Baker football program inks 34 high school recruits
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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