Showing posts from August, 2018

2019 Class: Where do the Jacks stand?

Updated on 12/12/18 to reflect the verbal of Torren Union.

Since the June 23rd weekend the recruits have been coming in at a slower pace.  However, after making such a big splash early in the period it is not surprising that things have slowed down.  One thing that hasn't changed is the quality.  The quality of player the Jackrabbit coaching staff is finding has never been higher.  The success in the playoffs, the outstanding facilities, and landing a player in the second round of the NFL draft are all playing a role.  But when I talk to recruits, the number one thing that sells them on SDSU is the coaching staff and the culture that has been built in Brookings.  So, I thought it would be helpful if I updated where the class is at and included the link to each player's HUDL tapes in case there are any more recruiting nerds out there.

Keaton Heide- Quarterback- 6'3, 190- Plymouth, Minnesota
Karst Hunter- Quarterback- 6'4, 200- Miller, South Dakota
Payton Madison- Fullback…

5 Potential Breakout Players To Watch: Offense

Yesterday we took a look at the potential breakout players for the Jackrabbit defense and today we are looking at the breakout candidates for the offense.  This group is interesting because of the losses of some outstanding seniors.  However, the cupboard is far from bare.  The Jackrabbit offense will likely be more of a balanced attack in 2018.  There are many experienced returning players (Taryn Christion, Wes Genant, Jacob Brown, Marquise Lewis, Mikey Daniel, Isaac Wallace, Tiano Pupungatoa) but there are also others who Jackrabbit fans may not be as familiar with.    

#20 Pierre Strong and #8 CJ Wilson are two freshmen running backs who have very different styles.  Strong is powerful with the ball in his hands and seems to always fall forward.  Strong seems to fit the classic mold of the powerful workhorse back that Jackrabbit fans have enjoyed over the years.  Wilson is shifty and really dynamic carrying the ball.  The Jacks have not had a running back like him in recent memory …

5 Potential Breakout Players to Watch: Defense

The beauty of college football is that every year players step out of nowhere and make a difference.  Some may be transfers, some may be incoming freshmen, and others may be players who worked on their craft for a few years and everything has finally clicked.  This year is no different as players have taken a leap and will now be counted on to be impact players.   We are focusing today on the defensive side of the ball which has been really impressive so far in fall camp.  Last year I think we nailed a couple of the names on our breakout list as we recognized both Ryan Earith and Logan Backhaus.  The others all had nice seasons and will look to continue that upward trajectory in 2018.  Overall this summer the defense is playing fast and physical.  I'm really looking for this unit to take a big step forward this season and become a dominant, shutdown, hit-you-in-the-mouth type of defense.

#69 Krockett Krolikowski was one injury away from playing last year as a true freshmen.  He d…

Position Preview: Special Teams

(Photo by Abby Fullenkamp)
The Jackrabbit special teams improved across the board last season. The kicking was excellent, the return game proved to be an added weapon, and the coverage units were mostly solid.  The team returns all of the major contributors on the special teams units.  However, one of the joys of college football is a constant flow of athletes in and out of the program.  Young players often cut their teeth on special teams coverage units.  This year will be no different as the Jacks have to replace several standouts from their kick and punt coverage teams.

#4 Chase Vinatieri returns as the kicker for his junior year and was named as Hero Sports pre-season All-American.  Chase made 13 of 14 kicks going 10 for 10 from kicks greater than 30+ yards and 2 for 2 from 50+.  Chase's only miss was actually a blocked kick suffered on a miserable Hobo Day.  Chase was also 58-62 on extra points and was perfect the last seven weeks of the season.  No Jackrabbit fan will forget…

Position Preview: Wide Receiver

(Photo by Abby Fullenkamp)
The Jackrabbit receiver room is losing a four time All-American but this may be the deepest the unit has ever been.  The Jacks return five guys who have played plenty of snaps and are joined by five red shirt freshmen who, by all accounts, had outstanding freshmen seasons getting stronger and learning the offense. Competition will be fierce for reps and certain players may a small but very important role for the offense.  The Jackrabbit receiver room is a fun place to be right now according to Robert Arnheim who is entering his 3rd year as the receivers coach.  Arnheim stressed that the room takes pride in their role in the offense, which includes run blocking.  The group possesses a lot of versatility and guys can move between the different spots. 

#1 Jacob Brown (5-11, 195) started for much of 2017 as the receiver opposite Jake Wieneke.  Now a junior, he will be counted on to take the next step after catching 18 passes for 222 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Brow…

Position Preview: Offensive Line

(Photo by Larry Sellers)

The #605 Hogs are back and ready for business.  Coach Jason Eck returns for his third season with the Jacks. The oline has made big strides both seasons and the hope is that they improve again in year three.  Last year they only allowed 23 sacks on the season and paved the way for 176.6 rushing yards per game.  There were moments last season where they were down right dominant and moments where they struggled to adjust what the opponents were doing.  If they can take the next step and increase their consistency to go along with the physicality then they could be the best line in the MVFC.  As always, young players will need to continue to develop but this is the deepest offensive line unit the Jackrabbits have fielded in a number of years.  

