Paul Mainieri's team lost only first baseman Matt Edwards (left) from the 2005 group of starting position players, with most of the veterans currently competing in the annual fall practice.

Irish Baseball Program Signs Talented Eight-Player Class In Early Period

Nov. 16, 2004

The Notre Dame baseball program has inked eight high school seniors to national letters of intent during the 2004 early signing period, head coach Paul Mainieri announced today. The signees include four righthanded pitchers – Jeremy Barnes (Garland, Texas), Brett Graffy (Joliet, Ill.), David Phelps (Hazelwood, Mo.) and Kyle Weiland (Albuquerque, N.M.) – plus lefthander Sam Elam (Mesquite, Texas), third baseman Eddy Mendiola (Miami, Fla.), lefthanded-hitting catcher David Hum (Little Rock, Ark.), and utility player Ryan Connolly (Binghamton, N.Y.). Barnes is a talented two-way player who also has starred at shortstop for South Garland High School.

Notre Dame – which owns one of the nation’s highest victory totals (195) spanning the past four seasons – is set to lose just three players to graduation after the 2005 season, with several members of the junior class also likely high-round picks in the 2005 Major League draft. The current senior class includes two relief pitchers (righthander Tyler Jones and lefty Scott Bickford), plus designated hitter Brent Weiss. Two others seniors, righthander John Axford and corner infielder Matt Edwards, will have the option to apply for a fifth year of eligibility in 2006.

The signees are expected to continue Notre Dame’s tradition of top-ranked classes, including the 2002 freshman class that was ranked #1 in the nation. In fact, the recent signee group already has been ranked as the No. 21 class per Student Sports, with other national rankings to be announced at a later date.

On an individual basis, Team One Baseball lists Mendiola as the nation’s No. 3-ranked third base prospect, Hum as the fourth-best catcher and Elam as the No. 18 lefthanded pitcher – with Phelps (31st), Weiland (47th), Graffy (49th) and Barnes (97th) all rating among Team One’s list of top high school righthanders while Connolly is 96th on their list of top prep outfielders.

Phelps also is listed by Baseball America/Perfect Game as the No. 1-rated prospect in Missouri (as is Weiland in New Mexico) while Graffy Illinois) and Hum (Arkansas) are the No. 2-rated prospects in their respective states. Elam (34th) and Barnes (67th) both are listed among the top prospects from talent-rich Texas, as is Mendiola from fertile Florida (24th) and Connolly in New York (12th).

On the national scale, Mendiola is rated as high as the 45th overall prospect while Hum is 67th and Phelps 84th (each per Team One) – with Graffy ranked 96th on Baseball America’s list of the top-100 prep prospects.

Mendiola is the 21st position player on the Team One prospects list while Hum is 34th – making Notre Dame one of a just handful of schools, out of more than 300 in the nation, with multiple signees who are rated among Team One’s top-35 position players (Arizona State, with four, is the only school with more than ND’s two).

Notre Dame Baseball Signees – Fall 2004
Player Pos. Ht./Wt. Bats Hometown Previous School
Jeremy Barnes RHP/SS 6-0/170 R Garland, TX South Garland HS
Ryan Connolly UTIL 6-0/170 R Binghamton, NY Binghamton HS
Sam Elam LHP 6-4/205 Mesquite, TX Poteet HS
Brett Graffy RHP 6-2/180 Joliet, IL Joliet HS
David Hum C 6-0/190 L Little Rock, AR Catholic HS
Eddy Mendiola 3B 6-2/185 R Miami, FL Palmer Trinity HS
David Phelps RHP 6-3/175 Hazelwood, MO Hazelwood HS
Kyle Weiland RHP 6-4/175 Albuquerque, NM Eldorado HS

“We continue to recruit student-athletes who can succeed at the highest level of college baseball and this class also includes players who are the right fit for our program and the University of Notre Dame as a whole,” says Mainieri, whose program owns the nation’s third-longest string of 40-win seasons (16, including a record-setting 51-12 mark in 2003) and has made six straight trips to the NCAAs.

