In the history of sports, there has never been a recruiting/draft class that didn’t “check all of the boxes” when it comes to filling roster needs. After a disappointing 2021 season and the mass exodus of pitchers over the last two seasons, it was clear that this class was in need of quality arms that can compete from day one.
It appears that the coaching staff has made sure this group of freshman check the boxes. Of the 17 member class, at least eight of them are listed as pitchers, but two or three more have the ability to play both ways during their time at Louisville.
Here are a couple arms to keep an eye on, plus a rare commit from the Sunshine State. Louisville has not recruited Florida very heavily over the years but it seems like the staff is beginning to spend a little more time down south. I’m not made about it one bit.
High School/Travel Team: Lincoln-Way East HS (Illinois)/Cangelosi Sparks
Height/Weight: 6-3/205 LBS
PBR Ranking (State): 66
PG Ranking (State/Nation): 38
Senior Stats: 8-0, 0.47 ERA, 45 IP, 60 K’s
Although Looper was not the highest ranked member in the class, he was highly recruited and ultimately picked Louisville over Vanderbilt. I’ll gladly take any kid that picks Louisville over Vandy in baseball.
Once he received the Louisville offer he claims, “It was a done deal. I wanted a team who wanted to win as much as I did and a team that could bring me up with a good culture.”
On the mound, he is not going to overpower the opposition but controls the zone very well and plays to his strengths. Looper has a very good feel for the zone and is able to command his sinker in any situation.
I think he has the opportunity to be around the program for a few years and will compete for meaningful innings once he learns the system under Coach Roger Williams. He understands that some of the underclassmen will hear their name called sooner than later due to the limited arms returning.
“I’m ready to get an opportunity and take it,” and innings will certainly be available for the taking next season.
High School/Travel Team: Marist HS (Illinois)/White Sox Ace
Height/Weight: 6-4/220 LBS
PG Ranking (State): 32
Dowler, a one time Purdue commit, could be the sleeper in this years class. After missing his senior year, he is unranked by PBR and comes in at #32 by PG in Illinois. He was ranked as high as #2 in Illinois by PBR at one point in time, but suffered two injuries that required surgeries.
In August 2020, Dowler had Tommy John and knee surgery within a week of each other. After spending nearly a year rehabbing, he is able to run pain free and is throwing bullpens at 50%.
He still has a long road ahead of him but the goal is to be game ready by September, which gives him plenty of time to be ready for the season in February if all goes well. I can assure you that the coaching staff is excited to have Dowler on campus.
You don’t take a kid recovering from Tommy John if you don’t think he has the tools and work ethic to bounce back. It may take a little time for him to gain trust in his arm and to get the feel back for the baseball, but Dowler has the chance to become a big time pitcher at Louisville.
High School/Travel Team: John Carroll Catholic HS (Florida)/FTB San Francisco Giants Scout
Height/Weight: 6-1/180 LBS
PBR Ranking (State): 85
PG Ranking (State): 80
Senior Stats: .446, 8 doubles, 29 RBI, 11 runs.
Pitching stats: 6-0, 0.86 ERA, 49 IP, 60 K’s, 12 BB, 3 SV
Calise picked Louisville over Miami, Florida, Florida State, and Notre Dame due to “the amazing coaching staff and winning environment. Coach Mac is one of the best in college baseball and to play for such a prestigious coach is an honor.”
He is one of the more dynamic players in the class, playing high school football for the first time during his senior year. He made the tough decision to transfer to John Carroll Catholic HS because his former high school did not have a football team.
What did he do in his first an only season on the gridiron? He was named a first team all-state wide receiver after recording 12 TD’s, 929 receiving yards, and 30 yards per catch. Sounds like Coach Satterfield needs to enter the chat.
With a slender frame, Calise knows he needs to improve his strength to compete at the next level. He is never going to be known for hitting towering home runs, noting, “I believe being in the environment at Louisville surrounded by the right peers and coaches, I’ll have everything I need to exponentially grow in that area of my game.”
Calise brings a level of athleticism that will fit right into Coach McDonnell’s system and will play the game with fire and intensity. Louisville fans, remember his name.
Up Next: The 2021 class features two signees from each Indiana and Ohio. Austin Bode, who just won the Johnny Bench Award, and Camden Jordan, head to Louisville via the Hoosier state. Kurtis Reid and Will Cook are the two members of the class from Ohio.