UT Volleyball Announces 2014 Signing Class

Jan. 22, 2014

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - A quartet of the nation's top recruits will join the University of Tennessee volleyball program for the 2014 campaign, Lady Vol Head Coach Rob Patrick announced.

Outside hitter Kelsey Bawcombe, middle blocker Iesha Bryant, defensive specialist Claudia Coco and outside hitter Kanisha Jimenez Santiago have all signed National Letters of Intent to join the Big Orange next season.

"The 2014 Tennessee volleyball class is one that fills many needs for us and provides us with experienced depth that we were lacking this past season," Patrick said. "All the players coming in have played volleyball on very successful high school and club teams during their scholastic careers and we always love bringing winners into our program. They will add physicality and a high level of volleyball experience, as well as some great ball control techniques that will allow us to play at a higher and more consistent level this coming year."

Coco graduated high school in December 2013, and enrolled in classes at Tennessee for the Spring 2014 semester.

For more information about Tennessee volleyball, follow @LadyVol_Vball on Twitter or visit UTSports.com/volleyball. You can also `like' the team on Facebook at www.facebook.com/utvolleyball.

2014 Tennessee Volleyball Signees
PlayerPos.Ht.Hometown (School)
Kelsey BawcombeOH6-2Temecula, Calif. (Temecula Valley HS)
Iesha BryantMB6-1Carthage, Texas (Carthage HS)
Claudia CocoDS5-4Johns Creek, Ga. (Chattahoochee HS)
Kanisha Jimenez SantiagoOH6-1Bayamon, Puerto Rico (Disciples of Christ HS)

Kelsey Bawcombe, OH (Temecula, Calif.)

Temecula, Calif., native Kelsey Bawcombe is a 6-foot-2 outside hitter who comes from the thriving Southern California volleyball scene. Bawcombe was named to the Southwestern League First Team after leading the Temecula Valley Bears this past season. After beginning her volleyball career at libero, Bawcombe switched to outside hitter after hitting a growth spurt. Bawcombe was named to 2013 Prep Volleyball's Senior Aces. As part of the 951 Elite Club Volleyball Team, Bawcombe competed at the Junior Olympics twice, earning a bronze medal and fifth-place finish.

Patrick on Bawcombe: "Kelsey is a 6-2 outside hitter from Southern California. She plays on one of the top Southern California club teams, 951 Elite. She is someone who is going to come in and be one of our best six rotation skill players. She's one of the top hitters in the California Interscholastic Federation, and she's has great back court skills as she used to be a libero earlier in her career before she hit a growth spurt. We're excited about having someone coming in with her type of ball control, not just in her passing and defense, but also the type of things she will be able to do in the front row hitting the ball. Because of her high skill level, she'll be able to attack the ball in a lot of different areas to be effective at the college level."

Iesha Bryant, MB (Carthage, Texas)

Hailing from Carthage, Texas, Iesha Bryant is a 6-foot-1 middle blocker who was named 2013 District 20-3A Overall Most Valuable Player after leading the Carthage Bulldogs to the District Championship title and a school record 33 wins. Bryant closed out her senior campaign with 481 kills and 103 blocks. Bryant earned Texas Sports Writers Association All-State Second-Team honors, as well as Texas Girls Coaches Association All-State First Team accolades.

Patrick on Bryant: "Iesha is a 6-foot-1 middle blocker from Texas who has a huge upside. She's already a great athlete and volleyball player, but her potential is limitless. She'll be able to come in and provide a physicality on the net for our team. She's very explosive off the ground. She's able to run in front and behind the hitter very effectively. Once she gets comfortable with the speed of the game, she's really going to have an impact on the court as she is able to stretch defenses out because she can attack almost antennae to antennae."

Claudia Coco, DS (Johns Creek, Ga.)

A 5-foot-4 defensive specialist out of Johns Creek, Ga., Claudia Coco set a state and national record for career digs as she amassed 2,754 career scoops during her high school tenure at Chattahoochee High. She earned 2013 AVCA Under Armour All-American Honorable Mention accolades as well as 2013 American Family Insurance All-USA Volleyball Team honors. She guided the Cougars to the State Championship match in 2010 and 2013, as well as the State Final Four in 2011 and Elite Eight in 2012. Coco was named All-State in 2012 and 2013 and All-Area all four years of her high school career. Coco also was recognized as the 2013 Georgia Defensive Player of the Year and 2013 Georgia Senior All-Star. She's a three-time Prep Volleyball Defensive Dandie honoree (2010-12) and was named to Prep Volleyball's MEQ Dream Team Libero and Court Report Dream Team Libero. Coco graduated high school a semester early and enrolled in classes at Tennessee in January 2014.

Patrick on Coco: "I'm very excited about Claudia joining our program as she's a player who is homegrown in the Southeast playing for the very successful A5 volleyball program. She's one of the top liberos in the country as she broke the official Georgia all-time digs record and the unofficial national record. She's a tremendous defensive presence who will bring a great passion and competitiveness to our team. She is someone who will continue the great lineage of defensive players that Tennessee has had."

Kanisha Jimenez Santiago, OH (Bayamon, Puerto Rico)

Kanisha Jimenez Santiago will join Tennessee as one of the most internationally experienced players. The 6-foot-1 outside hitter is from Bayamon, Puerto Rico and has competed for the country's junior national and national teams, earning bronze medal honors at the Norcerca Continental Championship in 2013. She represented Puerto Rico at the U-20 World Cup last summer, and made her national team debut this past fall in the Grand Prix of the International Volleyball Federation. Jimenez led her high school team, Disciples of Christ, to three Copa Nuevo Dia championships, as well as a runner-up finish.

Patrick on Jimenez: "Kanisha is going to come in with maybe the most international, high-level volleyball experience of any recruit we've had in quite some time. She's a 6-1 outside hitter who has started for their junior national team and has trained and traveled with Puerto Rico's national team. She is going to be very comfortable with the physicality and speed of the game when she walks in the door here. We expect her to be able to have a big impact on our team very early because of that experience she brings in. She's somebody that can play on either pin on either the rightside or outside effectively. She will present a really physical presence at the net as a hitter and blocker, but she's also somebody that can be very prominent in the back row."





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