⚾ Kansas Baseball Signs 12 to 2024 Recruiting Class

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas Head Baseball Coach Dan Fitzgerald announced the addition of 12 signees to the 2024 recruiting class on Wednesday. The recruiting class assembled by Fitzgerald and his staff in their second year at KU is comprised of eight junior college transfers and four high school signees. The group will join the team for the 2024-25 academic year.

“We are really excited about our signing class. Jon (Coyne) did a great job of spearheading the effort, and we feel like we addressed our needs on both sides of the ball,” Fitzgerald said. “Recruiting is always a complete team effort, and we are so fortunate to have great Jayhawks around us in every department. We are very intentional with our process, and we’ve tried not to veer off course in making sure that we are getting both high-end players and high-end human beings.”

For the second-consecutive year, Fitzgerald and his staff secured the No. 1-ranked junior college recruiting class in the country. The No. 1 JUCO ranking by Perfect Game and The JBB last year was the Jayhawks’ first-ever top ranked recruiting class.

Kansas is looking to continue its positive trajectory under Fitzgerald with this signing class and the upcoming 2024 season. KU doubled its conference win total and improved its overall win total by five games in the first season with Fitzgerald at the helm in 2023. The Jayhawks also qualified for the Big 12 Championship for the first time since 2021 and won its first game in the tournament since 2019 by defeating nationally-ranked Texas.

“Everyone on the coaching staff did an incredible job,” Assistant Coach/Recruiting Coordinator Jon Coyne said. “We are super excited about each and every player that’s part of this recruiting class. Lawrence is a special place that continues to sell itself.”

Below is a breakdown on each member of the class.

Jeremy Allen RHP // John Hersey HS
Maddox Burkitt RHP // Lawrence Free State HS/Johnson County Community College
Ángel Cano Orozco 1B // Life Prep Academy/Western Oklahoma State College
Kannon Carr RHP // Poplar Bluff HS/Jefferson College
Derek Cerda OF // Cenapec/Western Oklahoma State College
Porter Conn LHP // LeRoy HS/Lincoln Land Community College
Cal Elvis C // Vacaville HS
Brian Hallum RHP // Plano West HS/Dodge City Community College
Naun Haro LHP // Palm Desert HS/Central Arizona College/College of Southern Nevada
Blake O’Brien RHP/OF // St. Thomas Aquinas HS
Xander Schmitt C/OF // Lafayette HS
TJ Williams INF // William Horlick HS/Heartland Community College

Jeremy Allen
RHP • 6-0 • 185 • R/R
Arlington Heights, Ill. • John Hersey HS

Notes: Ranked the No. 14 right-handed pitcher in the state of Illinois, and the No. 30 overall prospect in the state by Perfect Game … Named the Mid-Suburban League East Player of the Year … Also selected to the all-state, all-area and all-conference teams in 2023 … Led Hersey to a conference and regional championship in 2023 … Has posted a 10-0 record with a 1.42 ERA in 60 innings pitched in his high school career … Recorded 93 strikeouts and limited opponents to a .120 batting average … Played one year of basketball in addition to baseball at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, Illinois … Picked Kansas over UIC, Valparaiso, Northern Illinois and Fordham … Committed in August 2023.

Allen on why he chose Kansas: “The first time I talked to Coach (Brandon) Scott we clicked. I liked how he went about his business and his way of developing arms.”

Assistant Coach/Pitching Coach Brandon Scott on Allen: “I am really excited about Jeremy. Jeremy was recommended to me by multiple scouts. I flew in to see him and they were spot on. He has a good fastball with a plus slider. We wanted to keep that Illinois pipeline of players open and Jeremy will be the next good arm from there. He has a chance to make an impact as a freshman.”

Maddox Burkitt
RHP • 6-2 • 180 • R/R
Lawrence, Kan. • Lawrence Free State HS/Johnson County Community College

Notes: Currently in his second year at Johnson County Community College (Overland Park, Kan.) … Earned All-Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference Second Team as a relief pitcher … Posted a 1-0 record with a 3.65 ERA in 24.2 innings pitched as a freshman in 2023 … Recorded 39 strikeouts, earned four saves and opponents hit .245 against him … Helped Johnson County become conference champions in 2023 … Ranked the No. 10 right-handed pitcher in the state of Kansas, and the No. 33 overall prospect in the state by Prep Baseball Report in 2022 … Named the Kansas 6A Pitcher of the Year, Sunflower League Pitcher of the Year,  and an all-state first team pitcher and outfielder as a senior in 2022 … Played with current Jayhawks Cooper Combs, Jake Baker and Ethan Bradford previously … Picked Kansas over Illinois-Chicago, UTSA, Florida Atlantic, SIU-Carbondale … Committed in November 2023.

