Grossner grabs 40 signatures

While thousands of athletes signed letters of intent to their respective colleges on Feb. 7, Baker University's football team signed 40 of its own for the 2007 season.

After two seasons of large recruiting classes, head coach Mike Grossner said the football staff was aiming for a smaller number for next season, but it couldn't say no to some of the new athletes wanting to come to Baker.

"We didn't plan on such a big class because we already have 76 (players) on campus right now," Grossner said. "I like to keep the numbers around 99."

Most of the signees plan to come to Baker in the fall, but five have already moved on campus and will be participating in spring ball and offseason workouts with the current squad. Two of these signees include brothers Tyrell Spain and Marcus Nolan.

Spain, originally from San Diego, played for the University of Nebraska during the 2006 season. He said he decided to transfer to Baker after his brother decided he would transfer from Graceland University.

"When I decided to transfer from University of Nebraska, I had been communicating with my brother who had been talking to Grossner and some of the guys on the team," Spain said. "We decided it would be fun to play together again."

Grossner said he finds a lot of his out-of-state recruits through his current players who continue speaking to former teammates from home.

"Future recruits look at our roster and think, 'If he can do it, I can do it. If they can handle moving to Kansas, so can I.' Once they get here they love it."

For Grossner, recruiting from a high school or junior college depends on the needs in a certain position.

"If I feel like we're good in a certain position, we're not going to bring in transfers or junior college transfers," Grossner said. "Most of the time, junior college players come in as a starter or a backup. If we don't feel like they can be that type of player, then we don't recruit them because we feel it's a disservice to them as well as the guys that are already here."

Junior Micah Mason said there are always mixed feelings from the returning players about transfers coming into the program.

"One, you are nervous that you might lose your spot," Mason said. "Two, you have feelings they might be able to do a lot for the team and take us to the national championship."

Even though Grossner has a lot of new freshmen coming in, Mason said having junior college transfers come to Baker has many advantages.

"They know what the college level is about," Mason said, "the speed of the game, the hitting, and they can use that to their advantage. But one of the disadvantages is that they don't know very many of the players, which affects team chemistry."

Spain said he hopes he can help Baker's football program turn around after going 4-6 last season.

"I just want to help the team win games and help get Baker back on top of the conference," Spain said. "I'm not there to come in and stand out, but I just want to help the team get respected in the conference. I just want to be an impact, and as a team we can do really well."

Grossner said he's still expecting to sign a few more players after the spring season is over.Once they get here they love it."

Junior Micah Mason said there are always mixed feelings from the returning players about transfers coming into the program.

"One, you are nervous that you might lose your spot," Mason said. "Two, you have feelings they might be able to do a lot for the team and take us to the national championship."

Spain said he hopes he can help Baker's football program turn around after going 4-6 last season.

"I'm not there to come in and stand out, but I just want to help the team get respected in the conference," he said. "I just want to be an impact, and as a team we can do really well."

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