(Editor’s note: Story by Montana Sports Information)
MISSOULA — Montana football head coach Bobby Hauck has added size, speed, and experience to the Grizzlies’ defensive unit with the addition of transfers Joe Babros from North Carolina State and Mason Vinyard from Washington State.
Babros, a 6-4, 250-pound defensive end joins the Griz after one season with the Wolfpack and two seasons at Saddleback Junior College, where he was one of the top prospects in the country.
Vinyard, a 6-5, 230-pound rush linebacker from El Cajon, California, comes to Missoula following three years in Pullman where he appeared in three games for the Cougars.
A three-star prospect, Babros comes to UM following one season under former Grizzly assistant and current NC State head coach Dave Doran. Before that, he totaled 42 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks in 16 games at Saddleback, helping the Gauchos reach the SoCal Semifinals with an 8-3 2017 record. He also returned a fumble 46 yards for a touchdown.
Before heading to NC State, he was ranked the No. 57 overall JuCo prospect nationally by 247sports.com, the No. 5 JuCo strongside defensive end nationally, and the overall No. 9 prospect in the state of California.
“Joe comes highly recommended by his last three coaching staffs at the high school level, his junior college, and at NC State. All those coaches are people we know very well, and they think he can be an impact player for us,” said Hauck.
“Joe’s got a big frame, he’s got good speed, he should have the ability to get to the quarterback, and he’s shown terrific pass rushing ability.”
In addition to NC State, Babros had offers to play at Iowa State, North Texas, Colorado State and Nevada coming out of junior college.
Vinyard, a native of El Cajon, California, appeared in three games at Washington State, posting a tackle against Oregon State as a redshirt freshman.
A two-way player and three-star prospect, Vinyard earned first-team All-East County honors and helped Helix High School to a San Diego section title. He posted 27 tackles, 5.5 sacks, four fumble recoveries, and one forced fumble. But on the offensive side of the ball, he was rated the No. 25 tight end prospect nationally by ESPN, the No. 4 tight end in California by Scout, and the No. 9 overall prospect in California by Rivals.
“Mason is a young man I’ve known since high school in San Diego. He’s a quality guy. He’s got a great frame, he’s got great speed and has a tremendous upside. We’re hoping he can come in and make a difference for us,” said Hauck.
Vinyard was also a track standout at Helix, posting a 100 meter dash time of 10.9 seconds.
The pair have accepted scholarships at UM and will be in Missoula for summer workouts with the team. Both are listed as redshirt juniors, and will each have two seasons of eligibility remaining to play for the Grizzlies.
The Griz returned to campus this week to begin the team’s summer lifting program.
The 2019 season opens on August 31 when Montana travels to Vermillion, South Dakota to face the USD Coyotes before returning to Missoula for the home opener against North Alabama on September 7.