Brandon Downes will begin his freshman season at Virginia this spring after turning down an offer from the Boston Red Sox last June after they selected him in the 43rd Round of the MLB Draft. Downes will offer the Rafters flexibility in that he is capable of playing both catcher and the outfield. Before being drafted last June, Downes put together an incredible high school career that saw him set seven school career records and three single-season records at South Plainfield High in New Jersey. He finished one home run shy of the state record after hitting 15 home runs his junior year. As a senior in 2011, Downes batted .389 with 5 home runs and 23 RBI, even though he was pitched around all season, evidenced by being walked 23 times, 11 times intentionally. As a junior he posted a .484 batting average with the 15 home runs and 49 RBI, while guiding his team to a 25-3 record. Downes was named First Team All-State, Middlesex County Player of the Year, and All-Area First Team by Home News Tribune, Courier News, and Star-Ledger in 2010 and 2011. He was recognized in New Jersey by being awarded Best Athletic Performance by ESPN Rise Magazine, named 2011 Louisville Slugger Pre-Season High School All-American First Team by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, and was selected as the New Jersey representative for Baseball’s Best in all 50 States by Max Preps. In addition, Downes was also named to the Rawlings and Perfect Game USA Pre-Season All-Regional First Team in 2011, named Rawlings Pre-Season Senior High School All-American, and also to the Pre-Season National All-American Second Team. Downes is a native of South Plainfield, New Jersey.