WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -
Purdue volleyball has announced the addition of four incoming freshmen who will join the program in the fall of 2018. The four top-100 recruits in the nation make up the bulk of the incoming class as the program expects to add one more high school senior in the spring.
Grace Cleveland, Marissa Hornung, Jael Johnson and Garrett Joiner are officially members of the Boilermakers' volleyball program.
"I am eager to welcome this new group of athletes who will arrive on the Boilermaker campus this summer," said head coach Dave Shondell. "In all my years at Purdue, this may be the most impressive group in regard to character and the productive intangibles that will generate an incredible culture."
"All four student-athletes are special in many ways and are ranked in America's top 100 senior prospects. I'm already fired-up to be in the gym with this bunch. Three from this class will bring length, power, and shot-making to our squad, while the fourth will bring toughness, savvy, and defensive prowess. True Boilermaker fans will love this class."
Name: Grace Cleveland
Position: Middle Blocker
Hometown: Bloomington, Illinois
High School: Normal Community
Club: Illini Elite
Major: Retail Management
The highest ranked recruit in the class, Cleveland is PrepVolleyball's No. 13 recruit in the nation, an AAU All-American and a three-time JVA All-National Team honoree. She spent part of her summer in Florida competing on the USA Junior A1 Training Team and has led her high school to two regional championships and one sectional championship. Through her freshman, sophomore seasons she was a two-time all-conference recipient and was awarded First Team All-Area as a junior.
What They're Saying:
Dave Shondell: "Long and lanky, Grace brings an excellent skill-set and middle-blocker physique to our front line. At 6'3 with frying pan hands, Grace has unique vision that allows her to find openings on the court. She hits with power and range. Her biggest strength is her natural blocking skills. Humble, selfless, and motivated, Grace is a sure-thing to achieve greatness."
Grace Cleveland: "I am beyond excited to be a part of such a great program that competes day in and day out. When I visited Purdue for the first time, I looked around and saw the pride and love everyone has for the university. That made it an easy decision to make Purdue my future home. I feel the Purdue volleyball program, with its great coaches and resources, will help me develop and grow as a player."
Name: Marissa "Moe" Hornung
Position: Defensive Specialist
Hometown: New Albany, Indiana
High School: Providence
Graduating as Providence's all-time kills leader, Hornung has left her mark high school level as she has led her team to three consecutive state titles. The championship her sophomore season declared Providence as one of two schools to win states in two different classes while setting a school record with 37 wins and just three losses. She finishes high school with 1,522 kills, 3.6 kills per set and a .439 hitting percentage while also registering 1,331 aces, 207 blocks and 1,347 digs.
She's a three-time all-state honoree while also earning the reputation as a top-100 recruit in the nation by PrepVolleyball in each of the last four seasons. She was named to PrepVolleyball's Defensive Dandies List as well following her senior season. Following her sophomore season, the Journal and Courier named her Volleyball and Female Player of the Year while also garnering honors as a MaxPrep All-American. PrepVolleyball named her National Sophomore Player of the Year and prior to her junior season, USA Today named her to the USA Preseason Volleyball All-American Team. She went on to be a nominee for the News and Tribune Area Player of the Year as well as Gatorade Player of the Year after she broke the single-season kills record with 484 while also registering the second most digs in a single season with 492.
What They're Saying:
Dave Shondell: "Marissa may be the best ball-control player and competitor in this entire class. `Moe' will grab the attention of our Boiler Nation on first glance. Moe won't settle for anything less than exceptional. At 5'7 with an explosive first step, this dynamo will cover as much ground as any Boilermaker in the back 20 feet. Moe's biggest strength is her knowledge of the game and her desire to win."
Marissa Hornung: "There are no words to describe how excited, humbled, and blessed I feel to be able to play volleyball at Purdue University. I am confident that while attending, I will grow in my relationships with my coaches, fellow teammates, and classmates. I will be challenged academically to prepare me for my future, and I will learn to appreciate what it truly means to be a Boilermaker."
"I chose Purdue because it shares many of the same characteristics and values that were instilled in me while I played volleyball at Providence High School. Some of these include: Dedication from our phenomenal fans and PHS support system, a head coach and assistants who build lifelong relationships with me and help to cultivate a tradition of winning, and a certain culture that demonstrates how a volleyball player should always carry themselves. This is evident with a winning tradition from their past and present players are all great role models personalizing these characteristics and values. Finally, I'm more than excited to carry on these values and characteristics with my fellow recruiting classmates. Boiler Up!"
Name: Jael Johnson
Position: Middle Blocker
Hometown: Mooresville, Indiana
High School: Avon
Club: Circle City
A four-time sectional and regional champion, Johnson has been ranked a top 100 recruit in each of her four years of high school. She most recently led Avon high school to a state title over the weekend.
What They're Saying:
Dave Shondell: "Jael just led her Avon Oriole's to Indiana's big school championship. Extremely positive and a true encourager of others, Jael is a broad-shouldered natural blocker with offensive fire-power. Jael gets off the floor and attacks the ball fast. The top middle in the Boilermaker state, Jael has considerable room for growth and has terrific visual sequencing with her blocking. Her high energy will fuel our team's spirit."
Jael Johnson: "Purdue has that home atmosphere that I think everyone longs to find in their University. When I visited, I could really envision myself being a part of such a family. The campus is beautiful, the coaches care not only for my being as a player, but how I am off of the court too and that means a lot to me. I'm really happy I chose to be a boiler!"
Name: Garrett Joiner
Position: Outside Hitter
Hometown: Brentwood, Tennessee
High School: Brentwood
Winning is not a foreign concept for any of the incoming freshman but Joiner has led her high school to an astonishing 200-14 record with four Tennessee 6AAA State Championships. She's ranked as PrepVolleyball's 93rd Senior Ace and has been honored on the AVCA Phenom List each of the last three seasons.
She's been nationally recognized since her freshman year when MaxPreps honored her as a Freshman of the Year finalist after she torched opponents for 529 kills and a .342 hitting percentage with 72 blocks, 72 digs and 10 aces. Since, she has been named to MaxPreps' Underclassmen All-American team each of the last three seasons. PrepVolleyball also gave her All-America honors following her junior season. With 1,587 kills, 226 blocks, 555 digs and 190 service aces at the high school level over the last three years, she is three-time all-district, two-time all-midstate and two-time all-state recipient. Her sophomore season she was named Williamson County Volleyball Player of the Year and Female Athlete of the Year. She was a Gatorade Player of the Year Finalist as a sophomore and as a junior.
What They're Saying:
Dave Shondell: "A multi-dimensional player, Garrett can play on either pin and has the talent and mentality to develop into a six-rotation player. Garrett has developed a variety of offensive shots and brings Big Ten size to the outside hitting position. The best part of Garrett is her intensity and desire to be outstanding. I know Garrett will be in Holloway Gym daily - working on the skills that will make her a key player for the Boilermakers."
Garrett Joiner: "I chose Purdue because of their wonderful academic reputation, Dave Shondell and the rest of their highly respected coaching staff, a team and recruits that are people i want to play with and be around, and for the ability to compete with and against the best competition in the country."