Burkitt on why he chose Kansas: “I was born and raised a Jayhawk in Lawrence.”

Assistant Coach/Pitching Coach Brandon Scott on Burkitt: “Maddox is a good right-handed pitcher with a good slider that strikes guys out. We are excited to add him to the mix. He is coming from a good junior college in Johnson County. He will be even better by the time he arrives on campus in the summer.”

Ángel Cano Orozco
1B • 6-3 • 225 • R/R
Cartagena, Colombia • Life Prep Academy/Western Oklahoma State College

Notes: Currently in his second year at Western Oklahoma State College (Altus, Okla.) … Named NJCAA Division II Second Team All-American and all-region first team in 2023 … Slashed .413/.523/.803 (92-for-223), with 21 doubles, 22 home runs, 77 RBIs, 71 runs and 40 walks in 63 games as a freshman in 2023 … Led the team in home runs, RBIs and slugging percentage … Earned athlete of the week and newcomer of the year honors at Life Prep Academy … Helped Life Prep Academy win the 2A State Championship and the Hays Baseball Tournament … Earned a spot on the Dean’s List for two years … Member of the National Honor Society … Played with current Jayhawk Lenny Ashby … Picked Kansas over Dayton, Texas Tech and Alabama … Committed in September 2023.

Cano Orozco on why he chose Kansas: “Kansas is like a home away from home for me. I am from Colombia, but I went to high school in Wichita, Kansas. Having the chance to grow as a person and as an athlete and having the opportunity to go to KU, which is close to Wichita “home”, is awesome. Also, the University of Kansas is a great program all the way around in academics and in baseball. I couldn’t let the opportunity go by to play in the Big 12 with KU and be a part of this family. I can’t wait to be a Jayhawk!!!!”

Assistant Coach/Hitting Coach Tyler Hancock on Cano Orozco: “Angel is a middle of the order hitter who has a really good plan at the plate. He has great plate discipline and also has the ability to drive the ball. Angel should provide some power in the lineup.”

Kannon Carr
RHP • 6-1 • 185 • R/R
Poplar Bluff, Mo. • Poplar Bluff HS/Jefferson College

Notes: Currently in his second season at Jefferson College (Hillsboro, Mo.) … Posted a 2-0 record with a 4.31 ERA in 56.1 innings pitched as a freshman in 2023 … Recorded 74 strikeouts and 11.82 strikeouts per nine innings along with a 1.35 WHIP … Named all-region second team in 2023 … Helped Jefferson become Midwest Community College Athletic Conference Champions in 2023 … Ranked the No. 23 right-handed pitcher in Missouri, and the No. 74 overall prospect in the state by Perfect Game in 2022 … Selected to the all-conference and all-district teams his junior and senior years … Set a single-season record for innings pitched … Threw an 8-inning complete game against the No. 1 team in his district junior year … Senior year threw a 6-inning shutout with 12 strikeouts against a state-ranked opponent … Played four years of football and two years of basketball in addition to baseball at Poplar Bluff High School in Poplar Bluff, Missouri … Earned all-conference and all-district honors in football his junior and senior years … Threw for five touchdowns in a game his junior year … Threw for 427 yards in a game his senior year … Top 30 in his graduating class … Scholar Athlete of the Year in all of southeast Missouri … Picked Kansas over Purdue, Jacksonville State, SEMO, Rutgers, Nebraska, UNC Charlotte and Long Island … Committed in October 2023.

Carr on why he chose Kansas: “They offer a great education, they have a great baseball program, and they gave me a great scholarship offer.”

Assistant Coach/Pitching Coach Brandon Scott on Carr: “We’ve had our eyes on Kannon for a while. He was a guy we started talking about early last season. He’s a strike thrower who keeps getting better. I couldn’t be more excited to add him to this class.”

Derek Cerda
OF • 6-0 • 190 • R/R
Santiago, Dominican Republic • Cenapec/Western Oklahoma State College

Notes: Currently in his second year at Western Oklahoma State College (Altus, Okla.) … Slashed .404/.483/.717 (90-for-223), with 12 doubles, two triples, 18 home runs, 68 RBIs, 72 runs, 31 walks and 30 stolen bases in 58 games as a freshman in 2023 … Led the team in stolen bases … Ranked the No. 48 outfielder in the state of Florida, and the No. 270 overall prospect in the state by Perfect Game in 2022.

Cerda on why he chose Kansas: “I picked Kansas because I feel good with the place and the coaching staff.”

Assistant Coach/Hitting Coach Tyler Hancock on Cerda: “Derek is a dynamic player. He’s really athletic and can play all three outfield spots. He has the ability to drive the baseball and put pressure on you with his speed.”