#77 Wes Genant (6-4, 305) returns for his third season.  During his true freshmen year he was the right tackle and last year he started all 14 games at right guard.  However, Genant worked at center in spring ball so he m…

Position Preview: Tight Ends

(Photo by of Larry Sellers)

The Jackrabbits bring back two players who contributed a lot to a successful unit.  However, we all know that Dallas Goedert graduated and his moved on to the Philadelphia Eagles.  The 2x All-American carried on a long tradition of high quality Jackrabbit tight ends but elevated the expectations to a whole new level.  This is good because it has caused everyone else to raise their game.  The position group is coached by Luke Schleusner and he has stressed that no one person will be able to replace the production of Dallas.  But collectively they can.  The players have to step up and be better than they were last year and make plays when their number is called.  So far, coach has been impressed with their hard work and fun attitude.  

#83 Kallan Hart (6-5, 255)   Last season Hart served as an inline blocking tight end.   He did a great job in this role.  As a pass catcher, Hart has greatly improved according to Schleusner.  Last year he only had 2 receptions …

Position Preview: Running Backs

(Photo courtesy of Larry Sellers)
The Jacks return two very experienced backs for the Jackrabbit offense.  Mikey Daniel and Isaac Wallace represent a bit of a "thunder and lightening" for the Jackrabbits.  New position coach Zach Lujan recognizes that they are losing lots of production with the graduation of Brady Mengarelli but he is confident that the group can collectively replace that production. 

Running Backs
#26 Mikey Daniel (6-0, 230)  returns after a very good sophomore season.  Mikey rushed for 482 yards on a 4.8 ypc average to go with 11 touchdowns.  Teams new that Mikey was going to get the ball in the redzone and still couldn't stop him.  This is a credit to the offensive line but also the hard running style that Mikey exhibits.  Coach Lujan sharead that Mikey is in tremendous shape and he is looking to expand his role in the offense from a goal line and 3rd down back to an every-down player.  One of Mikey's more underrated duties is being the second retu…

Position Preview: Quarterbacks

(Photo by Abby Fullenkamp)
We reviewed the defense last week but now it is time to take a look at an offense full of new play makers.  In just a year this position has undergone quite a bit of change.  Gone are Dalton Douglass, Alec Cromer and Ethan Bullock.  However, the constant of Taryn Christion at the helm should assure all Jackrabbit fans.  I had the chance to visit with Coach Eric Eidsness who is the quarterback coach and the offensive coordinator.  He's excited about having another season to coach Taryn and wondered what might have been for Taryn if the new red shirt rules had been in place in Taryn's true freshman season.

Obviously Taryn is penciled in as the number one quarterback this season but after that there is fierce competition for the number two and number three quarterback spots.  The third spot matters because that is a travel roster spot. 

#3 Taryn Christion (6-2, 225) enters his senior year as the unquestioned leader of the offense.  Statistically, Tary…

Position Preview: Defensive Ends

(Photo by Abby Fullenkamp)

The defensive end group entered last season as a fairly inexperienced group.  However, the 2018 group returns an All-Conference level starter and many of the rotational players.  The group is also joined by a juco and two players who red shirted last season.  This group feels like a unit that is ascending because of the returning experience and the young talent that has been developed.  If a couple of the younger players can translate their successful spring into the fall camp, watch out for this group.  

Coach Clint Brown has now been with the Jacks for 10 seasons as the defensive coordinator and also as the defensive end position coach.  The Jacks play a 4-3 defense almost exclusively and Coach Brown relies on his front four to get after the quarterback with limited blitzes.  .      

 #90 Ryan Earith (6-4, 255) had an excellent sophomore campaign after recovering from an injury.  Earith plays the run really well and is able to get to the quarterback regist…

Position Preview: Defensive Tackles

(Photo by Abby Fullenkamp)
The Jackrabbits lose a dominating force in Kellen Soulek but return three players who were part of the rotation last season and are joined by a promising red-shirt freshmen.  This group could be the biggest question mark on the team and we really won't know until they take the field September 1st.  Iowa State will be a big test as they are a big offensive line.  If they can hold up in that game, they should be more than okay the rest of the season.

The group is coached by Christian Smith who is in his second year with the team. Smith said that while the loss of Soulek is big, he expects the rest of the guys to fill the void.  He said he has challenged the younger guys to step up and make plays when they have the chance.

#96 Spencer Hildahl(6-3, 290) started for much of 2017 and finished with 10 tackles and 2.5 sacks.  Hildahl got hurt towards the end of training camp and never seemed to get fully healthy after a strong spring season and start to the 20…

Position Preview: Linebackers

(Photo by Abby Fullenkamp)
Today we are looking at the linebackers with Coach Jimmy Rogers who has now been with the Jacks since 2013 as the linebackers coach.  The Jacks return 5 of their top 6 linebackers from 2017 and have a wealth of talented underclassmen and a couple guys returning from injury who are eager to contribute.  However, the graduation of Tommy Hopp and the injury retirements of Jessup Workman and Noah Urbanek will certainly affect depth and special teams coverage units.  Rogers is proud of this group for the work they have put in and the obstacles they overcame in 2017.  He said that everyone is competing to start and that it will be a battle to start and to make the travel roster.

#2 Christian Rozeboom (6-2, 225), a 2x team captain, returns for his Junior season and is a preseason All-American in every major publication.  In 2017, he continued his incredible pace registering 127 tackles, 1 sack, 7.5 tackles for loss, 3 fumble recoveries and 2 interceptions.  The…