Illinois & Wisconsin D-I Recruiting Classes: Part Two


By Andy Sroka
Illinois and Wisconsin Assistant Director

Within this post, we’ll be breaking down five of Illinois’ 10 Division-I programs and their incoming 2021 recruiting classes, from both in-state and out-of-state perspectives, as well as a bonus look at Wisconsin's only D-I home, UW-Milwaukee. Many of the area's top seniors will be sticking around their home to pursue baseball at the next level. We’ll be breaking things down, program by program, in-depth below.

We covered our first five program breakdowns on Monday in Part One.

Keep checking things out throughout the month as we analyze the entire Illinois and Wisconsin 2021 classes and the commitments they’ve made, as well as the top prospects in both states who have yet to choose a home for the fall of 2021.

ILLINOIS STATE

NAME STATE (RANK) SCHOOL POS
Ryan Weaver IL (27) Cary-Grove LHP
MacCallan Conklin IL (38) Normal U-High RHP/OF
J.P. Gauthier WI (15) De Pere SS
Joshua Blount WI (23) West De Pere OF
J.T. Sokolove MI (23) Hudsonville SS/2B


TOTAL RECRUITS: 5 | IN-STATE: 2 | STATE TOP-50: 5

RYAN WEAVERLHP / CARY-GROVE, IL / 2021

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 back side, works out of 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.

 


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). 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, but it’s also one of the toolsiest skill-sets in the area.

Lastly, from Michigan, middle infielder J.T. Sokolove (Hudsonville) will shore up this incoming class on the dirt. He represented his home state at the 2019 PBR Future Games and committed to ISU later that year. Sokolove’s ranked inside the state’s top-25 as an athletic lead-off righty bat who shines defensively as a sure-handed up-the-middle infielder.

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