Porter Conn
LHP • 6-1 • 215 • R/L
LeRoy, Ill. • LeRoy HS/Lincoln Land Community College

Notes: Currently in his second year at Lincoln Land Community College (Springfield, Ill.) … Posted a 4-1 record and three saves with a 2.12 ERA in 46.2 innings pitches as a freshman in 2023 … Recorded 73 strikeouts and 14.08 strikeouts per nine innings along with a 1.18 WHIP … Named All-MWAC First Team and NJCAA All-Region 24 First Team … Named a unanimous all-conference first team pitcher at LeRoy High School … Posted a 1.62 ERA in 42 innings pitched and recorded 82 strikeouts … Helped LeRoy High School finish fourth in the state tournament and become conference, regional, sectional and super-sectional champions … Tore his UCL while pitching his junior year … Played four years of football in addition to baseball at LeRoy High School in LeRoy, Illinois … Finished high school Summa Cum Laude and graduated with distinction … His cousin, Cole Conn, is currently in the Oakland Athletics organization … Picked Kansas over Baylor, Michigan, Nebraska, Illinois and Troy … Committed to Kansas in October 2023.

Conn on why he chose Kansas: “I chose Kansas because I believe they will give me the best shot of going onto the next level. Additionally, I connected very well with the coaches and had great conversations that motivated and inspired me to want to be a part of the program and to win alongside them.”

Assistant Coach/Pitching Coach Brandon Scott on Conn: “Porter’s ceiling is through the roof. He’s a lefty who punches guys out with a good heater and an above average slider. We are excited that he chose the University of Kansas. I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s one of the best pitchers in junior college baseball this season.”

Cal Elvis
C • 6-0 • 185 • R/R
Vacaville, Calif. • Vacaville HS

Notes: Ranked the No. 20 catcher in the state of California, and the No. 185 overall prospect in the state by Prep Baseball Report … Selected and participated in 2023 Area Codes in San Diego, California, for the A’s … Selected and participated in Northern California Scout Ball for the San Diego Padres Scout Team in 2022 and 2023 … Helped Vacaville win the MEL League Title in 2023 … Hit .308 and posted a .419 on-base percentage in his high school career to go with 15 doubles, five triples and two home runs … Earned the scholar-athlete award three times … His brother, Cole, played at KU in 2023 before signing a professional contract with the Minnesota Twins … Picked Kansas over Texas A&M, Oregon, Arizona and Cal State Fullerton … Committed in November 2022.

Elvis on why he chose Kansas: “Great school environment, great coaching staff, winning culture, athletic department support and my brother loved it there.”

Assistant Coach/Hitting Coach Tyler Hancock on Elvis: “Cal is a really advanced catcher. He is a good athlete with a high motor and is the kind of player you look for behind the plate. Offensively, Cal has a great plan and understands how guys are going to pitch to him.”

Brian Hallum
RHP • 6-5 • 220 • R/R
Plano, Texas • Plano West HS/Dodge City Community College

Notes: Currently in his second year at Dodge City Community College (Dodge City, Kan.) … Posted a 5-2 record with a 3.75 ERA in 50.1 innings pitched as a freshman in 2023 … Recorded 56 strikeouts and held opponents to a .207 batting average … Named All-KJCCC Honorable Mention … Earned KJCCC Pitcher of the Week on Feb. 14, 2023 … Also played infield … Slashed .327/.415/.594 (33-for-101), with nine doubles, six home runs, 30 RBIs, 19 runs and 13 walks in 47 games (30 starts) as a freshman in 2023 … Ranked the No. 146 right-handed pitcher in the state of Texas, and the No. 412 prospect in the state by Perfect Game in 2022 … Named All-District Utility Player of the Year … Picked Kansas over Lamar and Southeastern … Committed in October 2023.

Hallum on why he chose Kansas: “Coaches were amazing and my head coach at Dodge only had great things to say about the staff.”

Assistant Coach/Pitching Coach Brandon Scott on Hallum: “In Brian I see a guy who is about to blow up. He’s really good now and we are so excited about what his next 12-24 months look like as a pitcher. He has starter potential and we fully expect him to make the jump needed for that.”

Naun Haro
LHP • 6-2 • 190 • L/L
La Quinta, Calif. • Palm Desert HS/Central Arizona College/College of Southern Nevada

Notes: Currently in his second year at College of Southern Nevada (Henderson, Nev.) … Posted a 2-1 record with a 3.00 ERA in 24.0 innings pitched and recorded 25 strikeouts … Helped Southern Nevada become league champions … Spent one semester at Central Arizona College … Underwent Tommy John surgery in December 2020 … Posted eight wins and a 1.08 ERA in 71.1 innings with 67 strikeouts at Palm Desert High School … All-conference first team selection … Team Pitcher and MVP of the Year … Picked Kansas over LSU, Texas Tech, Purdue and Utah Valley … Committed to Kansas in October 2023.

