Jan. 17, 2008
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - University of Maryland men's golf head coach Tom Hanna announced recently a class of three outstanding recruits who have signed National Letters of Intent to play golf for the Terrapins in Fall 2008.
John Popeck of Washington, Pa., will join Chris Miller of Washington, D.C., and Joey Rice of Jessup, Md., in what could be Hanna's best recruiting class in his 17 seasons as the head coach of his alma mater.
Popeck comes to Maryland ranked ninth in the world junior rankings by Golfweek.com. He has competed in three U.S. Junior Amateur Championships and recently finished second in the Pennsylvania State High School Championships.
"Without a doubt, since I've been here, John is the highest-ranked player to come through Maryland," Hanna recently told The Diamondback.
Miller and Rice were both first team All-Met selections in 2007 by The Washington Post. They compete against each other regularly, with Miller attending St. John's College High School in Washington, D.C., and Rice playing for nearby DeMatha Catholic High School.
Maryland opens its Spring 2008 schedule at the Cuthbert Cup in Kiawah Island, S.C., on Feb. 24-26.
Brief thumbnail sketches of each player follow:
JOHN POPECK (Washington, Pa.... Chartiers-Houston HS)
Ranked ninth in U.S. juniors rankings by Golfweek.com... Finished second at 2007 PIAA Boys Golf Championship, firing 141 over 36 holes... Also finished second in the WPIAL Boys Championship as a senior... Placed fourth in the PIAA State Championships as a junior... Played in WPIAL tournament in all four years... Appeared three times in U.S. Junior Amateur Championships... Shot 70-71--141 in stroke play to finish T6th at 2007 U.S. Junior Amateur in Augusta, Mo... Lost tough first-round match 1-down that year... Lost in second round of match play in 2005 at Longmeadow (Mass.) CC... Shot 156 in stroke play in 2004 U.S. Junior Amateur at the Olympic Club in San Francisco... Finished T14th with 296 total at the 2006 Callaway Golf Junior Worlds at Torrey Pines... Had a second-place finish (75-69-73-69--286) at the 2007 AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions... Placed T4th at 2007 PGA Junior Championship at 286.
CHRIS MILLER (Washington, D.C... St. John's College HS)
First team All-Met in 2007 by The Washington Post... Went 8-1 in match play during high school season at nearby St. John's... Only loss came on the final hole of the round... Placed third in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference Tournament... Listed 112th nationally among signees by Golfweek.com... Listed as the top player among junior boys in Washington, D.C., by Golfweek.
JOEY RICE (Jessup, Md... DeMatha HS)
First team All-Met in 2007 by The Washington Post... Finished regular season match play with 9-2-1 record... Tied for second in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference Tournament and second alone in the Washington Private Schools Championship.... Ranked No. 172 among signees by Golfweek.com... Ranked second in the state among Maryland junior players by Golfweek... Won the Frank Emmet Schoolboy event with 73-74-75--222 total... Captured an IJGT event at Hershey, Pa. in summer of 2007.