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National signing day brings fresh talent to teams

Feb. 8, 2001

Football gets 23 'big' recruits

7 lineman bring Bears bulk, height


Sports writer

'Bigger is better' seems to be the theme for the 23 of Baylor's 2001 football signees. Seven new linemen pack more than 300 pounds and all tower above the 6-foot-4-inch mark.

'We didn't just put our hands over our faces and get the biggest guys possible,' head Coach Kevin Steele said. 'We got big guys who can move their feet to make a core line. Physics takes over on the field and we needed bigger guys.'

Next year's line will get a face-lift with six giants taking offensive spots and five filling defensive roles.

'We felt we needed help in our offensive and defensive lines,' Steele said. 'We've got talent there, but we needed help there. [Last season] we had guys beat us because they were so huge. Not because they were top NFL picks, but because of their size.'

On the offensive side, two picks for quarterback, Ryan Jeffrey from Lorena, and Davon Vinson from Kilgore, earned rankings among the nation's top 100 prep quarterbacks by

Jeffrey, 6 feet 4 inches tall and 185 pounds, has a long history of Baylor football in his blood.

His father, Jay, led the Bears at the quarterback spot to the 1980 Southwest Conference Championship. Jeffrey's uncle, Neal, started at quarterback on Baylor's 1974 'Miracle on the Brazos' SWC title club.

Jeffrey has drawn Baylor's recognition in his own right by earning All-district quarterback as a senior and passing for more than 1,000 yards and running for another 258 as a junior.

Vinson, 6 foot 4 inches and 208 pounds, also has a long list of honors, including senior district Most Valuable Player, all-East Texas, honorable mention all-state and named among the state's top 100 prospects by the Waco Tribune-Herald and the Dallas Morning News.

Their best asset to bring to Baylor's team might be versatility.

'Jeffrey has a lot of athleticism and speed,' Steele said. 'Vincent is a big guy with a lot of athleticism who can run and throw the ball. Both could play at another position if necessary.'

Steele sang the praises of the two running back recruits Eron Haynes (6 feet 1 inch and 185 pounds from Borger) and Anthony Kreig (6 feet 1 inch and 210 pounds from Pflugerville).

'Haynes has good speed and tremendous vision,' Steele said. 'He has a shiftiness and burst in his running style that is unique.

'Kreig is a power type of guy that fools you with his speed. He can catch well too.'

As for the fate of Baylor's returning players, Steele will rely on the 'survival of the fittest' philosophy.

'We've talked about it openly

with the team and I think the best teams are open and accepting of competition,' Steele said. 'If the chemistry of the team is right, it creates a healthy competitive nature.'

For more information about the recruits, go to the Baylor athletic Web site

Soccer signs 7 new players

Speed, goalkeeper sought for season



Head women's soccer coach Nick Cowell signed seven new players for the coming season Wednesday.

'Our main needs from this recruiting class are speed, left-footed attackers and a goalkeeper,' Cowell said 'With this class we have taken care of those problems.'

Hilary Aylesworth is a midfielder from Xavier College Preparatory School in Phoenix. In Arizona she played for the same club as current Baylor soccer player Katie Peterson. 'Aylesworth is an aggressive goalscorer from the midfield -- a threat from the midfield was needed,' Cowell said.

Tiffany Boshers is expected to strengthen the left side for the Bears. The left footer is from Algonquin, Ill., where she was named preseason player of the year. She was also named to the all-conference, all-sectional and all-area teams.

Megan Briscoe from Poway, Calif., has played every position on a soccer field. Her club team SURF won the 2000 Club National Championships and were runner-up in '99.

Sarah Dearing played four years varsity soccer at Cy-Fair High School in Cypress. Dearing was district MVP and was named to the all-conference and all-greater Houston first team, and as a sophomore broke school records for goals, assists and hat tricks.

Melanie Pannell from San Marcos, will be one of few working for the goalkeeper spot left open by Dawn Greathouse being drafted to the WUSA. Pannell played for San Marcos High School, where her honors included first team all-district, first team all-region, team MVP and team most outstanding player.

'The star of the class is Ginny Rosario-Tull,' Cowell said.

Tull is from Mansfield where she played four years of varsity soccer at Mansfield High School. She was named newcomer of the year and first team all-district.

'Tull is superfast and extremely skillful, she will be a great addition to our attack,' Cowell said.

Lori Viggiano is from Plano where she played outside midfielder for Plano West Senior High School and her club team Spirit '83. Viggiano was also a member of the North Texas Olympic Development Program.

The Baylor soccer team finished fourth in the Big 12 conference for the 2000 season. The Bears lost to No.3 ranked Nebraska in the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament and narrowly missed their third straight selection to the NCAA tournament.

Cowell believes that his new signees will be the key for another successful season.

'We have 18 who can play and that's what you need at this level,' Cowell said