Seven Players Sign To Play For USC In 2007

Nov. 17, 2005

LOS ANGELES -- Seven high school baseball players have signed national letters-of-intent to play at USC for the 2007 season, head coach Mike Gillespie announced today.

The class features two 2005 AFLAC All-Americans, catcher Hank Conger (Huntington Beach/Huntington Beach HS) and infielder Grant Green (Anaheim Hills/Canyon HS). Green is a member of the 2005 U.S. Junior National Team while Conger has previous experience with the U.S. Youth National Team.

The other five signees are: pitcher Brad Boxberger (Tustin/Foothill HS), catcher Keith Castillo (Huntington Beach/Mater Dei HS), pitcher/utility Kevin Couture (Coronado/Coronado HS), outfielder Michael O'Neill (Riverside/Riverside Poly HS) and pitcher/infielder Hector Rabago (Riverside/Riverside Poly HS)

'I'm thrilled about this year's recruiting class,' said Gillespie. 'I believe it's one of the better groups we have compiled in 20 years.'

Here are brief biographies on the key players:

Brad Boxberger, RHP, Tustin (Foothill HS) -- Boxberger went 6-4 with a 2.79 ERA in his 2005 junior season at Foothill High. In 62 2/3 innings, he allowed 50 hits, walked 29 and struck out 76, earning All-Sea View League first team honors. He was a member of the 2005 Angels' Elite team and the 2003 Mickey Mantle World Series champions (Orange County Dawgs). His father, Rod, went 12-1 with a 2.00 ERA for the 1978 USC national championship squad that went 54-9 and earned College World Series most valuable player honors

Keith Castillo, C, Huntington Beach (Mater Dei HS) -- Castillo earned all-county and All-Serra League honors in his 2005 junior season after batting .411 with four home runs and 31 RBI at Mater Dei High. He is a tight end on the football team, member of the National Honor Society and a College Board National Hispanic Scholar.

Hank Conger, C, Huntington Beach (Huntington Beach HS) -- Conger is a 2005 AFLAC All-American and played for the U.S. Youth National Team. He batted .357 (25-for-70) with seven home runs and 21 RBI in his 2005 junior season at Huntington Beach High, earning All-CIF and Los Angeles Times first team honors. Conger also won the 2005 Southland Showcase Home Run Derby.

Kevin Couture, RHP/UT, Coronado (Coronado HS) -- Couture earned 2005 San Diego Union-Tribune second team and All-CIF honors after going 9-2 with a 2.61 ERA. In 77 2/3 innings, Couture allowed 63 hits, walked 26 and struck out 98. He also batted .328 with four home runs and 28 RBI. Couture played in the 2005 North/South Allstars Game and earned All-Western League first team honors.

Grant Green, IF, Anaheim Hills (Canyon HS) -- Green is a member of the 2005 U.S. Junior National Team and batted .304 (14-for-46) with six RBI and two stolen bases at the 2005 Pan-Am Championships. He batted .455 (40-for-88) in his junior season at Canyon High with three home runs, 30 RBI and 14 stolen bases. Green was named 2004 Century League Rookie of the Year in his sophomore season after batting .430 (31-for-72) with eight doubles and 22 RBI.

Michael O'Neill, OF, Riverside (Riverside Poly HS) -- O'Neill earned 2005 Riverside Press Enterprise first team honors after batting .423 (41-for-97) with 35 runs scored, 17 RBI, 20 walks and going 12-for-12 on the basepaths in his junior season. He also earned All-CIF second team and All-Ivy League first team honors. O'Neill earned all-tournament honors at the Connie Mack World Series.

Hector Rabago, RHP/IF, Riverside (Riverside Poly HS) -- A two-way player, Rabago was named 2005 Los Angeles Times Player of the Year for the Inland Empire after batting .384 with nine home runs, 30 runs and 44 RBI while going 6-1 with a 2.30 ERA on the mound in his junior season. Rabago struck out 53 batters in 45 2/3 innings last year and is a two-time Ivy League most valuable player. He was also an All-CIF Division I and Riverside Press Enterprise first team selection.

USC is coming off a 41-22 season as the Trojans made their fifth straight NCAA Super Regional appearance in the past seven years.


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