU. Jordan will be serving a mission before enrolling in school.”
Ralph R. Zobell has worked for BYU Athletic Media Relations in various capacities for over 30 years. You can view his bio at http://byucougars.com/staff/athletics/ralph-zobell or contact him at email@example.com.
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company