Illinois & Wisconsin D-I Recruiting Classes: Missouri Valley


By Andy Sroka & Diego Solares
Illinois and 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 and the MAC. We’re onto the Missouri Valley Conference today.

MISSOURI STATE

+ Missouri State has recruited Illinois and Wisconsin products heavily in the past and their incoming 2021 class is a strong one. Six prospects from these two states will be joining the Bears next fall, led by two former Future Gamers that are each top-15 prospects in Wisconsin’s senior class: 3B Liam Moreno (Sun Prairie) and OF Liam Stumpf (Mineral Point). 

Liam Moreno 3B / Sun Prairie, WI / 2021

Moreno remains the top right-handed hitter in the class with a silky-smooth stroke that is capable of naturally driving the ball to all fields. There’s certainly middle-of-the-order potential in Moreno’s bat and it looks like he’s just starting to tap into it. The Sun Prairie third baseman has demonstrated a natural feel for the barrel on repeat, and he’s shaped his compact build to add more muscle, which is bound to increase his batted-ball profile. He’s also a good athlete and surprisingly quick runner, so he looks completely capable of making an instant impact in Springfield.

Stumpf has been a steady force offensively for Mineral Point throughout his prep career, so much so that he earned WIAA First-Team All-State honors as a sophomore and we named him to our Preseason First Team All-State last year, too. He’s an uber athletic 6-foot, 175-pound outfielder with loose, whippy bat speed at the plate and natural line drive feel. We’re eager to check back in on both of these prospects throughout their college career as they each have impact potential. 

Ranked inside the Illinois’ top-30 overall rankings, respectively, both OF/SS Hayden Moore (Edwardsville) and C Mason Roehr (Granite City) are headed to Springfield in the fall. Moore is a quick-twitch true switch-hitter with advanced athleticism that plays best in the outfield, where he naturally plays fast with ease. It’s a top-of-the-order table setter type profile right now, but there’s plenty of room for him to add strength onto a fairly lean 5-foot-11, 155-pound frame that could ultimately increase his offensive ceiling. Roehr is similar to Moore from an athletic standpoint, but his offensive game revolves around a loud, impact right-handed stroke with noticeable bat strength and lift as well. He’s another thumper-type hitter that Missouri State will be adding this fall.

Hayden Moore (2/9/20)

Rounding out this class are two upside right-handed pitchers, both from Illinois: Parker Johnson (Mater Dei) and Kaden Joggerst (O’Fallon). Both are similarly built in stature, boasting athletic 6-foot-3 frames that look capable of adding 10-to-15 pounds of good weight as they fill out. We saw Johnson this July and his stuff had ticked up a bit since the winter. He sat 85-86 mph with his fastball, touching 88 mph multiple times and mixing in a loose spin curveball off an 11/5 plane. Joggerst’s fastball worked in the 84-86 mph range at our Preseason All-State event last February and his go-to secondary pitch was a mid-to-high-70s slider with late break from a sweep-ish 10/4 shape.

INDIANA STATE

+ A 43-win team that also captured the Missouri Valley Conference title back in 2019, the Indiana State Sycamores will add three talented recruits byway of both Illinois and Wisconsin next fall.

Brennyn Cutts RHP / Toledo-Cumberland, IL / 2021

Cutts represented Team Illinois at the PBR Future Games two years ago and is the highest-ranked recruit of the trio, coming in at No. 6 overall in the Illinois’ 2021 rankings and No. 391 nationally. A staple atop the state’s 2021 rankings for quite some time now, Cutts just looks the part on the mound, standing at a durable 6-foot-3, 215-pounds. His fastball sits in the low-90s, touching 92 mph and coming out of a loose ¾ release angle. He rounds out his arsenal with a slider and changeup, the former being his best secondary right now – a tight spin, late breaking pitch that spins at 2,300-2,400 rpm.

