Bears Receive Seven Commitments During Early Signing Period
Nov. 18, 2013
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Missouri State head coach Keith Guttin announced Monday (Nov. 18) the receipt of official commitments from seven high school standouts during the NCAA's early signing period. The new additions to the Bears' 2014-15 roster include pitchers Brad Archer (Lebanon, Mo.), Nick Brown (Tulsa, Okla.) and Austin Knight (Lebanon, Mo.), as well as infielder/outfielder Jake Burger (Chesterfield, Mo.), outfielder Kyle Reed (Blue Springs, Mo.), catcher Jackson Walker (Jefferson City, Mo.) and infielder Jake Walker (Jefferson City, Mo.).
Archer will join the Bears next fall after completing a standout prep career at Lebanon (Mo.) High School, where he earned Rawlings Perfect Game All-America honors as a junior after posting a 2.71 earned run average in leading the Yellowjackets to a district championship. The right-hander earned all-district recognition as both a pitcher and infielder, holding the opposition to a .116 batting mark while logging 64 strikeouts over 34 innings on the mound. Over the summer, Archer pitched for the Midwest Nationals 17U Blue club, fanning 83 hitters to go along with a 2.43 ERA in 53 innings.
Brown enters his final season at Catoosa High School in the Tulsa with a 24-6 career mound mark following a 12-2 junior campaign in which he garnered Verdigris Valley Conference Pitcher of the Year and honorable mention all-state honors for the Indians. An Oakley All-American, Brown helped Catoosa to a school-record 30 victories and a fifth-place Oklahoma 4A finish. That effort followed a sophomore year that concluded with all-conference and all-metro citations for the right-hander, who went 6-2 on the mound.
Primarily a third baseman for Christian Brothers College High School, Burger is coming off a strong junior campaign in which he hit .437 with a home run and 31 RBIs to earn honorable mention all-state recognition. The Chesterfield, Mo., product also picked up second-team all-metro honors from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after leading CBC to a Missouri Class 5 runner-up finish this past spring. A two-time All-Metro Catholic Conference honoree, Burger led the league with five triples and posted a .515 on-base percentage while slugging .690 for a 24-9 Cadet squad as a junior.
Knight, the second Lebanon High product in this year's recruiting class, is coming off a strong junior year that included a 6-2 record on the hill for the Yellowjackets. A right-hander, Knight posted a 1.88 ERA and struck out 65 hitters over 41 innings last spring en route to earning first-team all-district and All-Ozarks Conference recognition. He also picked up second-team all-conference and all-district laurels as an outfielder for a 14-11 LHS squad.
Reed enters his senior season as a two-time all-state honoree at Blue Springs (Mo.) High School, where he batted .417 as a junior to help the Wildcats to a Suburban Big 7 title last spring. An outfielder, Reed earned his clubs' offensive player of the year honor for the second straight year and garnered first-team all-conference, all-district and all-area recognition as well. He also played an integral role in helping his summer team, Rod's A's, capture the 2013 American Legion AAA state championship. As a sophomore, Reed hit .471 and broke the Blue Springs single-season record with 13 doubles en route to a Class 5 second-team all-state nod from the Missouri High School Baseball Coaches Association.
Rounding out the list of early signees for Missouri State is the duo of Jackson and Jake Walker, twin standouts who will play their senior seasons at Jefferson City (Mo.) High School after transferring from Enid, Okla. Jackson Walker sat out the 2013 season due to injury on the heels of a breakout sophomore campaign in which he led Enid High with a .345 batting mark. The right-handed hitting catcher spent time in Enid's starting lineup as a freshman and played with the Midwest Nationals' 17U Red squad over the summer of 2012. Jake Walker was also a three-year regular for the Plainsmen as an infielder. The switch-hitter turned in a strong 2011 summer with the Midwest Nationals (17U Red), hitting .320.
With 20 letterwinners returning from a 2013 squad that finished 31-23, the Bears open the 2014 campaign Feb. 14 at Central Arkansas. Guttin, the dean of Missouri Valley Conference coaches and Missouri State's all-time winningest coach, will begin his 32nd year as the Bears' bench boss with a 1,063-675 career record.