Eight high school baseball players signed National Letters of Intent on Wednesday to play at the University of Illinois.
Coach Dan Hartlieb said quote - "As far as Illinois baseball, I'm excited about our group. The ones we have signed right now, there are eight incoming players. As in past years, I'm very excited about their athleticism, the type of people they are, and the type of student they are. They are well rounded. We try to bring in athletes that want to grow and have high ceilings."
Illinois signed right-handed pitchers Gavin Schmitt from Plainfield East High School in Bolingbrook, Isaac Siefken from Broomfield, Colorado, and Calvin Shepherd from Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis.
On the three pitchers, Hartlieb said quote - "We have three right-handed pitchers that have the ability to come in and start to pitch right away. They are all high 80's, low 90's, with an out pitch already. I thought the group that was brought forward, from a pitching standpoint, is outstanding."
From Wauconda High School, catcher Camden Janik and Gavin Bennet from Libertyville can catch and play third base. Both bring high praise from Hartlieb, saying quote - "Catching is very difficult to come by and we have two top-line catchers. One of the catchers can also play third base."
The Illini also received commitments from central Illinois product Holt Geltmaker from Illinois Valley Central High School in Chillicothe. Jared Comia from Hnaover Central High School in Indiana joins this year's class.
Hartlieb described this group as strong athletes that come from winning programs. Adding quote - "The thing that stands out to me besides their athleticism is their strength at a young age, strength is so important when you come into the athletic world, making that jump from high school to college. This group is strong, from a physical standpoint, we've got good size. We look for winners, and we look for people who have played for winning programs, they thrive on winning. I just think we have a very well-rounded group."
Hartlieb also discussed the challenges COVID brought to the process, quote - "I think it's important to spread our wings and find some people around the country. It's been a difficult year from the recruiting standpoint because many weren't allowed to come onto campus and spend time with us, and we had to meet over zoom and phone."
University of Illinois head coach Brad Underwood announced Wednesday the signing of four-star, top-100 recruit Luke Goode (pronounced GOOD-ee) to a national letter of intent on the initial day of the early signing period.
Goode hails from Fort Wayne, Indiana and attends Homestead High School. He is a 6-foot-7, 200-pound wing with the versatility to play both guard and forward. Goode averaged 17.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists as a high school junior, earning a spot on the Supreme 15 Underclass All-State Team by the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association.
Underwood said, quote - "Luke Goode has been a top priority for us in this 2021 class for quite some time."
Goode is a member of the National Honor Society and has earned Distinguished Honor Roll recognition for three years. He also was a football standout at Homestead, earning Class 6A All-State Junior Team Offense honors at quarterback while setting the school record for passing yards in 2019. Goode has elected to concentrate on basketball during his senior year at Homestead.