Archive for Thursday, February 10, 2011

Baker football program inks 34 high school recruits

February 10, 2011

Mike Grossner and his Baker University football coaching staff announced the signing of 34 athletes for the 2011-2012 season.

While none of the players have put on the black and orange uniforms, Grossner and his staff believe it might be their best class ever.

“I had two more guys sign with us that night,” Grossner said. “Normally, I get really excited about the class and make all of the statements, but I let the coaches do that this year. We had 19 early signings, which is rare. We solidified that. We’d have 32 signings a day or two before signing day and then we had two more on signing day.

“Our coaches labeled it as possibly our best class since we’ve been there. We won’t know until it all pans out, but athletically, academically, character of the kids and our needs — this class fills all of that.”

Twenty of the signees attend high schools within two hours of the Baldwin City campus. There are six athletes from Lawrence and one from Baldwin High School.

BHS senior Jesse Austin, 6-foot-5, 305-pound offensive lineman, was one of many recruits to sign early with Baker.

“As far as talent, he’s got a monster upside,” Grossner said. “We expect great things from him. We’re going to try and play him at tackle. I think his whole thing will be picking up the schemes and getting stronger. He’s big enough, but we need him to get a bit stronger.”

One of the players, TJ Haltrop, a 6-3, 215-pound tight end out of Phoenix, Ariz., has a connection to Grossner. Haltrop’s parents graduated high school with Grossner and his dad was a teammate of Grossner’s on their high school football team.

There are other Baker connections in this signing class. De Soto’s Logan DeGraeve’s brother, Austin, finished his senior season this fall at Baker.

Bryan Williams, a punter out of Pinetop, Ariz., has family ties to the school.

“His dad played here, and his mom went to school here,” Grossner said. “His sister plays softball here right now.”

A couple of other players might make an immediate impact next fall for Baker. They include Corey Bailey, 6-2, 195-pound wide receiver out of Camden, Ark., Dylan Perry, a 6-0, 175-pound wide receiver from Lawrence, and Deron Bruce, a 6-4, 227-pound linebacker from Olathe. Bailey is a transfer from Missouri State, and he played there with Baker’s quarterback Jake Morse. Perry was a quarterback at Free State High, but will play wide receiver for the Wildcats. Bruce is a transfer from Kansas University. He played two years at Coffeyville Community College and will have two years of eligibility at Baker.

Another player that grabbed Grossne’r attention was Nicholas Wolfe, a 6-0, 225-pound fullback from Noel, Mo.

“He’s a small-town, Missouri kid,” Grossner said. “I haven’t seen someone run the ball as hard as him since Micah (Mason). This kid will run you over. That’s what stood out to me. He brought back some memories.”

Here’s a look at the players:

Jesse Austin, Baldwin City, OL , 6’5, 305

Corey Bailey, Camden, Ark., WR , 6’2 , 195

Garrett Berger, Tulsa, Okla., LB , 5’10 , 180

Deron Bruce, Olathe, LB , 6’4 , 227

Trent Callender, Wamego, FB , 5’9 , 205

Tanner Clark, Holton, OL , 6’1 , 243

Logan DeGraeve, De Soto,WR , 6’0 , 175

Ryan Good, Amsterdam, Mo., ATH , 6’1 , 190

Dominique Haskett, Red Oak, Texas, LB , 6’1 , 230

Jake Heller, Lenexa, QB , 6’1 , 280

TJ Holtrop, Phoenix, Ariz. , TE , 6’3 , 215

Austin Hooten, Kansas City, Mo., DL , 6’2 , 225

Ethan Johnson, Garden City, Mo., DL , 6’0 , 200

Caleb Lee, Putnam City, Okla., QB , 5’11 , 175

Justin McCandless, Lawrence, OL , 6’3 , 280

Taylor McDonald, Adrian, Mo., LB , 6’0 , 230

Gunnar McKenna, Holton, DB , 5’8 , 180

Bradford Nelson, Kansas City, Mo., WR , , 6’3 , 175

Cale Nieder, Lawrence, OL , 6’1 , 235

Andrew Parish, Chanute, K , 5’10 , 170

Dylan Perry, Lawrence, WR , 6’0 , 175

Spencer Polen, Carrollton, Mo., OL , 6’3 , 240

Travis Ray, Peculiar, Mo., DL , 6’0 , 275

Joe Riordan, Lawrence, LB , 5’11 , 220

Colter Schacher, Harrisonville, Mo., DE , 6’2 , 220

Preston Schneck, Lawrence, DB/RB , 5’11 , 185

Cy Stallard, Cleveland, Okla., WR , 5’11 , 180

Taylor Stuart, Lawrence, TE , 6’1 , 220

Sam Todd, Olathe, LB , 5’9 , 200

Alen Troyer , Garnett, RB , 5’10 , 185

Bryan Williams, Pinetop, Ariz., P/QB , 6’3 , 195

Cedric Williams, Grandview, Mo., DB , 5’9 , 150

Christopher Witcig , Kansas City, Mo., ATH , 6’2 , 180

Nicholas Wolfe , Noel, Mo., FB , 6’0 , 225

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