Prep Baseball Report

Illinois Signing Day: Ohio Valley Conference

By: Peter Hamot
Area Scout, Staff Writer

On Nov. 8, thousands of high school baseball players across the country signed their National Letters of Intent to lock in their official commitments to their respective schools, with hundreds of these signings hailing from Illinois.

Over the next few weeks, we will spend some time highlighting the names from Illinois that signed their NLI to play baseball at the Division I level. We’ve already broken down a handful of these conferences, and you can find those, below:

BIG 10
BIG 12
Missouri Valley

Today, we'll be looking at the players from Illinois that signed to play at schools in the Ohio Valley Conference with videos, scouting reports and more.

Eastern Illinois

The Panthers were a major player in the Illinois recruiting circuit this year, snagging five players from across the Land of Lincoln.  

One of the top players in the state, OF Nate George (Minooka) made his commitment to the Panthers official in early November. Currently ranked No. 10 in the state, George has one of the loudest sets of tools within Illinois; boasting a laser-timed 6.39 60-yard dash, 104 mph max exit velocity and max outfield velocity of 94 mph. His BLAST metrics are equally impressive, averaging 24 mph for his hand-speed, 85 mph for his bat-speed and 25.8 g of rotational acceleration. He’ll look to be a cornerstone in an already talented Minooka lineup as they plan to make another deep playoff run in 2024. 

(Nate George) 

INF James Love (Joliet West) has consistently been a winner in front of our staff throughout his prep career. Currently ranked No. 37 in the state, Love is a proven in-game performer with the measurable data to pair. He has some pop in the bat, registering a max exit velocity of 103 mph in BP; his swing also plays in-game with feel for the barrel and the ability to use the whole field. He has the hands to remain on the infield moving forward, and he’s actually been raising some intrigue on the mound lately, specifically this past summer where we saw him on multiple occasions working into the upper-80s. 

(James Love) 

OF Jake Ottensmeier (Highland) is an intriguing left/left prospect that will be headed to Charleston next fall. Currently slotted at No. 39 in the state, the smooth left-handed hitter has upside in his stroke, working directly to the ball with athletic and quick hands. Listed at 6-foot-1, 165-pounds, there’s likely a considerable amount of pop still in the tank that he should start to tap into as he gains physicality. He’s also a natural defender in the outfield, covering ground easily and pairing it with a strong arm to limit the run game. 

(Jake Ottensmeier)

RHP Devan Tupper (Normal University) is an intriguing arm with some noteworthy upside headed to the Panthers. Listed at 6-foot-3, 175-pounds, Tupper has a high-waisted, lean build with plenty of room to add on strength in the coming years. His fastball can work up to 89 mph, and you can expect that to make jumps as he gets acclimated with the coaching staff and continues to fill out. He also has an innate ability to spin the breaking ball, working consistently around 2500-2600 RPM on his curveball, which is another indicator of potential velocity in the near future. 

(Devan Tupper)

OF/LHP Brandon Schultz (Stevenson) is the final Illinois product from the 2024 class that will be headed to the Panthers. Schultz provides some intrigue in his left-handed bat, creating exit velocities in-event as high as 97 mph, also reaching over 350’. He’s a well above-average runner, cruising to a 6.62 in the 60. His speed plays in multiple aspects of his game, whether it be causing havoc on the basepaths or tracking down fly balls in the outfield. His arm is also plenty strong, reaching up to 85 mph from a crow hop and 86 mph on the mound.  

(Brandon Schultz)


The Lions are one of the newer teams in the Ohio Valley, joining the conference in 2022. They look to have a couple strong additions from within the state, adding LHP Kris Alcorn (Collinsville) and RHP Noah Cryns (Evanston). 

Alcorn is an easy mover down the mound with an upside delivery, and he can create a fastball that works into the upper-80s. He has shown a quality breaking ball in past looks, creating whiffs under the zone and also dumping it in for strikes in the low-70s. 

(Kris Alcorn) 

The Lions added another arm to their staff with Cryns, and he brings a mid-80s fastball to the table that pairs off a short 10/4 slider. 

(Noah Cryns)

Southern Illinois-Edwardsville

The Cougars have made the OVC tournament the last two years, and they’ll be looking to make this a common theme with a strong recruiting crop coming in.  

Edwardsville stayed local when they grabbed OF/RHP Brady Coon from Triad, and he's an intriguing prospect on both sides of the ball. The right-handed hitter has a knack for the barrel with the ability to use the whole field, and he’s an asset defensively with a quick first step as well as the ability to cover ground easily. He also has a strong arm that can reach up to 87 mph from the outfield and 89 mph on the mound.

(Brady Coon)  

OF Samuel Chapman (Woodstock) committed to the Cougars just under a year ago, and he’ll provide some value in a couple different aspects. The former Future Gamer has loose, athletic hands at the plate that allow him to keep the barrel through the zone for a long time, and he’s shown the ability to drive the baseball to the whole field. He’s also an above-average runner with a 6.95 in the 60, utilizing quick feet to cut down balls in the gaps as well as take extra bases offensively. His arm is also plenty strong, reaching up to 90 mph from a crow hop.  

Southeast Missouri State

The Redhawks have won the Ohio Valley Conference Title five times, with their most recent win coming in 2021. They dipped their hands into Illinois to grab LHP Matthew Wnukowski (Tinley Park), and there’s a lot to like with the southpaw. 

Listed at 6-foot-3, 215-pounds, Wnukowski already has the physical appearance of a collegiate arm. He’s a clean and easy mover down the mound, creating a mid-80s fastball with little perceived effort from an over-the-top release. His fastball also plays with a considerable amount of carry through the zone with over 2300 RPM at times, setting up a short downer curveball and 2/8 slider. 

(Matthew Wnukowski)  

Western Illinois 

The Leathernecks are the newest addition to the OVC, joining the conference on July 1st, and they added a high-caliber player from in-state with INF Kenny Perez (De La Salle). 

The former Future Gamer will have a chance to make an impact early in his collegiate career. A premier defender on the infield, Perez likely profiles at third base or second at the next level with some of the softest hands in the state. His arm is also plenty strong to see time at third, reaching up to 88 mph from across the diamond. He has some sneaky power in his right-handed swing as well, reaching up to 95 mph for his max exit velocity this past summer and up to 347’ for his max distance, all with a wood bat. 

(Kenny Perez) 

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