While transfer quarterback Michael O'Connor gained a lot of notoriety when he arrived at Baylor, the Red Raiders also added senior fullback/linebacker Jaylen Simmons, and he already has added a strong presence in the middle of the defense.
"He's a good athlete. We did not know how good he was until he arrived," Baylor coach Phil Massey said. "He'll be a pretty good player for us, and he's a great character kid."
The 5-foot-11, 225-pound Simmons previously played at Happy Valley High in Johnson City. As a Beta Club member, he was looking for an stiffer academic challenge, according to Massey.
Pioneers lose three
East Ridge reportedly lost three starters in its 14-10 loss to Walker Valley.
Running back Torrey Hughes, who ran 11 times for 122 yards, has severely bruised ribs and is expected to miss at least two weeks. Defensive back Tre Toran suffered a broken wrist (in two places) and had surgery Saturday morning. Tight end Brandon Cantrell will miss the Pioneers' game at Boyd-Buchanan Friday due to a concussion.
Phoenix seek change
The Georgia Prep Country Website released its preseason volleyball coaches' polls, but things could look a lot different -- at least in one classification -- when the next top 10 rankings are sent out.
Sonoraville (6-0) was not listed in the Class AAA poll, but over the weekend the Phoenix won North Murray's Spikefest, which included beating Class AAAA's seventh-ranked Heritage (6-2) in a semifinal.
Ringgold and Cartersville, Area 4 opponents of the Phoenix, are ranked Nos. 7 and 9 in the first poll.
"I told the girls about it," Sonoraville coach Nathan Smith said. "We are ranked in the Atlanta Journal Constitution poll, No. 4. They know us up here in the North Georgia area and some folks around Atlanta know who we are. We've beaten some ranked teams in the past, but we've never been ranked in the coaches' poll. I don't know why."
Southeast Whitfield (2-0) is the highest-ranked area team at No. 4 in Class AAAA. Calhoun is rated eighth in Class AA.
Soddy-Daisy graduate Rachel Shaughnessy, the Times Free Press Best of Preps volleyball player of the year last season, recently signed scholarship papers with Middle Tennessee State University. The 6-foot-1 middle blocker originally accepted an offer from Lee University but ended up changing her pledge this summer.
"In my 29 years as a collegiate coach, this is the most excited I've been about an incoming freshman class, not only about the number of kids but also the talent we have," MTSU coach Matt Peck said in an August news release at goblueraiders.com. "This is our tallest and most decorated class ever."
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