Baseball: Illini Sign Seven for 2017 Season


The Illini are looking to extend the success they had this past season well into the coming years. Seven student-athletes signed National Letters of Intent to don the Orange and Blue for the 2017 season.

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Coming off a record-setting 2015 season, head coach Dan Hartleb, and assistants Drew Dickinson and Adam Christ are looking towards raising the bar higher. The Illini boasted a program-best 50 wins in their 2015 campaign, which included Big Ten and NCAA Regional titles, and the program’s first NCAA Super Regional appearance.

“I’m extremely excited about this group of student-athletes. This class will allow us to continue to play at the highest level nationally.” Head Coach, Dan Hartleb

“Our coaching staff has done an outstanding job of identifying some of the top players in the Midwest and securing their commitments as we strive to continue our success in the classroom and on the playing field,” said Hartleb. “I’m extremely excited about this group of student-athletes. This class will allow us to continue to play at the highest level nationally.”

Jackson Douglas // LHP // Rochester, Minn. (Mayo/Iowa Western CC) // 6-6, 245

  • 9-1, 1.17 ERA, 68 IP, 105 SO, 17 BB in high school
  • All-conference, all-state, all-region honorable mention
  • Will come to Illinois with two years of eligibility after one year at Kansas State and one year at Iowa Western
  • 2-2, 3.55, 25.1 IP, 12 SO, 7 BB as a freshman at Kansas State in 2015
  • Volunteered at Channel 1 Food Drive, Salvation Army and Goodwill
  • Why Illinois: “I wanted to compete for one of the best programs in the country and help carry out the academic and athletic excellence of this University.”
  • Coach Dickinson on Douglas: “Jackson is a tall left-handed pitcher that will be an immediate impact for us next year. Jackson throws three pitches for strikes and has a high ceiling when it comes to his athletic ability. I’m excited for Jackson to be joining the Illini family.”

Andrew Dyke // OF // Alsip, Ill. (Brother Rice) // 6-0, 190

  • .422, 4 HR, 33 RBI, 38 R as a junior
  • .383, 2 HR, 34 RBI, 30 R as a sophomore
  • .294, HR, 15 RBI, 14 R as a freshman
  • Two-time all-area
  • 2014 All-Chicago Catholic League
  • 12 sophomore in Illinois by Prep Baseball Report in 2014
  • Four-year member of Student Council and current vice president
  • National Honor Society
  • AP Scholar Award
  • Volunteered at PADS shelter, numerous baseball camps and many other community service hours through NHS
  • Why Illinois: “From the moment I walked onto the campus, I knew I found my new home. U of I is a perfect fit, both academically and athletically, and I am proud to call myself a Fighting Illini.”
  • Coach Christ on Dyke: “Andrew projects well with great tools and a high baseball IQ. He can be a middle-of-the-lineup guy that can produce day-after-day. He can hit for average with gap power and great RBI potential.”

Michael Massey // INF // Palos Park, Ill. (Brother Rice) // 6-0, 175

  • .365, 5 HR, 33 RBI as a junior
  • .333, team-best 18 SB, .978 fielding percentage as a sophomore
  • 13 prospect in Illinois by Prep Baseball Report
  • 2015 All-Catholic League Blue
  • 2014 The Reporter Newspaper All-Area
  • Father, Keith Massey, played baseball at Illinois from 1983-86
  • Why Illinois: “I chose Illinois because I wanted to attend a university with a prestigious reputation for academics and baseball. I also chose Illinois because of the great coaching staff and top-notch playing facilities. My father played at U of I back in the mid-1980’s so I was excited to have an opportunity to follow in his footsteps as he’s been the biggest role model in my life.”
  • Coach Christ on Massey: “We are excited to get Michael on campus. He’s very polished for a high school player with exceptional baseball instincts. He has the ability to play shortstop and has an advanced approach at the plate.”

