Class action: A rundown of Illinois' newest signees

On Wednesday, prep standouts kept the Illinois fax machines humming, letters of intent coming in for a variety of sports. The rundown:

MEN’S BASKETBALL
Recruit    High School    Marcus Jackson’s comment
Austin Colbert    Gill St. Bernard’s (N.J.)    The versatile 6-foot-9 forward, who committed Monday, can score inside and out
Malcolm Hill    Belleville East    Swingman recovered from injury that derailed summer and might be gem of class
Maverick Morgan    Springboro (Ohio)    A true center, the 6-10, 240-pounder’s best basketball is yet to come
Kendrick Nunn    Simeon    Highest-rated player in the crew is an explosive offensive player with ability to defend
Jaylon Tate    Simeon    Late bloomer opened eyes during summer; he’ll take over at PG for three-time state champs
John Groce’s take: “They’ll always have a special place in my heart, as did the ‘09 class when I was at Ohio, because at that point in time, you have to basically decide ‘I believe in the vision, I see where this thing is going, I want to be a part of that,’ without as much evidence as subsequent classes.”

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
Recruit    High School    Jeff Huth’s comment

Leah Bolton    Chicago Marist    Second-team All-State forward averaged 14.3 points as junior
Kennedy Cattenhead    Bolingbrook    Point guard was only junior in vet lineup that reached super-sectionals
Taylor Gleason    Goodrich (Mich.)    Two-time all-state guard ranked No. 6 player in her class in Michigan
Jacqui Grant    Maine South    Forward ranks third in school history in rebounding, seventh in scoring
Sarah Livingston    Morton    Power forward is a sister of former Peoria prep great Shaun Livingston
Mikaala Shackelford    Hopkins (Minn.)    Guard/forward saw junior season end in January with ACL tear
Matt Bollant’s take: “We have a diverse group with kids that can do different things. We wanted to recruit the state and feel we have four of the top six or seven kids in Illinois.”

VOLLEYBALL
Recruit    High School    Jeff Huth’s comment

Katie Roustio    O’Fallon    Outside hitter averaged 4.99 kills per set in four varsity seasons
Katie Stadick    Watertown (Wis.)     The 6-foot-3 middle blocker could succeed senior Erin Johnson as starter
Michelle Strizak    Mount Notre Dame (Ohio)    Outside hitter is ranked No. 22 on Prepvolleyball.com’s Senior Aces list
Kevin Hambly’s take: “There is potential for a couple of these players to start in the 2013 season. The group is long and athletic and have played on teams that have competed at high levels both in club and high school.”

SOFTBALL
Recruit    High School    Jeff Huth’s comment

Nicole Evans    River Forest Trinity    Outfielder combines consistent bat with power (30 career HRs)
Alyssa Gunther    Tinley Park    2B/OF has hit better than .400 in all three of her prep seasons
Brandi Needham    Dripping Springs (Texas)    Pitcher has racked up 414 strikeouts in three high school seasons
Ruby Rivera    Pacifica (Calif.)    Three-year starting shortstop draws raves for her defense
Jade Vecvanags    Orange Lutheran (Calif.)    Like Needham, pitcher projects as impact player with bat, too
Terri Sullivan’s take: “With the upcoming graduation of Pepper (Gay) and Jackie (Guy), the top priority in this class was pitching. In Brandi and Jade, we struck gold, finding not just complete pitchers but players. ... We expect them to be the first pitchers at Illinois to be regularly in the offensive lineup, as well.”

BASEBALL
Recruit    High School/Juco    Jeff Huth’s comment

Anthony Drago    Lake Zurich    Power-hitting 1B/OF was MVP of 2012 U17 High School World Series
Alex Greer    Iowa Western CC    Speedy OF hit .347 for 2012 NJCAA Division I World Series champions
Matthew James    Normal West    RHP/SS went a combined 16-2 in past two seasons for Wildcats
Ryne Roper    Harrisburg     RHP/SS, brother of UI soph Reid Roper, ranked No. 2 in state in his class
Dan Rowbottom    St. Ignatius (Ohio)    Ranked No. 2 outfielder in Ohio in his class by Perfect Game USA
Cody Sedlock    Rock Island Alleman    Pro scouts taking interest in righty, who struck out 108 in 812/3 IP
Dan Hartleb’s take: “If you look at our classes over the last probably five or six years, the main goal that we’ve had is to bring in great pitching and great athletes. And I think that we’ve added (that) to the players that we have.”

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