Wednesday Recruiting wrap, August 23

Middlesex School right-hander pitcher Michael Doherty is the latest class of 2018 Northwestern commit.
Middlesex School right-hander pitcher Michael Doherty is the latest class of 2018 Northwestern commit.

For high school players, the summer showcase and travel season is over. Turning in the travel uniforms as a new school year, the pace of commitments is starting to pick up.

Here’s a look at a half-dozen verbal pledges to Big Ten schools over the last two weeks.

Around the conference

Illinois

Craig High School (Janesville, Wisconsin) 2018 C Jacob Campbell

Wisconsin’s Hitters Baseball Academy has been good to the Illini over the years, producing future Illini in the likes of sophomore outfielder Doran Turchin, and freshmen Cyrillo Watson and Ty Weber. Illinois latest recruit is another from the pipeline. Catcher Jacob Campbell, of Janesville, Wisconsin is set to head south for college baseball. A stout 5’11, 195-pound backstop, Campbell checks in as Prep Baseball Report’s seventh-best prospect in Wisconsin’s class of 2018, the second-best catcher.

Iowa

Lewis Central High School (Council Bluffs, Iowa) 2017 C Joel Thompson

It’s not too late to secure a commitment from a top in-state 2017 graduate, the Iowa staff can attest to that. The Hawkeyes went to their state’s western edge to garner a pledge from catcher Joel Thompson of Council Bluffs’ Lewis Center. PBR ranks Thompson as Iowa’s top catcher in the class of 2017 and ninth-best overall prospect. Thompson draws rave reviews for possessing a physical bat with impressive bat speed while showing quality catcher and transfer skills behind the plate.

Maryland

Bergen Catholic (Bergen, New Jersey) 2018 LHP Chris Gerard

Six players on Maryland’s 2017 roster hail from New Jersey. With the Terrapins latest commitment, it doesn’t appear Coach Szefc and staff will stop going to the Garden State anytime soon. Left-handed pitcher Chris Gerard of Bergen Catholic is the latest addition to the Terrapin 2018 recruiting class. PBR lists Gerard as New Jersey’s top left-handed pitcher in his class. Perfect Game shows Gerard as having a fastball up to 87 MPH as of July.

Purdue

Stevenson High School (Livonia, Michigan) 2017 RHP Branden Posky

Posky joins the first recruiting class of new Purdue head coach Mark Wasikowski. In today’s recruiting world, Wasikowski and Purdue were behind the clock in securing commitments from 2017 graduates, but the Boilermakers were able to go out of state to secure Posky’s pledge. A 6’1, 175 -pound right-handed pitcher, PBR notes Posky is able to run his fastball up to 87 MPH, showing to variations of two low-to-mid-70s breaking balls.

Ohio State

Toronto High School (Toronto, Ohio) 2018 OF Nolan Clegg

PBR ranks Clegg as Ohio’s eighth-best prospect in the class of 2018, second among outfielders. Checking in at 6-foot-3, weighing 185 pounds, Clegg’s best recorded 60-yard time on PBR’s watch is 6.7 seconds. Bucking a trend of Ohio State going heavy with left-handed hitting outfielders (Ronnie Dawson, Tre’ Gantt, Troy Montgomery), the right-handed hitting Clegg also shows an ability to play first base, providing defensive versatility with a bat that PBR writes will play at the college level.

Commitment spotlight

Middlesex School (Concord, Massachusetts) 2018 RHP Mike Doherty

Doherty is Northwestern’s third commitment in the class of 2018, but the one set with the furthest distance to travel for college. Not letting distance curtail his interest in the Wildcats, in catching up with Doherty, ranked by PBR as Massachusett’s 11th-best prospect, number four right-handed pitcher, the Middlesex School prep shares what drew him to Coach Spencer Allen’s program.

B1G: Set to go from the East Coast to the Midwest, distance didn’t deter you as you commit to Northwestern. What does Northwestern offer that made it so attractive that you’re ok with the distance from home?

MD: A combination of many factors ultimately made my decision to commit to Northwestern an easy one. The university’s academic reputation, Big Ten baseball, the coaching staff, new baseball facilities, campus and more, ultimately made distance a non-factor in my decision. Also, having attended a boarding school for the past 2 years has helped me feel comfortable away from home.

B1G: From your interactions with head coach Spencer Allen, what has he made you believe the future of Northwestern baseball reflects?

MD: If you haven’t met Coach Allen, I will tell you he’s a very genuine man. With Coach Allen serving as the head coach and figurehead of the program, you can expect good character to be reflected from his program in the future. On the field, I believe Coach Allen will emphasize hard work and determination, because that is the only way a team can succeed in a conference as tough as the Big Ten.

B1G: Is there anything in particular which sets pitching coach Josh Reynolds apart from the other potential pitching coaches you encountered during your recruitment?

MD: Like Coach Allen, Coach Reynolds is a genuine guy who really wants his guys to succeed, which is important to me. Having been a successful pitcher himself, he knows what it is like on the mound, which some other coaches don’t. Also, not many All-American, third-rounders don’t know their stuff about pitching. I am very excited to get started with Coach Reynolds, as I truly believe he will help me be successful in college and beyond.

B1G: As you head into your junior year at Middlesex, what does having a college commitment change in you as both a student and athlete?

MD: Not much changes for this upcoming year.  Yes, a slight load of pressure is lifted off my shoulders, but being the competitor I have always been, I’m not going to let up in the classroom or on the field. Middlesex is a very academically competitive school so I will still be spending a lot of time studying and working hard. As an athlete, I no longer have to worry about the recruiting process and keeping up with numerous coaches. However, my goal has, and always will be, to get better everyday. So, ultimately my commitment to Northwestern won’t have a drastic affect on my upcoming school year.

B1G: If you were asked to pitch Northwestern to fellow class of 2018 prospects, what would be your go-to line?

MD: I think the best way to pitch Northwestern is to just be honest. My line would be something similar to as follows: At Northwestern, you will get one of the best educations in the country that will set you up for life, compete in a power 5 conference, have access to a major city, and live right on the water. I don’t know a single other place that offers that. Sounds pretty good to me.

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