USC Signs Eight Players For 2010 Season

Nov. 26, 2008

LOS ANGELES -- A total of seven high school players and one junior college player have signed national letters-of-intent to play for the USC baseball program in 2010, head coach Chad Kreuter announced today. The Trojans' class includes four players ranked in the top 100 nationally by Baseball America and three Aflac All-Americans.

The signees are: right-handed pitcher/outfielder Nick Berhel (Benicia/De La Salle HS); third baseman/right-handed pitcher Matt Davidson (Yucaipa/Yucaipa HS); catcher/first baseman Casey Husband (Del Mar/Cathedral HS); shortstop Adam Landecker (Calabasas/Calabasas HS); first baseman/right-handed pitcher Jeff Malm (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman HS); shortstop Jiovanni Mier (La Verne/Bonita HS); right-handed pitcher Logan Odom (Central Point, Ore./North Medford HS/Western Nevada CC) and right-handed pitcher/first baseman Brooks Pounders (Temecula/Temecula Valley HS).

'This is a special group of young men,' said Kreuter. 'The character of these young men is outstanding, equal to their ability as baseball players. They are all great students and will make the Trojan Family proud on and off the field.'

Here are brief biographies on the key players:

Nick Berhel, RHP/OF, 6-1 180 (Benicia/De La Salle HS) -- Berhel is rated No. 152 nationally by Perfect Game. He ran a 6.82 in the 60 during the 2008 National Showcase and throws 89-92 on the mound. He plays at De La Salle High for coach Eric Borba.

Kreuter on Berhel: 'Nick has an outstanding mound presence. He throws strikes and has a quick tempo on the mound that keeps his defense sharp. He features an above-average fastball and two quality offspeed pitches that will allow him to be a Pac-10 Conference contributor from day one.'

Matt Davidson, 3B/RHP, 6-3 205 (Yucaipa/Yucaipa HS) -- Davidson was a 2008 Aflac All-American and won the home run derby a the Aflac All-Star Game. He is rated by Baseball America as the No. 16 high school player in the nation. He is rated No. 7 nationally by Perfect Game as a player with tremendous raw power potential. He batted .329 with seven home runs and 22 RBI in his junior year at Yucaipa High while pitching 40 innings with a 0.88 ERA and 48 strikeouts. He batted .405 with six home runs and 30 RBI as a sophomore, pitching 69 2/3 innings with a 1.21 ERA and 82 strikeouts. He has been a member of his school's honor roll for three years with a 3.6 GPA for coach Jeff Stout.

Kreuter on Davidson: 'Matt is one of the top third base prospects in the nation. He shows above-average power and arm strength to go along with a great glove. His physical size and work ethic create a recipe to be a Pac-10 Conference impact player.'

Casey Husband, C/1B, 6-2 180 (Del Mar/Cathedral HS) -- Husband earned 2008 CalHiSports.com all-underclassmen second-team honors for coach Gary Remiker. He is rated as a solid Division I catcher by Perfect Game with a strong defensive background as a line drive hitter who will develop over time.

Kreuter on Husband: 'Casey will bring a big bat to Troy next fall, a switch hitter that has drawn a lot of attention due to his knack of squaring up to the ball. As a catcher, he is in his first year behind the plate. He possesses average arm strength, with the ability to take the craft of catching to the highest level. He should be able to compete for immediate playing time.'

Adam Landecker, SS, 5-11 160 (Calabasas/Calabasas HS) -- Landecker batted .321 with two home runs, 13 RBI and a .486 on-base percentage in his 2008 junior season at Calabasas (Calif.) High for coach Ed Edsel. As a 2007 sophomore, he batted .423 with two home runs and 18 RBI.

Kreuter on Landecker: 'Adam is one of those players who leave all that he has on the field every day. He is a tireless and driven worker who will challenge our returners for immediate playing time. His style of play will personify the grit necessary to grace Dedeaux Field.'

Jeff Malm, 1B/RHP, 6-3 225 (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman HS) -- Malm is rated No. 53 by Baseball America and was a member of the 2007 and 2008 USA Baseball Under 18 National Team, as well as being named a 2008 Under Armour All-American. He is rated as the top prospect in the state of Nevada by Perfect Game and No. 106 in the nation. He batted .464 (13-for-28) with six doubles and 11 RBI at the 2008 IBAF World AAA Junior Championships in Edmonton, Alberta for the Team USA squad that earned the silver medal. In his 2008 junior season at Bishop Gorman, Malm batted .564 with seven home runs and 73 RBI for coach Chris Sheff. He was named as the 2007 Gatorade Nevada Baseball Player of the Year.

Kreuter on Malm: 'Jeff is a hitter in the purest sense, arguably the best hitter in the 2009 class. He is a great defender at first base and he sits in the low 90's off the mound as his team's closer. He will be an immediate contributor and a sure force in the Trojan lineup.'

Jiovanni Mier, SS, 6-2 170 (La Verne/Bonita HS) -- Mier was a 2008 Aflac All-American and rated by Baseball America as the No. 13 high school player in the nation. He is rated No. 32 nationally by Perfect Game and fourth in California. He was named most valuable player of the Miramonte League in his 2007 junior season after batting .479 with three home runs, 30 RBI and 15 stolen bases for coach John Knott.

Kreuter on Mier: 'In the last year and a half, Jiovanni has blossomed into one of the finest shortstops in the nation. This has been a testimony to his work ethic on the field and his baseball intelligence. He is a true baseball player, a `gamer.' He will certainly be an impact player here at Troy.'

Logan Odom, RHP, 6-6 250 (Central Point, Ore./North Medford HS/Western Nevada CC) -- Baseball Northwest rated Odom as the No. 32 player in Oregon's class in 2007 and was converted from a position player to a pitcher under coach DJ Whittemore.

Kreuter on Odom: 'Logan is a power arm that currently pitches in the low to mid 90's range and has the potential to sit mid 90's in the future. He also features a power curveball in the low 80s, as well as a forkball. He adds a wealth of experience for us and will make an immediate impact in the Pac-10 Conference.'

Brooks Pounders, RHP/1B, 6-5 240 (Temecula/Temecula Valley HS) -- Pounders was a 2008 Aflac All-American and is rated by Baseball America as the No. 66 high school player in the nation. He is rated No. 18 nationally by Perfect Game as a two-way player with tremendous power at the plate as well as throwing 90-94 on the mound. He was a 2008 All-CIF first team selection after batting .376 with 10 home runs and 39 RBI while pitching 65 innings with a 1.83 ERA and 81 strikeouts.

Kreuter on Pounders: 'Brooks is another one of our commits who has accelerated his play in the past year. He has shown the ability to hit top-level pitching and become a force on the mound himself. He pitches with a loose arm and has great command of all his pitches while maintaining a low to mid 90's fastball. He will make an immediate impact for us in the lineup and our pitching rotation.'

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