Brock Neuhaus could have stayed close to home and pitched for Iowa, a baseball program rebuilding with a new coach.

But after taking an official visit to Kansas State a little more than a week ago, the Wildcats offered the Pleasant Valley senior everything he was looking for in his collegiate future.

"It was the total package - facilities were top-notch and I connected with the coaches," Neuhaus said Monday afternoon after committing to the Big 12 Conference program. "Baseball takes second fiddle at some schools, but you could tell it was a priority there."

Kansas State was 45-19, captured a league championship and came within a victory of reaching the College World Series in Omaha this past season.

The right-hander, who was 5-3 with a 1.93 ERA in 69 innings this summer, has a personal connection with the Wildcats.

Hitting coach Mike Clement's father, Brad, is Neuhaus' godfather.

"They had an eye on me, but I didn't break into a recruitable position for them until a couple months ago," Neuhaus said. "I increased my velocity and it took off for me."

His fastball clocked in the upper 80s, Neuhaus also had Division I offers from Iowa, Northern Illinois, Western Illinois, Air Force Academy and Morehead State.

The most difficult phone call was telling newly-appointed Iowa coach Rick Heller he was going elsewhere.

"I can't tell you how tough it was turning down Iowa," Neuhaus said. "Growing up in the state of Iowa and especially with Coach Heller, who is such a good guy and good coach, it was hard.

"I just felt Kansas State was the right place. I couldn't turn that down."

According to PV baseball coach Rob Wood, Neuhaus is the school's first Division I baseball recruit since 2001 graduate Kyle Bloom attended Illinois State.

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"Brock is serving as a huge role model for our program and his peers," Wood said. "It shows it can be done with a lot of hard work and determination."

Neuhaus said playing at the Division I level didn't become a serious thought until after his sophomore season.

At the time, his mother, Crystal, was battling stage IV acute myeloid leukemia. She died in February at age 52.

"To go through all of that, baseball drove me and gave me something I could look forward to," he said. "I wish she was here today, but I know she's looking down with a smile."

Wood believes Neuhaus' development and instruction from Perfect Game helped him gain exposure and gave him direction in becoming a Division I prospect.

"He saw what guys like (Muscatine's Derek) Burkamper did and how they worked," Wood said. "Brock is a smart enough individual that he picked up on what needed to do to get to the next level.

"A lot of the credit goes to his determination and never letting up."

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