“We reached our goal of signing a group of pitchers who can contribute right away but who also are very projectable, with a high talent ceiling. They each have great athletic ability and competitiveness, can throw their fastballs by hitters and have command of a second and sometimes third pitch.

“Barnes is a very skilled two-way player who knows how to pitch. He also can handle the bat and can play multiple positions in the infield or outfield. Hum and Mendiola give us key hitters at their respective positions who can swing the bat with authority and power while Connolly is a great addition as an `athlete’ who could fill several important roles.”

The hard-nosed Mendiola is noted for his surehandedness, a rifle arm and the combination of keen instincts and athletic ability that allow him to make highlight-reel plays at the hot corner. The 6-2, 185-pounder also has a short, powerful stroke with power to both gaps – with his junior-year season at Palmer Trinity High School including a .406 batting average, 27 RBI, 8 doubles and 12 stolen bases in 20 games.

Hum could prove to be the nation’s best-hitting high school catcher, after an impressive showing at the 2004 Team One National Showcase in which he was one of four players cited among the “best pure hitters” and also was one of seven in the discussion at that event for having the “best raw power” (only one other player was on both lists). Known for his compact, smooth and powerful stroke, the 6-0, 190-pounder also has shown good bat control and bat speed from the left side of the plate. He earnedall-state honors as a junior at Catholic High School after batting .476 with 23 RBI and six home runs (most in the state).

Graffy has an athletic and projectable 6-2, 180-pound frame to go along with a quick arm, a clever pitching approach and an aggressive presence on the mound. A classic low-90s sinker and slider pitcher, he has shown the ability to throw three pitches for strikes in any count and is coming off a 6-1 season (3.28 ERA, 44 Ks in 53.1 innings) for the 2004 state runner-up team at Joliet High School.

The 6-3, 175-pound Phelps has shown the ability to spot a low-90s fastball with movement on both sides of the plate while also developing a tough set of off-speed pitches. His junior season at Hazelwood High School included a 2.65 ERA and an average of nearly 16 strikeouts per nine innings.

Elam recently burst onto the scene as a graceful 6-4, 205-pound lefthander noted for his great arm strength, high release point and a lively fastball that has started to push into the low-90s. He is coming off a strong 2004 season at Poteet High School in which he averaged better than two strikeouts per inning (54 in 26.0) while posting a 2.20 ERA.

Weiland boasts a deceptive delivery from different arm slots and is considered to have a high talent ceiling due to his strength, loose arm and tremendous athletic ability. The 6-4, 175-pounder has touched the low-90s and registered a strong summer season in Legion ball (1.66, 8-1) after going 6-2 with a 3.34 ERA as a junior at Eldorado High School.

Barnes – who logged a team-record 1.36 ERA as a junior at South Garland High School – is noted for his competitiveness on the mound and using his slider as a tough out-pitch.

Connolly is known as a gritty and high-energy competitor whose all-around athleticism includes earning all-conference honors as a junior at Binghamton High School (.439, 4 HR, 26 R, 20 SB) while also quarterbacking the football team and serving as captain for the local Junior B hockey team.

“For us to receive commitments from these top players from all across the nation, a great amount of credit is due to our assistant coaches and players,” says Mainieri, who has seen 40 of the Irish players in his 10-year tenure be drafted or signed as free agents while also maintaining a 100-percent graduation rate (59 of 59) among players who have completed their eligibility (plus several early-draftees who have returned to complete their credits).

“David Grewe and Terry Rooney did a superb job scouring the nation to find the right `fits’ for our program. David did an excellent job in structuring the recruiting efforts and Terry has been tremendous in assisting him along the way while providing tremendous energy for recruiting.

“I also continue to believe that our best recruiters are our current players, who give a great deal of their time to educate the prospects, while they are visiting campus, about the special qualities of our university and our baseball program. Seeing how content our current players are at Notre Dame makes a very positive impact on the prospects.”

