Showing posts from July, 2018

Position Preview: Safety

(Photo by Abby Fullenkamp)

Today we are focusing on the safety position.  The safeties are coached by Brian Bergstrom who is in his second year with the Jacks.  Bergstrom previously was the defensive coordinator for the Augustana Vikings.  The safety position loses multi-year starters in Chris Balster and Nick Farina, but returns three players who have big game experience.  The loss of Balster and Farina is big and the Jacks will have to account for 133 tackles from last season and a ton of leadership. Bergstrom credits Balster and Farina as not just great players but also great teachers.  He also shared that 7 of the 9 guys in the room could start and all could play significantly throughout the year.  It will really depend on how fall camp shakes out but there are no "slam dunks" to replace the graduated players.

#37 Larenzo Williams (6-1, 195) put himself in position to make impact plays in 2017 leading the team with four interceptions.  The junior has played a lot in t…

Position Preview: Cornerbacks

(Photo by Larry Sellers)
This blog will be part one of our position preview series.  Each blog will look at one position group on the team and give a preview for what Jackrabbit fans can expect this year and who they will be cheering for.  Part of the joy of college football is learning about the players and tracking their progress as they go from recruits, to practice players, to contributers, and to starters and hopefully All-Aonference and sometimes even All-American players.  We are kicking off the position preview with the cornerback group.

The Jackrabbits return three players (Jordan Brown, Marshon Harris, and Zy Mosley) who played a ton of snaps in 2017.  They are also buoyed by NC State transfer Bryce Banks as well as Donald Gardner returning from a knee injury and the promising Malik Lofton. 

Below is a breakdown of the position group along with comments from their position Coach Dan Jackson.  Jackson has been with the Jacks since 2012 and the cornerback coach since 2…

5 Burning Questions

Camp starts on August 2nd so we are just two and a half weeks away from football FINALLY returning.  The Jacks enter the season with 6 returning starters on offense and 8 on defense.  In addition to 14 starters returning, the Jacks bring back many role players who contributed greatly in 2017.  The special teams units also return their leaders.  At face value, this sounds good.  However, analyzing who the departures were and their statistics naturally leads to some questions.

1. The obvious first question is who replaces the production of Jake Wieneke and Dallas Goedert?
Last year alone these two accounted for 56% of the receptions (160 of 285), 68% of the receiving yardage (2609 of 3803), and 82% of the receiving touchdown (27 of 33).  This is astounding production from these two.  Maybe a bigger thing to consider is who makes the timely impact plays?

I think most Jackrabbit fans will be paying attention to this but 2017 showed the emergence of Jacob Brown, Cade Johnson, and Marquise …

Know Your Future Jackrabbits: Evan Beerntsen

I had the opportunity to connect with Evan this week to talk about his verbal commitment to SDSU.  The 6'4, 265 pound offensive lineman from Appleton, Wisconsin committed to the Jacks during the last weekend in June.  
Currently Evan plays defensive line and tight end but will be moving to an interior offensive line position when he gets to Brookings.  As a tight end, Evan does a lot of inline blocking and functions almost as a 6th offensive linemen.  However, he has the quickness and agility to go out and snag passes.  Evan shared that he was actually the quarterback for his freshmen team.  Evan says he brings physicality and 110% effort.  He also says that he relies on his instincts and intelligence on the field.
Evan's recruitment escalated pretty quickly.  It started with offers from the Wisconsin D3 schools, and then the Minnesota D2 schools, and finally SDSU.  NDSU and Iowa also showed interest in Evan.  Evan ultimately chose SDSU because of a good connection with Coach…

Know Your Future Jackrabits: Payton Shafer

The Jackrabbits landed a premier linebacker from the state of Minnesota in Payton Shafer on June 23rd.   Shafer had just attended the SDSU team camp and soon made the decision to commit after the camp.

DONE DEAL... 🐰🐰🐰 — Payton Shafer (@Paytonshafer) June 24, 2018

While working on these profile interviews I have received phone calls from all over but earlier this week I received a phone call from the end of a dock on a lake in Minnesota.  Payton said it was the only spot he could get reception at their cabin.  I asked Payton why he committed to SDSU over FBS programs like Eastern Michigan and New Mexico State and he said because of the family feel.  He has visited campus twice and said that it just felt like home.  He appreciated the coach's patience and belief in him after he suffered a leg injury this spring during track season.  When he arrives to SDSU as a student he plans to major in either criminal justice or agronomy.

Payton said that Jack f…

Know Your Future Jackrabbits: Adam Bock

One of the players the Jacks landed the last weekend of June was Adam Bock from Solon, Iowa.  Bock is a four sport (football, basketball, track and baseball) standout for Solon.

I am extremely excited to announce my commitment to play football at South Dakota State. I want to thank everyone that has helped me achieve a lifelong dream. Big things in store for this group!! — Adam Bock (@abock_23) June 25, 2018 Adam can play all over the field and spends time at running back, linebacker, most special teams units and is the kicker.  Adam prides himself on being rangy and making plays all over the field.  Adam says he is fast and physical.  He ran a 4.6 40 at the Jackrabbits Prospect Camp.  Adam wants to work on being even more physical and improving his recognition of what the offense is running.

With offers from UNI, USD, and Mankato Adam had plenty of options but he chose SDSU because they have been in from the start.  He loved the coaching staff …

Know Your Future Jackrabbits: Alex Westendorf

The Jacks landed a big man on June 23rd when Alex Westendorf verballed.  The offensive lineman from St. Charles, Illinois stands 6'4, 293 and is part of an ever-growing pipeline to the Chicago area.

I am committed!!💯💯 — Alex Westendorf (@alex_westy007) June 23, 2018
Westendorf, an All-Conference and All-Area performer, excels as a run blocker who moves well in space.  He said that his team is a run heavy team but he wants to really work on his pass sets this season and will work to rebuild it step by step.  Westendorf will serve as a captain for a second season.  Last year as a junior, he was a captain and it was the first time in his coach's tenure that a non-senior was selected.

Alex seems like a very selfless player as it was hard to get him to talk about himself during our interview.  He kept talking about his team and building a culture.  Not surprisingly, …

Know your Future Jackrabbits: Matt Barnett

One thing that people notice about this class is how athletic they are from top to bottom.  Matt Barnett is no exception to that.  Barnett is 6'3, 193 and runs a 4.5 40.

COMMITTED💰let’s get to work! — Matt☝🏼Barnett (@Matt_Barnett_24) June 24, 2018
Barnett prides himself on being versatile and making plays all over the field; on both sides of the ball.  Matt credits his experience at wide receiver in helping him diagnose plays when he is playing defense.  He says that he will play wherever he was needed but he was recognized as a 1st team All-District wide receiver last season.  An area that Matt wants to work on is preparing for the physicality of college football.  He also said that he will be working on reading his pass coverage for both zone and man.  

Barnett was busy this summer attending multiple camps and earning offers from UNI and USD.  However, SDSU rose to the top because they started recruiting him in January.  He v…