Ryan Schmitt // RHP // Hartland, Wis. (Arrowhead) // 5-9, 185

  • 8-0, 0.29 ERA, 48.2 IP, 75 SO, 13 BB as a junior
  • All-Wisconsin Little Ten second team
  • Why Illinois: “I visited Illinois in early July this past summer and I immediately fell in love with everything about it. From coaches to the campus, everything was perfect. I knew it was where I wanted to be.”
  • Coach Dickinson on Schmitt: “Ryan is the biggest bulldog competitor I have ever seen in my time recruiting. He has feel for three good pitches and will be an immediate impact when he arrives. I can’t wait to get Ryan into an Illini uniform.”

Ben Troike // INF // Tinley Park, Ill. (Lincoln-Way North) // 5-10, 160

  • .396, 2 HR, 23 RBI, 36 R as a junior
  • .351, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 25 R as a sophomore
  • Two-time all-Southwest Suburban Conference
  • 2015 all-area honorable mention
  • Two-time Scholar Athlete Award winner
  • 2015 Phil Kaiser Summer League State Tournament MVP
  • Selected to participate in the J. Kyle Braid Leadership Foundation as a top student-athlete at Lincoln-Way North
  • National Honor Society, AP Scholar Award, High Honor Roll
  • Father, Steve Troike, and sister, Rebecca Troike, are both Illinois graduates
  • Brother, Jack Troike, plays baseball at Illinois Wesleyan
  • Why Illinois: “I chose Illinois because of the family atmosphere of the baseball program. There is a lot of excitement surrounding Illini baseball right now and I am eager to become a part of this fantastic program. Illinois is an outstanding University that will help me grow both athletically and academically.”
  • Coach Christ on Troike: “Ben is an advanced defender in the middle infield and has the ability to play shortstop. His solid offensive approach combined with good foot speed will make him an impact for Illinois baseball.”

Cyrillo Watson // OF/RHP // Cudahy, Wis. (South Milwaukee) // 6-1, 185

  • Played with Hitters summer team
  • 6 prospect in Wisconsin by Prep Baseball Report
  • .500, 1.13 ERA in 2015
  • .346, 4.01 ERA in 2014
  • .296, 2.56 ERA in 2013
  • Underclass High Honorable Mention in 2014 and 2015 by Perfect Game
  • Helped Hitters to 2015 WWBA Kernels Foundation Championship and 2015 Premier Baseball Senior National Championship titles
  • Volunteered at YMCA with the Miracle Games in 2014
  • Why Illinois: “I chose Illinois because I feel the school and its baseball program are a great fit for me. The University and baseball program offer great support and opportunities to help me pursue my dreams.”
  • Coach Dickinson on Watson: “Cyrillo has been a very good two-way player through high school and I look forward to working with him on the mound. He has an athletic arm and one of the best breaking balls in the country.”
  • Coach Christ on Watson: “From the offensive standpoint, he has a lot of tools with great bat speed. He has the ability to be a high-level two-way player.”

Ty Weber // RHP // Menomonee Falls, Wis. (Menomonee Falls) // 6-4, 210

  • 17-2, 1.70 ERA, 179 SO, 40 BB, 125.3 IP in high school career
  • Two-time all-state
  • Two-time all-conference
  • Two-time Menomonee Falls Hitter of the Year
  • 2015 Menomonee Falls Pitcher of the Year
  • Academic Honor Roll
  • Volunteered at Best Buddies and FBLA
  • Father, Dave Weber, was drafted by the Los Angeles Raiders in the 11th round of the 1988 NFL Draft
  • Why Illinois: “The coaching staff really pulled me in. Every single one of them was very genuine and straight forward with my family and I. Coach Dickinson was a major reason why I chose Illinois, and on top of that, the campus is absolutely amazing and makes me feel at home.”
  • Coach Dickinson on Weber: “Ty is a three-sport star in high school whose stock is going to skyrocket once he gets here on campus. Ty has an easy, loose arm and we expect great things from him. I look forward to working with him here as an Illini.”

All Stats and information pulled from