Baker football inks record recruiting class
With football season just around the corner, Baker University football coach John Frangoulis has just put the finishing touches on the largest group of newcomers both incoming freshmen and transfers since he took over the program five years ago.
Numbers are always good and this year's freshmen class is 37 and there are another eight transfers for a total of 45. That's great, Frangoulis says, but he's not going out on a limb to call it his best-ever recruiting class.
"This is the largest freshmen class we've signed since this year's seniors were freshmen," said Frangoulis. "Last year we had a total of 93 players on the team and this year we anticipate 100 to 109. We always try to keep our numbers around 100 because of our junior varsity schedule.
"We have a good crop coming in and feel good about it," he said. "It's hard to say what you've got coming in. I can reflect back to last year's freshman class. We thought we had some standouts, but thought the class was average overall before they reported. But, as it turned out, it was a very good class."
Baker only lost eight players to graduation, but had lost some others for various reasons. During the off-season workouts, there were 70 to 74 players taking part. It's impossible to know how many of those will show up in August for drills and that's why the big class of recruits is important.
"You anticipate losing some," he said. "Hopefully, they'll all come back."
As for pressing needs at certain positions, Frangoulis didn't feel there were any. But, as always, he did try to secure as many of the big guys in the trenches as possible.
"I think the thing you always try to recruit because there is always a shortage is offensive and defensive linemen," he said. "I don't think you ever fulfill all your needs. Generally you have to move guys to those positions."
Of the 45 newcomers, 11 are linemen. Throw in linebackers to that mix and the number jumps to 20. Of course, there's another key to success that was addressed, too.
"We have two good freshmen quarterbacks coming in," said Frangoulis. "Our other two quarterbacks are seniors this year."
The quarterbacks are Martin Updike, from Muskogee, Okla., and David Wolf, from Chillicothe, Mo. Signees from close to home are Baldwin High School's Zach Good, a running back or defensive back, and Lawrence Free State's Conner Treanor, an offensive or defensive lineman.
Those four and the other 41 all have good football pedigrees, he said. Where they'll play is anyone's guess.
"With what they've accomplished, we're excited about this class," said Frangoulis. "When we recruit a player, most of them have played both ways in high school. We give the players the opportunity to play which ever side of the ball they want to."
The players are scheduled to report Aug. 16 for check in. The first practice is slated for Aug. 17. First game of the season, a road contest at Southwestern, is Sept. 9. Baker's home opener is Sept. 16 against Lindenwood.
Frangoulis, like all football coaches, is ready for it to get started.
"We have a great group of kids who like to play football," he said. "They're very enthusiastic and get along well. We made the trip to France for a game and that brought them even closer.
"We've got an outstanding group of seniors for leadership and that's what you have to have," he said. "I'm always optimistic and I think we have a chance to have a good football team. We came close to making the playoffs last year."
Other members of the incoming class, their home town and position are: Jeffrey Albertson, Kiefer, Okla., wide receiver (WR); Lynn Bailey, Rosehill, Mo., defensive end (DE); Karl Barron, Kansas City, Mo., linebacker (LB); Justin Bowers, Arlington, Texas, WR; Michael Brenana, Topeka, punter/kicker (PK); Josh Clanton, Council Bluffs, Iowa, running back (RB)/defensive back (DB) William Dower, Denton, Texas, defensive line (DL); Mike Drozo, El Campo, Texas, RB; Mark Foland, Topeka, LB; Lee Frazier, Dodge City, tight end (TE)/LB; Tim Gilchrist, Kansas City, Mo., LB; Chris Graham, Wichita, offensive line (OL); Cordell Horn, Kansas City, Mo., LB; Brandon Johnson, Garland, Texas, fullback (FB);
Joe Jrolf, Kansas City, Mo., DB; Oliver Kurtz, Olathe, LB; John Langford, Gilmer, Texas, OL; Pat McCollim, Abilene, quarterback/DB; Benjamin McMahan, Clay Center, DE; Lucas Parker, Estes Park, Colo., DE; James Reyes, Kansas City, Mo., DE; Jerod Rigdon, Caney, LB; John Robins, Caney, TE; Brad Sage, Raymore, Mo., DL; Jarrod Scott, Quenemo, RB; Matthew Sexson, Topeka, DE; Dan Simpson, Rovia, Calif., FB; Jarrod Steffens, Scott City, LB; Ryan Stewart, Tulsa, Okla., PK; Colt Stubblefield, Broken Arrow, Okla., LB; Chad Thompson, Topeka, DE; Byron Wilson, Wakarusa, free safety.