The rise of Kentucky's baseball program in recent years can be directly traced to the Wildcats' strong recruiting under coach Gary Henderson.
On Tuesday, Collegiate Baseball tabbed UK's 2013 newcomers as the No. 11 class in the nation. It marked the seventh consecutive year the Cats have featured a ranked class from one of the nation's leading baseball outlets and the fourth time in the Top 20.
Catchers Zach Arnold and Casey Schroeder, right-handed pitchers Kyle Cody and Matt Pope and left-handed pitcher Chase Mullins highlight the newcomers. All five were selected in the 2012 Major League Baseball amateur draft, but chose to play for the Wildcats.
A 6-foot-2, 190-pound catcher out of Ohio, Schroeder was UK's highest drafted signee, selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 21st round.
The Cats landed a trio of towering pitchers, including the 6-9 Mullins from nearby Paris, Ky., and a pair of 6-8 hurlers in Cody and Pope.
Kentucky's 14 newcomers also include: Georgia outfielder Kyle Barrett; Lexington (Ky.) Bryan Station southpaw Ryne Combs; Lexington (Ky.) Dunbar righty Tyler Cox; Calloway County (Ky.) lefty Dylan Dwyer; Lexington (Ky.) Tates Creek outfielder Dorian Hairston; former UK football quarterback Jacob Russell; London (Ky.) infielder Zack Storm; Salem (Va.) infielder Thomas Weaver and switch-hitting outfielder Storm Wilson out of Somerset (Ky.).
The Wildcats placed fifth in the SEC recruiting class rankings for 2013. Vanderbilt reeled in the No. 1 class. LSU ranked fourth, Florida seventh and South Carolina checked in No. 10. Rounding out the league classes were Texas A&M (No. 14), Georgia (No. 14), Alabama (No. 16), Auburn (No. 22), Arkansas (No. 26), Mississippi State (No. 37) and Ole Miss (No. 39).
In-state rival Louisville ranked as the 35th-best class in college baseball.
Backup quarterback Jalen Whitlow took all the reps in Wednesday morning's practice as starter…