OF Isaiah Thompson (Sacred Heart-Griffin, IL) and C Trett Joles (Boyceville, WI) are the two other Sycamore commits from the 2021 class. Like Cutts, Thompson was also a member of Team Illinois at the Future Games that committed to Indiana State shortly after. He’s a highly athletic left/left outfielder with advanced instincts defensively and the arm strength to pair. At the plate, Thompson stays short to the baseball with his loose left-handed stroke and works best on a level, line drive plane. Up in Wisconsin, Joles was one of the biggest winners in the Badger State’s senior class after a strong summer offensively. He has one of the loudest all-around skill sets from a pure power standpoint in the state. We saw him hit multiple home runs in one weekend at The Rock and routinely put up impressive TrackMan metrics at events throughout the summer circuit. He’s also made strides behind the plate defensively and boasts premium arm strength, topping out at 83 mph from the crouch. The Sycamores are in good hands with these three headed to Terre Haute.

Trett Joles (7/14/20)

VALPARAISO

+ Valparaiso routinely plucks prospects from Illinois and Wisconsin on an annual basis and they have three prospects headed there this fall. 

Grant Ross RHP / INF / Pewaukee, WI / 2021

Pewaukee’s Ross is the gem of this class, as one of the fiercest competitors we’ve seen come through the Badger State over the last few years is committed to head coach Brian Schmack’s squad. Ross has some interesting two-way potential but he’s likely best suited as an arm at the next level where his stuff and bulldog mentality play best. We’ve seen him up to 91 mph in the past, regularly sitting at 87-90 mph with his fastball and mixing in a low-70s hook that’s flashed swing-and-miss action. Ross could be a high-leverage option out of the pen for the Crusaders for a large chunk of his collegiate career.

Two Illinois pitching prospects will join Ross at Valparaiso: RHP Connor Lockwood (Libertyville) and LHP Christian Hack (Tinley Park). Lockwood is a pitchability right-hander with a legit four-pitch mix, all of which he throws for strikes. His fastball sits in the low-to-mid-80s and has been up to 86 mph in our looks, but there’s potential for more in the tank as he fills out a projectable 6-foot, 150-pound frame. Hack, like Lockwood, is a crafty left-hander that reportedly sits in the mid-80s and has pitched his way to success throughout his high school career, posting an 8-0 record as a sophomore while anchoring Tinley Park to a Regional Championship.

Connor Lockwood (2/9/20)

ILLINOIS STATE

+ We previously broke down this mid-major Midwestern powerhouse in December. Here’s a rehashing of Illinois State’s 2021-22 recruiting class:

Perennial Fox Valley Conference competitor Cary Grove has produced several high-impact arms over the past few seasons and LHP Ryan Weaver looks to be next in line. The top in-state product heading to Illinois State, the Cary southpaw spent much of the year as one of the state’s top uncommitted arms, until he finally committed to the Redbirds in August. Weaver’s stock has steadily risen throughout his high school career and he fully blossomed into a high pitchability lefty with increased velocity this past summer. Our scouting report from a strong outing back in July: "6-foot-1, 182-pounds, athletic shape. Well-above-average mound presence and pitchability. Easy tall and fall delivery, high front side, stays connected and balanced, works online, closed toe landing. Arm action has some reach on the back side, works out of a tight high ¾ window. Fastball sat 85-87 mph, touched 88; worked 82-84 into the fifth with ability to reach for 86, plays with arm-side run. Above-average feel for curveball, 71-75 mph, 1/7 shape. Incorporated changeup second time through the lineup, sinking action, 72-74 mph, above-average feel and action."

Ryan Weaver (7/24/20)

The lone other in-state prep prospect headed to the perennial mid-major powerhouse is RHP MacCallan Conklin (Normal University), who’s preparing to play for his hometown university next fall. Conklin has some substantial upside, as a highly athletic prospect who had us wondering early in prep career if he’d fit best long-term as a right-handed-hitting center fielder or as a pitcher. For us, Conklin has continued to impress on both sides of the ball, but his projectable size and arsenal look especially enticing from the rubber. This past summer, we saw Conklin up to 88 mph, with reports of even more velo in the tank. He pairs his live fastball with a swing-and-miss slider, one that complements his fastball efficiently and deceptively from the same tunnel.

Two Green Bay-area position players will head south to their new home next fall: SS J.P. Gauthier (De Pere) and OF Joshua Blount (West De Pere). 

