Illini Sign 6 to Letters of Intent

Head coach Dan Hartleb signed six student-athletes to national letters of intent Wednesday.
Head coach Dan Hartleb signed six student-athletes to national letters of intent Wednesday.

Nov. 11, 2009

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois coach Dan Hartleb announced the signing of six student-athletes to national letters of intent Wednesday. At this point, the 2010 signing class is composed of Drasen Johnson, of Chillicothe, Ill., Thomas Lindauer, of Moline, Ill., Rob McDonnell, of Barrington, Ill., Ronnie Muck, of Park Ridge, Ill., Kelly Norris-Jones, of Victoria, British Columbia, and Reid Roper, of Harrisburg, Ill.

"We are excited to welcome another highly talented class into our program," Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb said. "We feel that we have addressed all of our immediate needs with some of the top athletes in the state of Illinois and Canada. All of the players in this class have played for very competitive and successful teams. These student-athletes have a track record of winning at a high level as well as being good people and citizens. (Associate head) coach (Eric) Snider and (Assistant) coach (Ken) Westray did another outstanding job of identifying another class where each player has the ability to help our program play at the national level early in his career.

"We look forward to having these student-athletes compete for us in 2011. We also are looking forward to the addition of several more top athletes in this recruiting class in the near future."

Biographical sketches of the 2009-10 Illinois baseball signees:

Drasen Johnson, RHP
6-3 // 175 // R/R // Fr. // Illinois Valley Central HS // Chillicothe, Ill.

Notes: Listed as the No. 25 prospect in the class of 2010 in Illinois by Prep Baseball Report...Finished 5-1 with a 1.91 ERA in 2008, helping IVC to a second-place finish at the IHSA Class 2A state tournament...Was listed as one of the Midwest's fastest-rising prospects by Perfect Game Crosschecker in August 2009...Missed much of the 2009 season following an injury suffered during the 2008 football season and a bout with mononucleosis.

Assistant coach Ken Westray on Johnson: "Drasen has a good arm with a high ceiling for continued development. His progress was delayed a bit by injury and illness but he bounced back well this summer once he was healthy."

Thomas Lindauer, SS/2B
6-1 // 155 // R/R // Fr. // Moline HS // Moline, Ill.

Notes: Ranked No. 15 in the state by Prep Baseball Report...PBR lists him as the No. 4 defensive infielder in the state...Hit .405 with eight home runs, 41 RBIs, 47 runs and a .752 slugging percentage in 2009...Earned Metro Player of the Year honors from the Moline Dispatch/Rock Island Argus...Named to the All-Big 6 Conference first team in 2009 and 2008...Led Moline to the IHSA Class 4A sectional final against eventual third-place finisher O'Fallon in 2009...Has earned seven varsity letters, three for golf and two each for baseball and basketball...Two-time All-Big 6 Conference golfer in 2008 and 2009...Qualified for the IHSA 3A golf state tournament as an individual despite limited previous golf experience...Member of Team Illinois for the Illinois vs. Iowa all-star game.

Associate head coach Snider on Lindauer: "Thomas is an athletic, tough, competitive player who also is very hard working. He's a smooth infielder who makes everything look easy with his above-average arm and instincts. He has a solid hitting approach with pop and his tremendous leadership qualities will make him an impact freshman in the Big Ten."

Rob McDonnell, LHP
6-1 // 190 // L/L // Fr. // Barrington HS // Barrington, Ill.

Notes: Listed as the No. 32 overall prospect in the state by Prep Baseball Report...One of the top left-handed prospects in the state...Throws a top-level curveball to complement his mid-80s fastball...Named an all-area selection by the Daily Herald in 2009...Was an All-Mid Suburban League selection in 2009...Went 9-3 with a 2.10 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 71 innings in 2009, helping Barrington advance to the IHSA Class 4A super-sectional game.

Coach Westray on McDonnell: "Rob is a lefty who can throw three pitches for strikes with good repetition. He has a high ceiling and will be very productive for us."

Ronnie Muck, RHP
6-1 // 195 // R/R // Fr. // Maine South HS // Park Ridge, Ill.

Notes: Named the No. 38 prospect in the state by Prep Baseball Report...All-Area selection by the Chicago Sun-Times in 2008 and 2009...All-Central Suburban Conference pitcher in 2008 and 2009...Broke the single-season strikeouts record for Maine South with 98 in 2009...Posted a 0.77 ERA in the summer of 2008...Tossed a perfect game in 2008...Helped Maine South to a regional championship in 2008...Helped Maine South football team to the 2008 IHSA Class 8A state title, returning an interception 34 yards before halftime in the championship game...Has earned five varsity letters, three in baseball and two in football.

Coach Westray on Muck: "Ronnie has a good arm and has been associated with winning at a high level as a starter on Maine South's 8A state football team last year. He's definitely a young man with a good upside."

Kelly Norris-Jones, C
5-11 // 175 // R/R // Fr. // Lambrick Park Secondary // Victoria, British Columbia

Notes: Named the first-team All-Conference catcher for the British Columbia Premier Baseball League, the top U-18 baseball league in British Columbia...Hit .272, which ranked third among regular players on the Victoria Mariners, Norris-Jones' team in the BCPBL, and compiled a .392 on-base percentage...Played in the Canadian Junior National Team fall instructional league camp at Disney's Wide World of Sports facility in Orlando, Fla., in October.

Coach Snider on Norris-Jones: "Kelly is the next in a long line of Canadian catchers that we've had at Illinois. He's a solid defensive catcher with tremendous feet and exchange, and good arm strength. He has a solid hitting approach with pop. Kelly is a tough, athletic competitor who knows the game of baseball. He will be an impact freshman for us as he continues to improve."

Reid Roper, SS
6-0 // 190 // L/R // Fr. // Harrisburg HS // Harrisburg, Ill.

Notes: Ranked the No. 12 overall prospect in the state by Prep Baseball Report ... PBR lists him as the No. 2 defensive infielder and No. 6 hitter in the state ... Three-year starter hit .412 in 2007, .478 with six home runs and 13 doubles in 2008, and .425 with 46 walks in 2009 ... Three-time All-Southern Illinois selection by the Southern Illinois Baseball Coaches Association ... Three-time All-Southern Illinois River-to-River Conference selection ... Led Harrisburg to SIRR conference championships in 2008 and 2009 ... Led Harrisburg to a regional title in 2008 ... Member of Team Illinois ... Helped the Bulldogs to an appearance in the IHSA Class 2A sectional title game in 2008 ... In football, quarterbacked Harrisburg to SIRR (Ohio) conference championships and playoff appearances in 2008 and 2009 ... Led the Harrisburg basketball team to a regional title in 2008 as he made 73 three-pointers that season.

Coach Snider on Roper: "Reid is an athletic, tough competitive player who has an above-average arm, soft hands and good instincts. He has a middle-of-the-field hitting approach with pop and potential power. He will hit for average and will give us a lot of doubles. I'm confident that he will make an impact in the Big Ten as a true freshman as he continues to work on his game."