Signee Profile: Jason Knapp

Jason Knapp, a 6-5, 235-pound pitcher from Annandale (N.J.) North Hunterdon, is another key piece to UNC's 2008 recruiting class. Knapp is ranked by Perfect Game as the No. 65 overall prospect in the nation.

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With a fastball consistently in the mid 90s and an exceptionally large frame, Knapp simply overpowers opposing hitters. His strong lower half, high leg kick, and long motion combined with a power arm enables him to reach maximum velocity on his dynamic fastball. Additionally, Knapp's height creates a very high point of release and causes a more downward trajectory on his throws, a significantly beneficial trait when facing batters at the next level.

Despite his frame, Knapp is still very young. He turned 17 years old this past August, which only raises his ceiling. "Jason has a ton of potential," said UNC head coach Mike Fox. "He is a big kid with a strong and quick arm. His fastball is terrific and he has a good feel for his off speed pitches."

Knapp's upside drew interest from college coaches across the nation, but he narrowed his list to three schools, UNC, Virginia, and Vanderbilt, before eventually deciding on the Tar Heels. "I've been a North Carolina fan most of my life so it's a great opportunity for me to be able to play there," said Knapp.

Compared to most of the nation's top players, Knapp made his college commitment relatively early in the recruiting process. "It was April of my junior year," he said. "I went down on a visit that winter and then a while later the coaches came to watch me pitch and then I committed to them on the phone after."

While Knapp is widely regarded and was highly recruited for abilities on the mound, he also excels at the plate. "He was the best hitter on the team last year," said North Hunterdon head coach Parker Snare. "He had a lot of big clutch hits."

Whether Knapp will ever swing a bat in college remains to be seen, but his coach is confident that he'll be successful no matter how UNC intends to use his skills. "He's big, strong, and a hard worker," Snare continued. "He throws hard, keeps the ball down, and he's a good competitor. He really works hard in the offseason in the weight room and conditioning."

Knapp understands the importance of maintaining this kind of work ethic before he suits up as a Tar Heel. "I'm going to work as hard as I possible can," said Knapp. "I'm going to keep lifting weights, conditioning, and working on mechanics."

Like most of his future teammates, Knapp is focused on one major goal when he gets to UNC. When asked what he hopes to achieve as a Tar Heel, he responded with one simple, straightforward answer. "I want to help the team win a National Championship."


TAR HEEL BASEBALL RECRUITING BOARD
2008 Signees
Seth Baldwin OF Forest City (N.C.) East Rutherford
Derrik Gibson SS/OF Seaford (Del.) High
Matt Harrison SS Henderson (Nev.) Green Valley
L.J. Hoes OF Washington (D.C.) St. John
Jason Knapp RHP Annandale (N.J.) North Hunterdon
Garrison Lassiter SS Clemmons (N.C.) West Forsyth
Tim Melville RHP/3B Wentzville (Mo.) Holt
Jimmy Messer RHP Hudson (N.C.) South Caldwell
Quinton Miller RHP Medford (N.J.) Shawnee
Jacob Stallings C Nashville (Tenn.) Brentwood
2008 Commitments
Jeff May C Creedmoor (N.C.) South Granville
2009 Commitments
Brian Goodwin OF Rocky Mount (N.C.) High
Levi Michael MIF Lexington (N.C.) North Davidson
Chris Munnelly RHP Lewisville (N.C.) Forsyth Country Day

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