The eight signees hail from seven different states – Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, New York and Texas – and would join a Notre Dame program that currently includes players from 17 states/provinces (the program’s list of all-time monogram winners spans 800-plus players who hail from 44 states).

The signing of Mendiola continues a recent trend that has seen 15 Floridians play for the Irish during the Mainieri era (since ’94), with that group including current players such as sophomore lefthander Matt Whittington (Melbourne) and the freshman trio of infielder Ross Brezovsky (Naples), lefthander Wade Korpi (Lake Worth) and righthander Joey Williamson (Lantana).

Barnes and Elam could become the sixth and seventh Texans to pitch for the Irish in the Mainieri era – others include current senior Tyler Jones (Arlington), sophomore Jeff Manship (San Antonio) and freshman Tony Langford (Fort Worth) – while Graffy would become the 32nd Illinois native to play for the Irish in the Mainieri era.

Hum could become the second player from Arkansas – and first since 1920s pitcher Oscar Rust (Little Rock) – to earn a varsity monogram with the Notre Dame baseball program while the state of New Mexico has produced two previous Notre Dame baseball monogram winners: 1920s second baseman Joseph Quinlan (Ft. Bayard) and Albuquerque native Christian Parker, who preceded Weiland at Eldorado and pitched with the Irish (’95-’96) before embarking on a pro career with the Expos and Yankees organizations.

Phelps would follow 1B/LHP Joe Thaman (St. Louis) as the second Missouri native to play for the Irish in the Mainieri era, which also has included five players from New York (among them current junior outfielder and Plainview product Craig Cooper).

In addition to the Weiland-Parker connection, several other members of the signee class have pre-existing ties to Notre Dame. Hum’s brother Houston currently is a sophomore at Notre Dame while Graffy hails from a Joliet High School system that also has produced former Notre Dame football walk-on Rudy Ruettiger (whose story inspired the movie “Rudy”), current ND linebacker Mike Goolsby, former Irish lefthander and big-leaguer Chris Michalak, and former ND catcher and current executive director of the University’s Alumni Association Chuck Lennon. Mendiola is a longtime friend of Andres Tamayo, the younger brother of former Irish pitcher Danny Tamayo.

Additional Barnes Notes – #97-rated RHP in the nation (per Team One) and #67 overall player in state of Texas (per Baseball America) … earned all-district honors as a junior, at both SS and RHP (also team MVP) … hit .314 with 3 HRs as a junior at South Garland HS while his team-record 1.36 ERA included a no-hitter vs. crosstown rival Garland HS squad led by Jarrod Plumber (now a member of the L.A. Dodgers organization) and his 1.39 ERA … pitched in championship game at ’04 summer national tournament in Austin, as member of Dallas Tigers … has competed with Tigers at ’03 (runner-up) and ’04 Wood Bat Championships … threw perfect game as 14-year old with Garland Cubs and played in Pony World Series … has been nominated for Davy O’Brien Academic-Athletic Scholarship … received prestigious Sons Of the Revolutionary War Award as a freshman … his mother played basketball at the University of Arkansas at Monticello … son of David and Sharon Barnes.

Mainieri on Barnes – “Jeremy was a key in this year’s recruiting class and is a perfect fit as a two-way player. He pitches in the mid-80’s with a great slider as an out pitch, is the ultimate competitor who will throw strikes, hold runners and always keep his team in the game. Although primarily a shortstop, Jeremy can play multiple infield positions. He has a great glove and a solid stroke at the plate. He shows the ability to drive balls in the gap while hitting for a high average. We are extremely excited to have Jeremy as a member of our program and he will remind people of so many former players who have excelled here at Notre Dame.”

Barnes On His Decision – “I came to Notre Dame because you could not ask for a better school in regards to athletics and academics. I know that by going here I’ll be prepared for whatever I end up doing in life. It’s something kids dream about and I couldn’t pass that up.”

