O'Connor Excited to Add Homegrown Talent

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (NEWSPLEX) -- Early in his tenure as baseball coach at Virginia, Brian O'Connor had a local kid named Bobby Nicholson who attended his youth camps at Davenport Field.

Fast forward about a decade later and Nicholson is poised to make Davenport his home field. Nicholson signed a letter of intent to play baseball at UVA on Wednesday, as did his teammate at St. Anne's-Belfield School, fellow senior Jalen Harrison.

"We feel very fortunate because of the success we've had here in baseball. And maybe there's been a little bit of a trickle-down to the local players, as they've grown up," O'Connor said Wednesday, after UVA had received the official letters of intent from both players. "Both of those guys committed to us two years ago, and they've continued to develop as baseball players. And I think it's really exciting that they happen to be two homegrown products that have played good baseball in this area."

As Nicholson and Harrison have been growing into college baseball prospects, O'Connor and his coaching staff have been building UVA into one of the elite programs in college baseball. The Wahoos have made four College World Series appearances in the past decade, including the school's first national title in baseball this past summer.

O'Connor and his staff have continually restocked the UVA roster by recruiting athletes who happen to excel at baseball, among other sports. There may be no better example than Harrison, a three-sport star for the Saints. An outfielder on the baseball field, the 6-3 Harrison has been all-state in both football and basketball.

"Jalen's pretty special," O'Connor said. "You go out and watch him on the football field, and I've had a chance to witness that and see him play quarterback and also see him play wide receiver, and he's very, very talented and skilled. There's very few players out there that are as athletic as he is. Not just running forward, but his ability to go up and get the football as a receiver. He's just pretty, pretty special."

Harrison originally committed to the Cavaliers in November 2013. A month later, Nicholson gave his verbal commitment to the school basically around the corner from STAB.

"I'm excited about Bobby Nicholson joining us," O'Connor said. "He's got a fastball that will touch in the low 90s. He's got a good slider. He's a strong, physical kid. And you combine all those things together, and continued development, you have a chance to have somebody that could be pretty special."