MISSOULA — Montana football head coach Bobby Hauck 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 and Vinyard will both be redshirt juniors and have two seasons of eligibility remaining to play for the Griz.
Babros, a 6-foot-4, 250-pound defensive end from Mission Viejo, California, joins the Grizzlies after one season with the Wolfpack and two seasons at Saddleback Junior College.
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, all in 2017.
A three-star prospect, Babros heads to UM following one season under former Grizzly assistant and current NC State head coach Dave Doeren. 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 JC prospect nationally by 247sports.com, the No. 5 JC 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," Hauck said. "All those coaches are people we know very well, and they think he can be an impact player for us.
"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 appeared in three games at Washington State, posting a sack 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," Hauck said. "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."
Vinyard was also a track standout at Helix, posting a 100-meter dash time of 10.9 seconds.
The pair have accepted scholarships from UM and will be in Missoula for summer workouts with the team. The Griz returned to campus this week to begin the team's summer lifting program.