Additional Connolly Notes – #12-ranked prospect in New York (per BA) and nation’s #96-rated outfielder (Team One) … all-conference as a junior at Binghamton HS, after batting .439 (4 HR, 26 R, 20 SB) … only player from New York named to Street and Smith’s preseason list of the “top-50 juniors to watch across the country” … hit bases-loaded double to beat Vestal in state semifinal … went 4-for-5 and scored winning run in 9-inning game vs. rival Windsor … stroked three triples in game 3 of Empire State Games vs. Long Island (hit 8-for-16 overall in ESG) … also all-conference as a sophomore (.459, 10 2B, 15 SB) … hit 3-run HR in ’03 American Legion district championship … an all-metro pick as a freshman (.317) … also an all-division quarterback as a sophomore and junior …captained Junior B hockey team the past two years …candidate for International Baccalaureate Diploma … has been honored for volunteer service … member of the National Honor Society… son of Penny and the late Michael Connolly.

Mainieri on Connolly – “Ryan is a special story this year. He always has dreamed of playing baseball at Notre Dame and attended our 2004 summer camp. Ryan will join the Irish as a utility player who can play multiple positions. He is a great athlete, which is evident by his ability to lead his high school football team deep into the playoffs as their quarterback. Ryan is another great fit for our program as both a quality young man and baseball player. He will bring a tremendous attitude and effort to the field each and every day.”

Connolly on His Decision – “Notre Dame has been a goal of mine since I was a little kid. I’ve always been a fan of the Irish and now being given the opportunity to be a part of the Fighting Irish Family, it’s truly a dream come true. Not only am I entering a top-10 baseball program but better yet one of the best educational institutions. My academics were always the first priority and I certainly can’t go wrong walking away with a degree from Notre Dame. The tradition, the class, the aura that drops upon you when you step on the campus is something that you can’t experience anywhere else. ND was always my number-one choice from the start and I’m so grateful that this is how it all worked out.”

Additional Elam Notes – Rated #147 prospect in nation by Team On (#312 per BA) … also listed by Team One as No. 18 prep prospect among LHPs while BA slotted him 34th overall among Texas high school players … touched 88 mph at the Perfect Game Wood Bat National Championships in Fort Myers, Fla. … posted 2.20 ERA and racked up 54 Ks in 26 IP (2.1 per IP, 18.7 per 9 IP) as a junior at Poteet HS … logged 11 straight games in relief without allowing a hit or run … named MVP of Mt. Pleasant Tournament after four shutout, no-hit relief stints … helped lead ’04 team to regional semifinals … played in Texas Scout Game at the Ballpark at Arlington (Ameriquest Field) … listed as #5 prospect at South Showcase held at Baylor … hit pinch-hit double in bottom of 7th to tie state playoff game … honor roll student … son of Rusty and Belynda Elam.

Mainieri on Elam – “Sam stands out as a very projectable lefthanded pitcher with great arm strength. He developed over the summer and fall, going from being virtually an unknown prospect to one of the best lefthanded arms in the country by the end of the summer; throwing in the high 80s & low 90s. He has the ability to dominate at the college level and should be the latest in our rich tradition of getting great players from the state of Texas.”

Elam on His Decision – “I had a feeling in my heart as soon as I walked on campus that Notre Dame was going to be the place where all my dreams could come to fruition. There’s such great academics and athletics at Notre Dame and the entire feeling I got from there made a big impact on me. I felt very comfortable around the team and it’s a real good environment for me. The way all the players interacted, I could tell it is a real close group. And the coaching staff has a great attitude about everything. It was really nice to see.”

