Baker football coach signs 45
With "98 percent" of his recruiting completed, Baker University football coach John Frangoulis is pleased with the 45 newcomers expected when practice starts in August.
Headlining this year's recruiting class are seven skill position standouts, which is an area Frangoulis and his staff concentrated on during recruiting.
"Overall, we're pleased with them," Frangoulis said of all 45. "Of course you don't know that for a while. We feel like we've signed better wide receivers and running backs. The skill people are better than we've had. We feel like we've signed a couple of premier running backs and wide receivers."
At the top of that list is Seth Williams, a 5-foot-11, 200-pound running back from Grain Valley, Mo.
"He's an outstanding football player -- one of the best in the Kansas City area," he said.
The other top running backs is Frank Owens, a 6-0, 195 pounder from Tyler Street Christian. The wide out that Frangoulis pointed to is Chris Horton, 6-2, 195, and also from Tyler Street Christian. There were also a couple of quarterbacks signed in Tanner Purdum (6-2, 200, Ava, Mo.) and Chris Cavanah (6-1, 190, Highland Community College).
Frangoulis also was especially pleased with the signing of defensive back David Daniels, 5-10, 170, from San Bernadino, Calif., Community College, and punter/place kicker Karl Halamicek, 6-5, 210, from Victor Valley. Halamicek is expected to keep one of Baker's long-standing traditions alive.
"We have had good punters, most recently Bryan Williams from Baldwin, for years," he said, adding that the last three all-conference punters have been from Baker. "We feel potentially this kid is as good as any of them."
Frangoulis was also happy to get a couple of high-quality linemen. Ryan Gardner at 6-2, 280 from Chillicothe, Mo., and Andrew Richardson, 6-4, 300 from Butte Community College, certainly fill the bill, along with several others.
"Usually, the toughest thing to get is offensive and defensive linemen," he said. "Here it's difficult with the academic situation. We have to recruit the 'B' student and everyone goes after them. We feel like we've got a couple of good freshmen linemen coming in."
The 45 newcomers will join with the 70 expected to return from last year's team. Both those figures are good signs for the program, he said.
"It's a solid class and I really feel that," Frangoulis said of the signees. "We didn't anticipate signing that many, but one thing leads to another. We've got several coaches on the staff who are good recruiters. You recruit until you run out of helmets and we're about five away from that number.
"There is interest in coming here," he said. "In the last few years we've had good retention in the program. That's how you win."
He also pointed to the team's recent trip to Germany as a reason for success. There were 30 players and a total group of 45 that went to Germany earlier this month to tour and play football. They spent eight days there and beat a Munich team to make the trip complete.
"It's something that our players had a great time doing," Frangoulis said of the trip. "It was an outstanding experience for all of us. The players pay their own way. The only problem you have is you have players playing different positions. You don't have your entire team. It's an opportunity to get some players in different positions.
"It helps build the closeness of a football team and, as a coach, that is very important," he said. "You're the outsiders over there and that helps the team bond together. We plan on doing that every two or three years so each class has the opportunity to do something like that."