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<p>Alex Faedo pitches during Florida's 1-0 win against LSU on March 24, 2017, at McKethan Stadium.</p>

Alex Faedo pitches during Florida's 1-0 win against LSU on March 24, 2017, at McKethan Stadium.

From June 12 to June 14, eight UF baseball players were selected in the 2017 MLB Draft, the first step in their long journeys to the major leagues.

Alex Faedo was taken 18th overall by the Detroit Tigers. Joining him was Dalton Guthrie (6th round, Philadelphia Phillies), Mike Rivera (6th round, Cleveland Indians), Mike Kolozsvary (7th round, Cincinnati Reds), David Lee (27th round, Pittsburgh Pirates), Frank Rubio (29th round, San Francisco Giants), Deacon Liput (29th round, Los Angeles Dodgers) and JJ Schwarz (38th round, Tampa Bay Rays).

Several members of UF's incoming freshman class were chosen as well.

But now that the MLB signing deadline has officially passed, coach Kevin O'Sullivan knows for sure which drafted players are returning to Gainesville and which are headed for the pros.

The Returners

A pair of players selected in last month's draft decided to stick around for another year.

The Gators will see the return of catcher/first baseman JJ Schwarz and second baseman Deacon Liput next season.

Schwarz led the team in home runs last year with 12 and finished second in hits with 67.

When Rivera missed 22 games with a broken hamate bone last season, Schwarz alternated between playing catcher and first base, providing Florida with solid defense.

The Palm Beach Gardens native had a .259 batting average with 56 RBIs and should be a focal point in Florida's lineup next year.

For Liput, the draft-eligible sophomore struggled offensively last season, but turned it around in the postseason, batting .260 in the NCAA Tournament.

The Oviedo, Florida, native was a driving force behind UF’s Super Regional win against Wake Forest, going 5-for-12 with three RBIs that weekend.

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Both players should give Florida some veteran leadership next season as it defends its national title.

The Freshmen

While the Gators lost some established players and highly-ranked recruits to the draft, they still boast the No. 2-ranked freshman class of 2018, according to Perfect Game.

Florida has 13 newcomers  joining the program next season, four of whom are ranked in the top-100 nationally. That includes shortstop Brady McConnell, the No. 5-ranked shortstop in the country, according to Perfect Game. The Merritt Island, Florida, native was drafted by the Reds in the 33rd round, but decided not to sign.

Rounding out the shortstops in the class are Shane Shifflett and Jose Ciccarello, the No. 21- and No. 41-ranked shortstops, respectively.

Other position players include catchers Calvin Greenfield and Brady Smith, the No. 6- and No. 9-ranked backstops, respectively, and outfielder Justin Farmer, a native of Riverview, Florida.

With the departures of Faedo, Lee and Rubio to the MLB, O’Sullivan also brought in some pitchers who hope to make an immediate impact.

Florida added seven freshmen to its staff, led by a trio of right-handers in Jack Leftwich, Garrett "Hunter" Ruth and Tommy Mace, the 13th-, 18th- and 23rd-best pitchers, respectively.

Rounding out UF’s recruiting class are right-handers Hunter McMullen and Connor Churchill and left-handers Jordan Butler and Colton Gordon-Zimring.

Contact Jake Dreilinger at jdreilinger@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @DreilingerJake.

Alex Faedo pitches during Florida's 1-0 win against LSU on March 24, 2017, at McKethan Stadium.

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