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Tech football inks seven on early National Signing Day

Tech football inks seven on early National Signing Day

By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- National Signing Day is always an important day for a football team as it helps shape the future of the program as the team addresses its needs. For Tennessee Tech, it is no exception as the Golden Eagles added some key pieces.

The seven players, spanning Tennessee and Georgia, as well as far away as Oklahoma, bring some depth to running back, offensive line, defensive line, linebacker and defensive end.

Wednesday's additions included:

Torin Baker (RB | 6-0 | 190 | Hendersonville HS | Hendersonville, Tenn.)

A skilled running back for the Commandos, Baker rolled up 1,300 all-purpose yards and 14 touchdowns this season as he earned all-region and co-MVP selections, while also being named to the first-team all-state roster.

Nick Nicodemus (OL | 6-6 | 290 | Cleveland HS | Cleveland, Tenn.)

A starting left tackle for the Cleveland program, Nicodemus was an all-county and all-region selection. An imposing presence, Nicodemus also excelled in wrestling, winning three state championships in the heavyweight class.

Keenan Vaughn (DE/OLB | 6-1 | 230 | Fulton HS | Knoxville, Tenn.)

A three-time all-region and twice named player of the week in the Knoxville area, Vaughn had a tremendous season, recording 54 tackles and a state-best 23.5 sacks in 2021. He also recovered four fumbles and deflected three passes.

Seth Vaughn (DL | 6-2 | 287 | Fulton HS | Knoxville, Tenn.)

Keenan's brother – and another in a set of triplets with their sister – has been an impressive force on the defensive front for the Falcons. In his senior campaign, he was named the region Defensive Player of the Year while recording 60 tackles, 12.5 sacks and two pass deflections. He has earned spots on the All-Knoxville Interscholastic League teams as well as nods from Five Star Preps on its year-end teams.

Jack Long (LB | 6-2 | 215 | Pawhuska HS | Pawhuska, Okla.)

Long's numbers were impressive on the defensive side, collecting 89 total tackles in 2021 with three forced fumbles and 27 QB hurries. For his career, he rolled up 445 tackles, 29 sacks – including an Oklahoma-best 20 as a sophomore – 11 forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries. He also impressed on offense, rushing for 523 yards and 11 touchdowns, while also catching 34 passes for 367 yards and four TDs. He also won a state track title in 2019 and was second in the 4x100 relay in 2021.

Elijah Ruiz (OL | 6-5 | 290 | Gainesville HS | Gainesville, Ga.)

A three-time all-region selection, as well as an all-state pick, Ruiz has been a standout up front for the Red Elephants. As a senior, his unit blocked well, producing an 11.3-yard-per-carry average. His numbers didn't stop there – under his watch, there were zero bad snaps and had two complete seasons with zero sacks allowed. A three-sport athlete, Ruiz also plays basketball and competes in track and field as a thrower.

Ethan McLaurin (DL | 6-3 | 245 | Oakland HS | Murfreesboro, Tenn.)
Playing for an Oakland squad that has won three TSSAA Class 6A state championships in the last four years, McLaurin was a force for the Patriots. This past season, he collected 74 total tackles, including 42 solo, while also recording 7.5 sacks and eight QB hurries. A first-team All-State selection for Class 6A, McLaurin recently appeared in the TACA East-West All-Star game – another honor to go with two all-area and two all-region selections.


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