Additional Graffy Notes – Rated #96 prospect in nation by Baseball America (#163 per Team One) … also rated #49 RHP (Team One) and #2 overall player in Illinois (BA), behind RHP Mike Bowden (Aurora) … his junior season at Joliet HS included 6-1 record (3.28 ERA, 44 Ks, 18 BB, 49 H in 53.1 IP) for state runner-up team that went 36-8 … went 2-0 with 2 saves in state playoffs, earning all-tournament honors … beat rival Providence in regional title game (5.2 IP) and added complete game in super-sectional vs. Sandburg (1 R, 4 H, 7 Ks), then closed 2-1 quarterfinal win over #1-ranked St. Rita (2.2 IP) and added big save vs. St. Charles East in semifinal (2.2 IP) … earlier threw 1-hit shutout vs. top-ranked St. Rita in first varsity start … participated in ’04 Perfect Game National Showcase in St. Petersburg, Team One North Showcase at Notre Dame (rated #3 prospect) and ’04 WWBA Tournament in Marietta, Ga. … topped out at 89 mph at Perfect Game World Wood Bat National Championship in Ft. Myers, Fla. … played for Top Tier and Major League Beginnings club teams in summer and fall of ’04 … served as team captain on freshman and sophomore teams … listed by Chicago Sun Times as state’s #2 prospect as a junior … invited to PG AFLAC Showcase in Baltimore but unable to attend … picked for Prep National Tournaments from `02-’04 … led New Lenox Hawks to ’02 CABA Quality national title … attends same high school as former ND football player Rudy Ruettiger (whose story inspired the movie “Rudy”), plus current ND linebacker Mike Goolsby, former Irish LHP and big-leaguer Chris Michalak, and former ND catcher and current executive director of the ND Alumni Association Chuck Lennon … one of two recipients of Illinois State Principals Award in 2000, recognizing leadership, academics and athletics .. actively involved in campus ministry … selected for ’04 National Youth Leadership Forum on Intelligence and Diplomacy (held in Washington, D.C.) … son of Paul and Cindy Graffy.

Mainieri on Graffy – “Brett is a special player with a great deal of promise as one of the top righthanded pitchers in the country. Fortunately for the Notre Dame baseball program, he has expressed the desire to go to a school where he can have the very best of athletics and academics. Brett has grown up loving Notre Dame and has held a great fondness for the Irish his whole life. Brett has what we call great `pitchability,’ meaning that he is an extremely smart pitcher who knows how to set up hitters and put them away, with a demeanor and mound presence that separates him from most pitchers his age. Brett has shown the ability and confidence to throw three pitches for strikes in any count and, because of that, he will have a chance to step in and immediately play a significant role on our staff.”

Graffy on His Decision – “To me, Notre Dame just felt at home. It was somewhere I had wanted to go my whole life. I’ve been surrounded by a lot of Notre Dame people and they have told me what a great place it is. When I came on my visit, I could tell that the team is very close-knit and I liked how straightforward the coaches are. I also know that I will be in good hands with such a great pitching coach as Terry Rooney. He has a great track record in working with guys like Grant Johnson and Chris Niesel.”

Additional Hum Notes – Rated by Team One as nation’s #4 catcher prospect, behind Preston Paramore (Allen, Texas), Charlie Cutler (San Francisco) and Kyle Maxie (Hattiesburg, Miss.) … also rated by Team One as nation’s #67 overall player (#235 per BA) and #2 on BA’s list of top prospects from Arkansas (behind LHP Travis Wood of Alexander) … joined Jay Bruce as only two players mentioned by Team One on short lists of top players at 2004 Team One National Showcase (Las Vegas) for both “best pure hitter” (1 of 4) and “best raw power” (1 of 7) … all-conference and all-state as a junior at Catholic HS, after batting .476 with 23 RBI, 6 HR (led state), 2 3B, 12 2B (.881 slugging), 15 walks and just 7 Ks in 26 GP … two-year team captain … hit for the cycle in 12-2 win over Lakeside at Benton tournament (in 4 ABs, getting triple last) … hit tape-measure home run in Legion game vs. Heber Springs, knocking out ace pitcher and turning 8-8 thriller into 22-8 rout … named to state all-sophomore team (also all-conference) in ’03 after batting .438 with 36 RBI and 8 HR (17 B, 7 Ks, 8 2B) … also a 2004 all-state performer with Maumelle Legion team, batting .411 with team-record 10 HR (47 RBI, 30 BB, 14 Ks, 11 2B) … played in 2004 East Coast Pro Showcase (Wilmington, N.C.) and with the Central Arkansas Sox AAU team that placed 5th at 2003 Junior Olympics (in Detroit) … named outstanding defensive player at USSSA World Series in Winter Haven, Fla. (helping team win national title) … his brother Houston Hum currently is a sophomore at Notre Dame … son of Bruce and Diane Hum.

