Ruona to sign with Baker
Baldwin High School's Kyle Ruona is following his former teammate, Micah Mason, by signing a letter of intent to play football at Baker University.
Last season, Mason was a Kansas Shrine Bowl selection from BHS that signed with Baker. Ruona looks to follow in his footsteps, as he was selected to the Shrine Bowl and will sign his letter of intent with Baker at 10 a.m. today in the BHS cafeteria.
"I am just real happy for him," BHS coach Mike Berg said of Ruona. "I am happy for Baker, too, because this is two years in a row they are going to get two quality young men and two good football players."
Ruona said it was nice that Mason is at Baker, because he will enjoy playing with him again.
"It did add to it that Micah is there," Ruona said. "I would always love to play with Micah. It will be fun to do it again."
Berg, a Baker alumnus, said he likes seeing his players stay in town to continue playing football.
"I want to have a direct pipeline from Baldwin to Baker," Berg said. "It's close to home, so I can watch the guys play. And it's a great program."
Baker head football coach Mike Grossner said he enjoys getting Baldwin High players.
"Kudos to Mike Berg," Grossner said. "We'd like to have those Baldwin City guys. There's not going to be any homesickness."
Ruona was recruited by a few local colleges, including Benedictine College, Emporia State University and Washburn University.
Ruona said that he just received a letter from Benedictine saying the Ravens wanted him to play there after he verbally committed to Baker. He also said ESU and Washburn coaches asked him to walk-on. But he decided to play at Baker on Monday, after finding out what ESU wanted from him.
"I like the coaches at most of the schools that I visited, but everything added up right at Baker," Ruona said. "They just had the best to offer all-around."
Grossner said they really started recruiting Ruona hard once the Bulldogs reached the playoffs this season. But he also said he was watching him all season, because recruiting lasts all year.
"We got out and identified who we wanted and, of course, Kyle was one, being the local guy," Grossner said. "Then we watched him play all year. As soon as the season was over, we were trying to sign him."
Grossner said they recruited Ruona fairly hard, especially since he was a local athlete.
"We went after him fairly hard," Grossner said. "I think he has a chance to play here, no doubt. He's a nice big, strong kid who moves fairly well for his size. We're not going to let a guy like that leave the city, if we can."
Berg said Ruona will be a good fit for Baker, because he can be coached and works hard.
"He has a good work ethic and is very coachable," Berg said. "They will find a spot for him."
Ruona said he will enjoy playing for the Baldwin City fans again at Baker.
"It will be nice having the hometown crowd cheering for me," Ruona said.
Ruona is one of 15 athletes that has committed to play football at Baker next season.