JP Gauthier SS / 2B / De Pere, WI / 2021

Gauthier has repeatedly impressed defensively in our many looks throughout this past year. He takes pride in his defense, and moves around the middle of the infield athletically with quick, soft hands. Gauthier can also add some muscle to his lean 6-foot-2 stature, which should improve his batted-ball profile, granting him another level to tap into at ISU.

As for Blount, he’s one of the state’s most impressive pound-for-pound athletes. He’s been a standout prep quarterback for his high school, underscoring his athleticism, and he’s capable of being a game-changing defender in the outfield at the next level. He has twitchy strength from the left side and he’s been working on landing the barrel with more frequency, molding one of the toolsiest skill-sets in the area.

BRADLEY

+ Bradley has a large, talented group of incoming 2021-22 talent to look forward to in the fall, led by hulking righty Noah Edders (Downers Grove South). Standing at a sturdy, strong 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, Edders has the traits to become the gem of this class for the Braves. He’s made huge gains up the 2021 board this year, adding substantial velocity throughout the spring and summer. At March’s Preseason All-State, Edders was 84-87 mph and he only increased that velo range in the time since. At the Top Tier Scout Day event, Edders was up to 91.3 mph and TrackMan helped quantify the giant extension he gets down the mound, measured at 8.14 feet on average when he throws his fastball. Edders wields a couple different breaking balls as well as a viable changeup to complete his repertoire. He’s a prominent recruit headed to Peoria.

Two Glenbrook South prospects will reconvene at Bradley: 1B/OF George Korompilas and OF Cole Luckey. Korompilas swings a strong left-handed bat with bat speed and he repped Team Illinois at the 2019 PBR Future Games. Luckey is another one of the biggest risers in the state this year, showcasing exceptional tools at multiple showcases. Premium bat and hand speed from the right side, authoritative bat strength that averaged 92.0 mph off the barrel at a Milwaukee event, and he ran a 6.63 in June.

Luke Trepanier OF / LHP / Manteno, IL / 2021

Trepanier is a premium athlete with authentic two-way potential. He’s been up to 89 mph from the left side on the mound, and he’s a smooth left-handed hitter with more bat and hand speed that helps him strike the ball harder than you might first expect. 

There’s a similar theme in Wisconsin regarding its two recruits headed to Bradley. INF Cal McGinnis (Kimberly) flew somewhat under the radar until fully breaking out this past summer. He’s an athletic middle infielder with a competitive approach, demonstrating excellent bat-to-ball skills on repeat. RHP Jacob Kisting (Verona Area) was an upside arm to follow until he, too, ticked up in 2020. He’s a lanky, athletic 6-foot-5 who we’ve seen thrive mostly in the mid-80s, though he’s also been up into 88-89 mph for us.

Jacob Kisting (7/14/20)

EVANSVILLE

+ Only two products will be joining the Aces via Illinois and Wisconsin from this inbound recruiting class, although both possess intriguing upside in their respective crafts: INF Kevin McCormick (St. Laurence, IL) and RHP Ryan Schneider (Fond du Lac, WI). McCormick has a smooth swing from the left side of the plate that consistently works in rhythm, allowing him to drive the ball into the gaps without much effort. We got our first look at Schneider this summer at The Rock, where he sat 86-87 mph in relief with his fastball against a strong STiKS Black lineup and mixed in a tight 72-75 mph slider with late action and bite to it. 

Ryan Schneider (7/26/20)

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS

+ The lone Southern Illinois commit between the two states, Neuqua Valley (IL) RHP Kaydon Norkus ascended into the state’s top-150 overall rankings after a strong performance at an event this past fall. Standing at a proportionally strong, yet still projectable, 6-foot-1, 190-pounds, Norkus’ fastball sits in the 86-88 mph range, topping out at 89 mph. It plays up from that velocity band due to above-average vertical movement, per our TrackMan metrics, and carries into the zone. He mixes in a curveball too, spinning off a sharp 12/6 shape with a shorter wrinkle. Norkus two-pitch mix could be most effective for the Salukis out of the pen’ in a relief role.

Kaydon Norkus (8/11/20)

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