The 10th and 11th signees of the year for the Tennessee Temple University men's soccer team were not afterthoughts. They were, in fact, among the top targets for coach Kenrick Liburd.
Signing Friday at Temple were striker Ezequiel Nunez and 6-foot-1, 210-pound defender Osciel Fabela from the Southeast Whitfield High School team that lost in the Georgia Class AAA state semifinals to St. Pius X, one of the top-ranked teams in the nation. Southeast went 21-2, and Nunez led the Raiders with 15 goals, including the game-winner in the region final.
"We wanted to bring in winners, and these two are proven winners," Liburd said. "We lost our right back from last year, and that's Osciel's natural position. He's strong, he's physical and he has a good soccer IQ. His movement's good; his positioning's good.
"Ezequiel is a dangerous goal scorer. He has a discipline and tenacity up top; he never stops working. He scores well with his head, he has good footwork and he's very patient and persistent."
Southeast coach Jamison Griffin called Nunez a "Tasmanian devil" in energy and "a great defensive-minded offensive player. He does a lot of things off the ball that creates opportunities, and he has really worked on his touch in the last year."
Nunez also has "very good" academic credentials and leadership skills, Griffin said.
Fabela started some as a Raiders junior and owned a spot as a senior.
"His size is great -- he cut some weight and added some muscle mass -- and he's a lot more agile than he used to be," Griffin said. "On set pieces he's great. He has a very good throw-in, and he's really improved in the air."