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Illinois Baseball signs former Marine Josh Harris

Harris, 25, becomes the oldest Illini on next year’s team.

Tom Jozefowicz

Illinois Baseball head coach Dan Hartleb is no stranger to adding to his team via the junior college route, adding notably names like Jeff Korte and Michael Michalak last season from other schools.

One junior college prospect Illinois is adding in 2019 has a little bit different of a JUCO route.

According to a press release on Thursday, Kankakee Community College left-hander — and former Marine — Josh Harris signed a letter of intent on Wednesday to play baseball at Illinois.

“I’m excited to bring in a student-athlete with a great deal of maturity and that can help our bullpen,” Hartleb said in the release.

Harris pitched in 19 games for Kankakee last season, finishing 2-1 with a 3.72 ERA. He spent 2011-15 in the Marine Corps, leaving for boot camp after his senior year of high school. He completed boot camp and infantry training before being moved to the 1st Battalion, 5th marines California. Harris, 25, was deployed overseas twice.

The Beecher, Illinois, native wants to pursue a career in law enforcement and is definitely the Illini’s oldest player — if not athlete in any sport — entering next season.

“Great facilities and it’s close to home,” Harris said in the release. “It is a very nice school with great credentials to make your degree stand out amongst others.”