Mainieri on Hum – “David is a great fit for the Irish baseball program. He truly knows what the Notre Dame family is all about and brings an attitude and love for the game that we look for in players. David attended our 2003 Fall All-Star camp and was one of the most highly-touted catchers in the country this past summer. David is a very physical and offensive catcher who has the ability to control the bat well and he has shown tremendous bat speed. His lefthanded swing is quick, compact and smooth. He alao has shown a great deal of `pop’ in his bat, has the ability to hit the ball out of the park and possibly could hit in the middle of our order. Both as a hitter and behind the plate defensively, David is a very polished baseball player.”

Hum on His Decision – “It was my brother’s lifelong dream to attend Notre Dame and because of him I had an early interest in ND and became familiar with the campus. The ND Baseball Camp was a determining factor in my desire to play at Notre Dame. My brother Houston also played a significant role in my decision. It made a big difference to be going someplace where he could continue to watch me play and be there for support. When we were young, we would play catch and used to talk about what it would be like if we were both at Notre Dame and I was playing baseball. I watched Notre Dame closely in the 2002 College World Series and thought at the time how awesome it would be to play for Notre Dame and possibly in the CWS. When I attended baseball camp, the coaches made me feel comfortable and confident. They are knowledgeable and I know they can help me improve and reach my goals. I was looking for a major D-1 school with a team that would give me a chance to play as a catcher and hopefully take me to Omaha. I have always worked hard to keep my grades high because I wanted to attend a top academic school. I wanted both great academics and a nationally-recognized baseball program. Notre Dame offers the best of both. I am certain that I have made a great decision and I have already begun to experience the meaning of `The Notre Dame Family’.”

Additional Mendiola Notes – Rated by Team One as nation’s #3 prospect among 3B, behind Josh Bell (Lantana, Fla.) and Chris Dominguez (Miami) … also nation’s #45 overall prospect per Team One (#150 BA) and #24 per BA in the state of Florida … hit .406 as a junior team MVP and all-county performer at Palmer Trinity HS (27 RBI, 2 HR, 4 3B, 8 2B, 12 SB,20 GP), after transferring from Belen Jesuit … helped lead Palmer Trinity to first district title in 18 years … two-year captain at Palmer Trinity … member of state runner-up team at Belen Jesuit as a sophomore … #35 prospect at WWBA Underclassmen Championship (BA) … also ranked #32 among 500 players at ’04 National Underclassman Showcase … named to BA/Perfect Game USA Team that competed at ’04 WWBA National Wood Bat Championship … selected to play for Team Florida at ’04 CABA World Series in Euclid, Ohio … invited to Chicago White Sox ’04 all-star game between Dade and Broward counties … national honor roll student … son of Eduardo and Aylin Mendiola.

Mainieri on Mendiola – “Eddy is the type of player who can bring many positive qualities to the field. He is a middle of the order type of hitter at the major college level, with an advanced approach at the plate and the ability to hit balls in both gaps. Eddy has great instincts at third base, he plays the game hard and has a rocket for an arm. Eddy has many of the same attributes and qualities that former Irish standout Javi Sanchez brought to the field. He will add power to the lineup and toughness in the field. He plays the game like many of the former Irish greats. Eddy is the next great player in the long list of Irish players that we have landed from the state Florida. We am very excited to have Eddy as a member of this year’s recruiting class. He’s a Notre Dame type guy with ties to former Irish players over the last several years.”

Mendiola on His Decision – “I am friends with Andres Tamayo, who is the younger brother of former Notre Dame pitcher Danny Tamayo, so I always remember Danny saying how tight the baseball family was at Notre Dame. He was always impressed with all the former players who came back to see coach Mainieri and with the general family atmosphere of the school. It was very intriguing to me that a school would have such a unique tradition as Notre Dame. It always has been one of my top choices. It’s also one of the top schools in the country and you can’t do much better than having a Notre Dame diploma in your hand when you graduate.”

