Missouri State

Recruiting News and Notes: Ben Bryant commits to Cincinnati

Recruiting News and Notes: Ben Bryant commits to Cincinnati

Ben Bryant (QB), Lyons Township

Lyons Township senior three-star quarterback Ben Bryant (6-foot-3, 195 pounds), who originally gave Wisconsin his verbal commitment only to have the Badgers rescind his verbal scholarship offer, has given Cincinnati his verbal commitment.

"It was a much harder decision this time around compared to the first time I committed," Bryant said. "When I committed the first time (to Wisconsin) I had two offers. This time around I had a lot of options and some great offers, but Cincinnati is the best place for me."

Bryant is thrilled to have ended his recruiting process again and can now focus on his upcoming senior season while also putting to rest the entire ordeal with Wisconsin.

"I've put the whole Wisconsin deal behind me and I stand my statement that I sent out on my Twitter account and that's all I have to say. I had some great offers and options and it was a great problem to have. I can just focus now on my team this summer and having a great senior season."

Bryant joins Simeon wide receiver Jayshon Jackson and Mount Carmel senior offensive linemen Jeremy Cooper as part of the Bearcats Class of 2018. 

Jeff Griffin (DL), Homewood-Flossmoor

Northern Illinois continues to do well with filling out its Class of 2018. The Huskies added another Chicagoland piece when Homewood-Flossmoor senior defensive linemen Jeff Griffin (6-foot-2, 260 pounds) became the team's ninth in-state commitment and 14th overall pledge.

"I visited NIU (last Saturday) and that visit really sold me on NIU," Griffin said. "I always wanted to stay closer to home for school and once NIU stepped up and offered me it was a hard offer to turn down. After the visit on Saturday I was sold on NIU so I called up the coaches and committed."

Griffin is also hoping to help NIU add a few more pieces from Homewood-Flossmoor's talented senior class.

"I'm definitely already talking to Justin (Hall) and Mario (Wright II) about joining me at NIU."

Seniors' athlete Justin Hall and linebacker Mario Wright II have both listed Northern Illinois as one of their favorite schools this summer. 

[RELATED: Recruiting News and Notes - Jyran Mitchell commits to NIU]

Indiana State recruiting

Indiana State head coach Curt Mallory has been on fire when it comes to the Sycamores recruiting this summer. Mallory, who was a long-time assistant coach at various stops in Illinois, now has an amazing 24 verbal commitments — including two recent additions in Bishop McNamara safety Giavion Mason (6-foot-0, 190 pounds) and Lindblom wide receiver CJ Rutherford (6-foot-0. 170 pounds).

So why the Sycamores?

Rutherford pointed towards the strength of the coaching staff as a big factor in his decision.

"I really love the coaching staff at Indiana State," Rutherford said. "Coach Mallory brought in a staff that has a lot of experience and several of his coaches worked with him when he was at Michigan. The coaches made us feel comfortable and at home at Indiana State and I'm just excited to be a part of helping the football program win."

Recruiting News

Who are the Top 5 uncommitted players remaining in the Class of 2018?

Carterville tight end Luke Ford (6-foot-7, 245 pounds) has offers from literally every Power 5 school in the nation. Ford originally committed to Arkansas.

Oswego DT Noah Shannon (6-foot-2, 290 pounds) was committed to Minnesota but reopened his recruiting process. Shannon has shown heavy interest in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Indiana and Arkansas.

Bolingbrook DT Dashaun Mallory (6-foot-2, 265 pounds) added a camp offer from Michigan State, and has a Top 3 list of the Spartans, along with Iowa State and Toledo. 

Waubonsie Valley tight end Charles Robinson (6-foot-4, 225 pounds) listed Iowa State, Minnesota and Mississippi State as his Top 3 favorite schools.

Bolingbrook wide receiver I'Shawn Stewart (5-foot-11, 165 pounds) camped earlier this summer with Wisconsin and also made a recent visit to Syracuse. 

Well done: White Sox sign Missouri State slugger Jake Burger

Well done: White Sox sign Missouri State slugger Jake Burger

The White Sox farm system has added some beef.

On Tuesday, the White Sox officially agreed to terms with Missouri State third baseman Jake Burger. The deal includes a $3.7 million signing bonus, according to MLB.com's Jim Callis.

Burger, the No. 11 pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, carries a slot value of $4,199,200 from his draft position.

[WHITE SOX TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

“Me as a player, I’m obviously known for my power and the ability to drive the ball out to all parts of the field," Burger said after being selected by the White Sox. "But I’m more just a consistent guy too. I’m not hitting .280. I’m hitting for average with the home runs as well.”

Burger, who MLB.com ranked as the 16th overall player headed into the draft, slashed .328/.443/.648 with 22 home runs and 65 RBI for Missouri State in 2017.

The three-time All-American belted 47 homers and drove in 179 runs throughout his collegiate career.

What draft analysts say about White Sox first-rounder Jake Burger

What draft analysts say about White Sox first-rounder Jake Burger

While there are few doubts about Jake Burger’s bat, some analysts have raised some questions about his glove.

The third baseman hit for plenty of power and walked more than he struck out during his junior season at Missouri State. But draft experts wonder Burger -- whom the White Sox took with the 11th pick in the amateur draft on Monday -- can stick at third base.

White Sox scouting director Nick Hostetler said the club thinks Burger’s arm and feet will keep him at the hot corner. Not everyone agrees with the club, however.

[MORE: White Sox draft pick joins team he rooted for as a kid

“Few scouts think Burger stays at third,” said ESPN.com’s Keith Law.

Baseball America’s scouting report also casts some doubt on whether or not Burger is good enough to stay at third. But, BA left some wiggle room as to his future position.

“Whether Burger can stick at third base will depend on how much work the team that drafts him is willing to do. His feet work relatively well and his arm is average and accurate, but he lacks a quick first step and is limited in his range.”

The White Sox faced similar questions about last year’s first-rounder Zack Collins and whether or not he would stay at catcher. Collins has thrown out 39 percent of stolen base attempts this season at Single-A Winston-Salem.

“Just as we felt that Zack last year was going to catch, we feel Jake's going to stay at third base,” Hostetler said. “He's got a plus arm, a 55-60 arm on a scouting 20 to 80 scale. His feet work really well, hands work well. Once he gets with Buddy Bell and Chris Getz and with our instructors, we think he's just going to get better. He's a definite third baseman for us.”

Burger’s bat has been graded much higher than his glove. MLBPipeline.com -- which has Burger sticking at third – gives Burger a 50 grade hit tool on the 20-80 scouting scale and 55 power. The site evalutes Burger as “one of the top power sources available in a draft class short on college hitters,” though “there are some worries about an arm bar in his right-handed swing.”

Wrote ESPN’s Keith Law: “Everyone seems to think he’ll hit and hit for power, with hard, loud contact all over the field.”

Baseball America complimented Burger’s pitch recognition and also mentioned the arm bar in his swing -- “but he’s been strong enough to make it work.”

“Last year we feel like we added the best left-handed power in the country and this year we added the best right-handed power in the country,” Hostetler said.