Prep Baseball Report

Q&A With NIU Commit Jimmy Downs

By: Pete Hamot
Assistant Director, Illinois & Wisconsin

CIF Jimmy Downs (Kenwood, 2025) has turned himself into one of the more physical right-handed bats in the state, and it was on full display this past summer at the Illinois State Games. Standing in at a strong-bodied 5-foot-11, 200-pounds, Downs was all over the barrel throughout BP; averaging 92.5 mph off the bat and reaching up to 100.6 mph for his max EV. He carried over his hot bat right into gameplay, as he launched a no-doubt home run in his first game of the event. Now in his junior season, Downs will look to be a cornerstone in a talented Kenwood lineup as they look to repeat as city champions this coming spring. 

We recenty sat down with the Northern Illinois commit to talk through his recruitment process and more, below.

Our Q&A

PBR: What were your expectations about the recruiting process? What were you looking for out of a college program to continue your baseball career at?

Jimmy: I was looking for someone who believed in me, somewhere that I could call home for the next four years. My expectations about the recruiting process were finding a coach who believed in me, and to find a coach who can develop me to be a better ball player as well as a better person on and off the field.

P: Did location or distance from home play a factor in your decision?

J: Yes it did, because to play at a school in Illinois was my dream, and NIU made that possible.

P: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you? Where did the school you committed to first see you play?

J: My recruiting process really started to heat up at the Illinois State Games that you guys hosted.

P: What do you like most about the program you chose, and what were the key factors in making your decision?

J: What made my decision was the coaching staff at NIU.

P: At what point in your career did you realize you were a college-caliber player and became serious about taking your game to the next level?

J: I would have to say this past summer I felt like I had what it takes to play at the next level by performing and going all out.

P: What advice would you give to young baseball players striving to get where you are?

J: To trust the process and to never give up. No matter how hard things get to never give up, it’s how you handle that failure you just have to get back up and keep going.

P: What is the most memorable moment in your baseball career to this point?

J: I would have to say when I took John Smoltz yard at the Field of Dreams game.

P: Preview your high school team's season for us. How do you feel your team will be?

J: We have a lot of strong, talented guys on our team. I feel we are going to win another city championship and win a state title. We have been working hard and grinding, no one can stop us.

P: How did the Future Games and/or the Illinois State Games affect your recruitment process? Did you receive more attention following the event(s)?

J: I felt the Illinois State Games helped me tremendously with the amount of coaches who were participating and wacthing us.

P: Who is the next talented young player to keep an eye on out of your high school or travel program?

J: DaMaurion Butler (Kenwood, 2025) has great talent.

P: Did Prep Baseball assist in your recruiting? Whether it be through a showcase, tournament coverage, tweets, etc? 

J: Yes, PBR has always been great ever since my eighth grade year, and you guys have shown me love throughout my years of baseball.

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