Illinois & Wisconsin D-I Recruiting Classes: Best of the Rest, Part Two


By Andy Sroka & Diego Solares
Illinois & Wisconsin Staff

This offseason, our Illinois and Wisconsin staffs have collaborated to break down the state's Class 2021 committed players and their post-high school destinations, now that they’re preparing for the final springs of their prep careers.

The signing period opened on Nov. 11, so we’re well into monitoring this senior class make their formal commitments to their next-level homes. We began breaking down both states’ 2021 classes earlier in the offseason, assessing the 11 Division-I programs in Illinois and Wisconsin and the entirety of the players headed in their direction.

To view Part One and Part Two of that analysis, click on either of the previous hyperlinks.

We also started breaking down the players from our states who are headed to D-I programs elsewhere. We've been analyzing them by conference, beginning with the Big Ten, the MAC, the Missouri Valley, and the ACC. We’re wrapping up our D-I stories today, in Part Two of our ‘Best of the Rest’ – and you can view Part One here. Today’s Part Two contains the remaining prospects scattered across various conferences in the country.

BIG EAST

+ Xavier tends to dip into the Illinois’ prospect market frequently, and they’ve managed to add two intriguing senior signees to this year’s class: C Emmanuel Scott (St. Ignatius) and RHP D.J. Morand (Loyola Academy).

Emmanuel Scott C / St. Ignatius, IL / 2021

Scott is ranked inside the state’s top-25 overall rankings and there’s a lot to like about the upside harnessed within his highly projectable 6-foot, 175-pound frame. He’s an all-around impressive athlete, especially behind the plate, with noticeably twitchy bat speed and he consistently works on the barrel.

(2/9/20)

As for Morand, he blew up in a big way at our Top Prospect - Chicago event back in June, where he sat 88-89 mph with his fastball and touched 91. Morand’s an athletic, sturdy 6-foot-3, 200-pound righty with previously noted arm strength, and the frame continues to project, allowing for the possibility that Morand continues to progress further once he’s on campus.

+ Marian Catholic INF Jaylon Nauden is the lone Illinois’ product committed to Butler as things stand right now. An athletic infielder with an upside offensive profile that stands to make an early impact at Butler.

Jaylon Nauden SS / 2B / Marian Catholic , IL / 2021

Here’s what we had to say about Nauden at June’s Top Tier Scout Day: “Butler commit, continues to add strength to his athletic 6-foot-1, 190-pound frame and it has paid dividends offensively. Nauden showed strong fast hands, barrel control and consistently peppered hard line-drives up the middle of the field. Defensively, he has athletic defensive actions, plays with body control and his arm continues to get stronger (84 mph).”

(6/14/20)

+ Another Big East program that routinely plucks prospects from this region, Creighton snagged two more Illinois prospects within their 2021-22 class: INF Gallien Coupet (Homewood Flossmoor) and RHP Jack Rodi (Benet Academy). Coupet is another former PBR Future Games member headed to play Division I baseball. The Homewood Flossmoor infielder wields an advanced up-the-middle glove, capable of blooming into a true asset at the next level. He’s continuously made improvements offensively, and there’s certainly top-of-the-order upside should he further refine his game. We last saw Rodi in February at our Preseason All-State event. He filled up the zone with an 85-86 mph fastball and threw both his offspeed pitches for strikes – and he’s done well to maintain that profile in the time since, as a mid-80s strike-thrower with a competitive mix.

+ The solitary Wisconsin product headed to the Big East next fall is Kimberly RHP Thomas Ellisen, an arrow-up prospect in the state’s senior class, listed at a lean and athletic 6-foot-3, 185 pounds. 

Thomas Ellisen RHP / Kimberly, WI / 2021

We saw Ellisen toe the rubber multiple times throughout the summer, including during a tournament at The Rock when he touched 89 mph with his fastball and at the Badger State Battle, where he consistently threw several sharp swing-and-miss breaking balls. Ellisen feels like a late-bloomer type of prospect, as he’s demonstrated premium athleticism on the basketball court, too, only just beginning to hone substantial on-mound upside. Blending the flashes of excellence we saw this past summer into more consistency will allow him to make an early impression at UConn.

(7/14/20)


CONFERENCE USA

+ Western Kentucky headed north to reel in a couple prominent names in both Illinois and Wisconsin, something they’re not typically accustomed to doing. Regardless, they were able to land a pair of high-follows to boost its 2021-22 incoming class: C Ty Batusich (Joliet West, IL) and RHP Andrew Brockwell (Brodhead, WI).

Ty Batusich C / Joliet West, IL / 2021

Batusich did nothing but barrel baseballs upon each viewing in 2020 – and in 2019, for that matter, when he was one of Team Illinois’ most productive bats at the PBR Future Games. He has a complete, well-rounded offensive profile, swinging an explosive left-handed bat that packs a sincere punch at impact. He’s been known to produce arguably this class’ loudest contact with frequency, registering triple-digit exit speeds at last summer’s PBR Midwest ProCase, and he’s established that it carries over into gameplay seamlessly. Batusich is also an above-average athlete which has helped him make positive strides defensively behind the dish, where his tools are individually impressive. He’s quite possibly the gem of this WKU group.

