Central's Milton commits to Illinois baseball

Central's Milton commits to Illinois baseball

CHAMPAIGN — Connor Milton is officially a trendsetter.

The Champaign Central junior on Monday night verbally committed to Dan Hartleb’s University of Illinois baseball program through a tweet. The decision came two days after the orange and blue offered Milton during an official visit.

“I’ve always wanted to be an Illini,” Milton said shortly after his choice. “To have this opportunity is a really big deal to me. I’m really excited to make my dreams become a reality.”

Milton is the first athlete in coach John Staab's time with Central baseball, which began in 2002, to join up with Illinois.

“I’m happy for him,” Staab said. “He’s really taken advantage of opportunities and continues to work hard. Certainly, his work ethic speaks for itself.”

Milton struck .316 with 16 RBI and nine stolen bases as a sophomore center fielder in his first season of varsity action. He said summer work with the Illinois Braves club team drew the eye of Illini.

“I really like the coaches,” Milton said. “I felt it was a good fit staying in town. It was something I wanted to do.”

Hartleb’s crew is coming off a 33-20 campaign that ended with a 2-2 showing in the Big Ten tournament. Milton said the Illinois staff projects him continuing as an outfielder at the college level.

The speed with which Milton’s future has panned out is something that surprised the youngster. But one easy takeaway is his new place in Central baseball history.

“It’s something last year at this time, I never thought this would be a reality,” Milton said. “It’s really important to me to hold (myself) up to a high standard. I don’t take it lightly.”