Q&A with Illinois Commit Jacob Campbell

By Matt Huck
Area Scout

2018 catcher Jacob Campbell of Janesville Craig recently committed to the University of Illinois shortly following the 2016 PBR Future Games. Campbell is currently ranked No. 7 in the Wisconsin Class of 2018 and No. 154 in the PBR Overall ranks. Here is a report on Campbell from the Future Games.

Jacob Campbell8/4/16 - Committed to Illinois shortly after Future Games. Strong stocky build with sloped shoulders, 5-foot-11, 195-pound catcher, durable athletic build. 6.98 runner in the 60. Defensively is athletic and quick out of the chute, posted pop times at 1.97-2.01. Plus arm strength for his age, 83 mph out of the crouch, carries well to target. Offensively showed bat strength in BP, barrel control, hard opposite field contact. 92 mph exit velocity from the tee.


PBR: What were your expectations about the recruiting process? Was it as expected? Easy/Difficult?

Campbell: I didn't really know what to think about the process from the beginning, but the attention from college coaches made me realize that baseball at the next level could be in my future.

PBR: What were you looking for out of a college program to continue your baseball career at?

Campbell: A few things that were important to me included a quality education, a baseball program with a proven history of success and player development, and a comfortable distance from home. The University of Illinois fit the bill in all those areas.

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

Campbell: Yes it did, the distance factor was very important to me because it gives my supportive family a chance to see me play in college.

PBR: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you? Was there a particular game or event that you feel turned the corner for you?

Campbell: Playing with the Hitters 17u Navy team gave me the opportunity to play against some of the best players in the country.  I had a good summer both offensively and defensively and that increased my recruitment.

PBR: Where did the college you chose first see you? How did your relationship develop with them?

Campbell: At a showcase event hosted by Hitters Baseball Academy.  After that event I developed a relationship with Coach Christ at Illinois.  That event at Hitters brought Illinois into the conversation, setting the stage for them to see me play this spring and summer.

PBR: What do you like most about the college you committed to and what were the key factors in making your decision?

Campbell: What I liked most about the University of Illinois was their commitment to success in Big Ten baseball, and their impressive history of developing student athletes.

PBR: What other schools were on your short list before you made your final decision?

Campbell: Notre Dame, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois State, Wichita State, and Nebraska.  

PBR: Who is the best player you have faced in your state, and why?

Campbell: I've played against Ben Rortvedt from Verona High School for the past two seasons in the Big 8 Conference.  He impacted the game as a catcher and in the batters box.  

PBR: 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?

Campbell: Competing and practicing with some of the most elite players in the country made me realize that I could play at the next level.  I've been fortunate to have many talented teammates that helped me improve my game.

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

Campbell: Find where your priorities lie.  Make sure not to overlook the classroom.  And finally, if you are not committed to working hard in the weight room none of this is possible.

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

Campbell: Catching the last six outs and winning the Division 1 WIAA High School State Championship as a freshman in 2015 with my best friends/teammates. 

PBR: Preview your high school season for us. How do you feel your team will be? What are your expectations and goals?

Campbell: We have a lot of talent returning for the 2017 season.  The goal for this upcoming season is what it always has been, and that is winning the Big Eight Conference, getting to Appleton and winning three games. 

PBR: Where do you play in the summer? And what has been your most memorable experience with them?

Campbell: I play for the Hitters Baseball Academy based out of Caledonia, WI. My most memorable experience with the Hitters was going 9-0 during the week and winning the Premier Junior Championship in Joplin, MO. 

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