Additional Phelps Notes – Rated nation’s #84 prospect by Team One (#108 BA) … also rated by BA as top prospect in Missouri and listed by Team One as nation’s #31 RHP … topped out at 92 mph at the Perfect Game World Wood Bat National Championship (only six pitchers threw higher, none above 94) …earned all-conference honors (as both a pitcher and outfielder) during sophomore and junior seasons at Hazelwood HS, with his ’03 season including a 2.65 ERA, 4-2 record and 15.5 Ks per 9 IP (59 Ks, 34.1 IP, 9 GP/5 GS, 3 CG, 2 SV, 21 H, 13 BB) … also named all-metro as a junior … tossed 1-hitter in season opener vs. St. Charles and again in ’04 summer with Midwest Prospects, racking up 16 Ks vs. Colorado-based Play Ball Sports team (at Omaha tournament) … also has lettered twice in basketball … earned all-state honors with SLABA team in 8th and 10th grade, also playing in Perfect Game showcases as junior and senior … invited to Area Code Games as a junior … honor-roll student and member of NHS … his brother Mike played baseball at Central Missouri … son of Alan and Sandy Phelps.

Mainieri on Phelps – “David has the ability to be considered a good professional draft pick next June. Again, fortunately for the Notre Dame baseball program, he has expressed the desire from day one that Notre Dame is the place he wants to go to school to continue his baseball career. David is an outstanding prospect because he has the physical ability to be a dominant pitcher at our level. He can spot that fastball with movement on both sides of the plate and also shows the making of a tremendous repertoire with great off-speed pitches. David has a chance to be one of the truly great ones at ND and we are excited to watch his development.”

Phelps on His Decision – “From day one, I knew Notre Dame was where I wanted to go. My visit was great and it’s a place where I can see myself winning. The coaches are amazing and you can tell that they know what they are talking about and know the proper way to do things. You can see how they’ve been able to build such a great program.”

Additional Weiland Notes – Rated #151 prospect in nation (per Team One, also 47th among RHPs) … top-ranked prospect in New Mexico (per BA) … posted 3.43 ERA as junior at Eldorado HS (6-2, 46 Ks, 49 IP), also hitting 5 HR … had 11 Ks in 8-inning complete game during `04 district playoffs … also went 8-1 with 1.66 ERA during ’04 Summer Legion ball (33 Ks, 38 IP; hit .395 with 6 HR) … tossed no-hitter in ’04 American Legion game for team that went on to win state title … selected for New Mexico baseball showcase the past two years … also competed at ’04 Best of the West Showcase (held at Loyola Marymount) … from same high school as former ND pitcher Christian Parker, who went on to pitch in the Expos and Yankees organizations … was a nationally-ranked youth swimmer who in 1996 swam the 8th-fastest 50-meter butterfly time in U.S. history for his age group … received Academic Excellence Letter Award … son of Bill and Mary Beth Weiland.

Mainieri on Weiland – “Kyle attended our 2004 fall baseball camp and showed great arm strength and tremendous athletic ability. Kyle comes from New Mexico and is from the same high school as former Notre Dame great and major league pitcher Christian Parker, who is able to work with the pitchers at his former high school in the offseason. Kyle was very intriguing at our camp and showed the ability to use different arm angles and create deceptiveness in his delivery. He throws with a very `loose’ arm, which makes us feel his velocity will continue to improve. As he matures physically, Kyle has a tremendous ceiling. We am confident that he will develop into a great college pitcher and future professional draft pick Kyle is a great fit for Notre Dame and will make great contributions to the Irish baseball program.”

Weiland on His Decision – “Notre Dame has given me the chance to play baseball for a top-10 program in the country, as well as get a degree from a very prestigious school. On my visit to the campus, I was amazed and knew I wanted to be apart of the tradition at Notre Dame.”