Haro on why he chose Kansas: “It’s a great place for me to develop as a baseball player and as a person as well. I see myself coming here and becoming a starter and having success with all the resources available around me.”

Assistant Coach/Pitching Coach Brandon Scott on Haro: “Naun is a very good left-handed pitcher with a good breaking ball. He plays in a tough conference and will be battle tested by the time he arrives at KU. His personality is electric and it showed up on his visit. He’s the type of kid you want to be around and have in our program.”

Blake O’Brien
RHP/OF • 6-0 • 185 • R/R
Overland Park, Kan. • St. Thomas Aquinas HS

Notes: Ranked the No. 2 outfielder in the state of Kansas, and the No. 6 overall prospect in the state by Prep Baseball Report … Named the Kansas 5A Player of the Year, an All-State First Team pitcher and an All-EKL First Team outfielder … Posted a 7-1 record with a 1.14 ERA in 49.0 innings pitched … Recorded 85 strikeouts, a 1.07 WHIP and opponents hit .184 against him … Led the state of Kansas in extra-base hits (17) and doubles (13) … His 13 doubles were also a school record … In 2023, led St. Thomas Aquinas to a third-place finish in Class 5A, a conference championship and a regional championship … Played four years of football in addition to baseball at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park, Kansas … All-EKL First Team selection in football … Four-year varsity starter in football and baseball … Played on the Royals Scout Team with current Jayhawks Chase Jans, Cooper Kelly, Kater Muck, Colton Wemhoff and Ty Wisdom … Picked Kansas over Duke, Notre Dame, Missouri State, Purdue, Arkansas and Xavier … Committed in October 2022.

O’Brien on why he chose Kansas: “The coaching staff, the direction of the program and the opportunity to stay in Kansas and help build something special.”

Assistant Coach/Pitching Coach Brandon Scott on O’Brien: “He’s a good player. He can pitch and he can hit. We expect him to contribute on both sides. I think his numbers last season speak for themself. He will make an impact at Kansas.”

Xander Schmitt
C/OF • 5-11 • 190 • R/R
Wildwood, Mo. • Lafayette HS

Notes: Ranked the No. 1 catcher in the state of Missouri, and the No. 12 overall prospect in the state by Prep Baseball Report … Named 6A all-state, all-conference and all-district in 2023 … Led Lafayette High School to a district championship in 2023 … Awarded the 2022 Prep Baseball Report Future Games Most Valuable Player … Played two years of hockey in addition to baseball at Lafayette High School in Wildwood, Missouri … His older brother, Jack, played baseball at Division III Trinity University (Texas) … Picked Kansas over Utah and Missouri State.

Schmitt on why he chose Kansas: “I chose Kansas because the atmosphere, the coaches and everything about Kansas felt like home right as I stepped on to campus. It was amazing. It felt like I was at home and was going to learn and get better every day here, so I committed and have no regrets.”

Assistant Coach/Hitting Coach Tyler Hancock on Schmitt: “Xander is a great athlete who has a lot of tools. He can run, hit for power and control the strike zone. Xander can also catch at a high level.”

TJ Williams
INF • 5-4 • 150 • L/R
Racine, Wis. • William Horlick HS/Heartland Community College

Notes: Currently in his second year at Heartland Community College (Normal, Ill.) … Slashed .421/.512/.471 (59-for-140), with five doubles, 24 RBIs, 61 runs, 23 walks and 30 stolen bases in 55 games (30 starts) as a freshman in 2023 … Helped Heartland win the NJCAA Division II National Championship and Region 24 Championship … Ranked the No. 15 infielder in the state of Wisconsin by Prep Baseball Report in 2022 … Named all-county first team in 2021 and 2022, all-conference first team in 2022, all-district second team in 2022 and all-conference second team in 2019 and 2021 … Played four years of basketball and ran four years of track & field in addition to baseball at William Horlick High School in Racine, Wisconsin … Finished in third place in the Wisconsin State Finals in the 100 meter dash and 200 meter dash in 2022 … Named all-county first team in the 100 meter dash, 200 meter dash and 4×400 relay in 2022 and all-county second team in the 100 meter dash in 2021 … Played with current Jayhawks Ben Hartl and John Nett previously … Picked Kansas over Michigan State, Western Kentucky, Illinois and Austin Peay State … Committed in October 2023.

Williams on why he chose Kansas: “I chose Kansas because of my great relationship with the coaches, the opportunities to be challenged and advance in my baseball career, the athletic facilities, and the value of a degree from KU.”

Assistant Coach/Hitting Coach Tyler Hancock on Williams: “TJ has the ability to put a ton of pressure on the defense. He has elite speed and a great understanding of what he is trying to do at the plate. He is also versatile on defense. TJ can play anywhere in the middle of the field.”