(7/7/20)

With that being said, the Hilltoppers landed one of the region’s top uncommitted players in late 2020, in Wisconsin native Brockwell. The Brodhead righty had long possessed some serious arm strength, and he spent last year refining it to the point where he’d blossomed into one of the top-ranked righties in his home state. Here’s a scouting report on him from our 17U tournament at The Rock in July: “A recent Western Kentucky commit; 6-foot-2, 175 pound with an athletic frame works with a long arm action and high ¾ slot. Against Chicago Elite, Brockwell pitched three innings striking out five and allowing three hits. Fastball sat 85-87 mph topping at 90 mph. 11/5 action on his curveball sitting 68-70 mph.”

Andrew Brockwell (7/23/20)


AMERICAN ATHLETIC

+ 1B Brady Marget (Whitefish Bay, WI) is heading to Tulane after earning the commitment late in 2020, as one of Wisconsin’s top uncommitted position players at the time. Marget represented Team Wisconsin at the PBR Future Games in 2019 after demonstrating a knack for the barrel from the left-handed batter’s box earlier in the year. Marget uses his lanky levers fluidly and athletically, especially for someone listed at 6-foot-5, 205 pounds. Because he moves around well for his size, Marget looks capable of becoming an asset at first base, as he’s already a big target to aim it for his fellow infielders. His size offers up some added upside, too, promoting room for more muscle and strength that can allow him to strike the ball harder more often, making better use of his sound bat-to-ball skills.

Brady Marget (3/1/20)

+ Marget actually shared a dugout with OF Luke Nowak (Menomonee Falls, WI) on both Team Wisconsin as well as his summers as a member of the same travel club, but the two will become intraconference opponents in 2021-22 once Nowak arrives at East Carolina.

Luke Nowak OF / Menomonee Falls, WI / 2021

In Nowak, the Pirates are getting one of the best players in Wisconsin’s 2021 class. Simply put, Nowak wields a left-handed bat and contact-oriented approach that complements his knowledge of the strike zone and excellent barrel feel. Nowak’s also a top-of-the-scale athlete, a track star for his high school in addition to his D-I status on the diamond. His speed plays at the very top of the lineup and out of the box, as well as the outfield, where he takes quick and efficient first steps in center fielder, projecting there comfortably long-term. Nowak is a well-rounded, competitive player who can reward ECU early on in his career at the winning mid-major program.

(7/25/20)

+ Two more former Future Games members are headed inside the American Athletic Conference, to Central Florida’s Knights: SS Ryan Taylor (Verona Area, WI) and LHP Cylis Cox (Rochester, IL).

Taylor is a stellar up-the-middle defender with all the actions you want to see out of someone who can stick at shortstop against collegiate competition. He owns an advanced feel for working up the middle offensively, adding to a well-rounded set of tools that should make him a reliable asset among UCF’s 2021-22 incomings. He’s one of Wisconsin’s best prospects, and was among the first to land a commitment following his performance at the 2019 Future Games.

Ryan Taylor (7/7/20)

It’s been a little while since we’ve seen Rochester’s Cox on the mound in-person, but the sturdy lefty left a long-lasting impression following his own Future Games performance. There, he was up to 87 mph with his two-seamer, mixing in an aggressive slider working off a 2/8 plane, at 76-78. We’re hoping to get an updated look at the southpaw this spring before he sets off for Orlando.

ATLANTIC SUN

+ RHP Will Morris (Plainfield South, IL) was a standout power arm at our Senior Games event in August, and he committed to North Alabama a few months later. Standing at a large, strong 6-foot-5, 195 pounds, Morris spins a mid-to-upper-80s fastball well, and he averaged a spin rate over 2,330 rpm, per TrackMan, at that same Senior Games event. Morris showed that he was capable of landing his curveball for strikes in his ‘pen, flashing sharp action, and his changeup should grant him a starter’s mix worth grooming at North Alabama come the fall and next spring.

Will Morris (8/11/20)


ATLANTIC-10

+ Fellow Plainfield South product, SS Tylor Phommachanhom, is headed to Dayton as the one Illinois or Wisconsin player set to represent our area in the A-10 come 2021-22. A varsity contributor for a quality Cougars program since his sophomore year, Phommachanhom grinds out tough at-bats thanks in part to his knowledge of the strike zone and barrel feel. On top of that, his foot speed and athleticism has helped him look the part of an up-the-middle defender.

BIG SOUTH

+ Al Holguin (St. Rita, IL) is a strong 6-foot-2, 210-pound first baseman who’s headed to Spartanburg in the fall to join the USC-Upstate program. His natural physicality inside the left-handed batter’s box has created a noteworthy power profile, and Holguin flaunted it at a couple PBR showcases, including the Midwest Pro Day in Iowa where he reached a max exit speed of 100.7 mph on a ball that travelled 365 feet. Holguin has also shown well on the mound in the past, and it remains to be seen if that’s a part of his game that’ll be used at Upstate, too.

Al Holguin (9/5/20)

RELATED CONTENT


Premium Content Area

This article is only available to PBRPlus Subscribers. If you wish to continue reading this article:

CLICK HERE to login
OR
CLICK HERE to purchase a PBRPlus Subscription