Jackrabbits sign 21 for football
South Dakota State University head football coach John Stiegelmeier announced Wednesday that 21 student-athletes — 19 high school standouts and two junior college transfers — have signed a National Letter of Intent, officially committing to play football for the Jackrabbits starting in the fall.
“We really feel we have put together a great class,” Stiegelmeier said. “We were able to fill our needs with a number of student-athletes who have the ability, desire and commitment to win a championship at SDSU. I am again extremely appreciative of all the hard work of our assistant coaches in putting this class together.”
The recruiting class consists of:
• Christian Banasiak, 6-3, 230, defensive end, Cape Coral, Fla.;
• Malik Bondon, 6-0, 215, linebacker, Quincy, Ill.;
• Jordan Brown, 6-1, 175, wide receiver, Scottsdale, Ariz.;
• Joe Carbis, 6-6, 260, offensive lineman, Council Bluffs, Iowa;
• Trey Carr, 5-11, 175, cornerback, Omaha, Neb.;
• Andre Chisley, 6-2, 220, defensive end, Minnetonka, Minn.;
• J.T. Hassell, 5-11, 195, linebacker, Titusville, Fla.;
• Quinten Hunt, 6-2, 185, wide receiver, Buckeye, Ariz.;
• Chase Kern, 6-3, 225, defensive end, Sioux City, Iowa;
• Tyler Lindsey, 5-9, 180, cornerback, Owasso, Okla.;
• Chris Little, 6-2, 195, quarterback, Evanston, Ill.;
• Tywan Ramsey, 6-4, 280, defensive lineman, Milwaukee, Wis.;
• Thor Riemer, 6-5, 275, offensive lineman, Osceola, Wis.;
• Alex Romenesko, 6-0, 185, safety, Pewaukee, Wis.;
• Landon Schultz, 6-2, 250, defensive end, Mason City, Iowa (transfer from Iowa Western Community College);
• Makiah Slade, 6-1, 200, linebacker, Omaha, Neb.;
• Isaac Wallace, 6-1, 195, running back, Ralston, Neb.;
• Tyler Weir, 6-4, 280, offensive lineman, Arvada, Colo.;
• A.J. Westrude, 6-1, 210, fullback, Prior Lake, Minn.
• Zach Zanello, 6-6, 215, tight end, Rockford, Ill.;
• Travis Zimmerman, 6-4, 285, offensive lineman, Huxley, Iowa (transfer from Iowa Western Community College).
Banasiak was a four-year letterman and three-year starter who began his prep career at Riverdale High School before transferring to Island Coast High School. As a senior, he earned first-team all-area honors and was an honorable mention all-state selection after tallying 77 tackles, nine sacks and two forced fumbles. Banasiak also caught two passes for 49 yards. An honor student, he has been invited to play in Miami Dade vs. Florida Nike All-Star Game.
Bondon was a three-year starter and two-time captain for Quincy High School, playing on a state runner-up team as a junior. He tallied 121 total tackles, including 83 solo stops, during his senior season, when he earned first-team all-state honors and was regional defensive player of the year. Bondon plans to major in sports management.
Brown broke every receiving record at Paradise Valley High School, tallying 159 receptions for 2,277 yards and 26 touchdowns over three seasons. Earned first-team all-section and second-team all-state honors as a junior, when he recorded 54 receptions for 862 yards and eight touchdowns. Moved up to first-team all-state as a senior, totaling 68 catches for 968 yards and 14 touchdowns. Brown also tallied 400 punt return yards with three touchdowns and added two interceptions as a senior. In addition, he played on a state championship basketball team and has competed in track and field. Brown intends to major in athletic training.
Carbis earned all-district honors on both sides of the ball during his prep career at Abraham Lincoln High School in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He was second-team all-district selection as a defensive lineman as a junior, then earned the same recognition as an offensive lineman during his senior season. Carbis plans to major in exercise science.
Carr excelled at Burke High School in Omaha, earning Metro Player of the Year honors from the Omaha World Herald. He also was a first-team all-state selection and first-team Super State honoree. Carr intends to pursue a degree in health science.
Chisley started three seasons at Hopkins High School and served as a team captain as a senior, when he eared first-team all-conference honors and was named team defensive most valuable player. Chisley is under consideration to play in Minnesota’s North-South All-Star Game this summer. He also has been a member of the varsity wrestling team for two years.
Hassell recorded more than 100 tackles in each of his varsity seasons between Titusville and Astronaut high schools. He earned all-conference, all-Space Coast and second-team all-state honors during a prep career in which he forced 20 fumbles, intercepted five passes and scored four touchdowns. Hassell plans to major in mechanical engineering.
Hunt got the job done both on the field and in the classroom at Buckeye Union High School. He was a first-team all-Division III honoree in football after catching 37 passes for 736 yards with seven touchdowns. Hunt displayed big-play ability in other areas of the field as he rushed 19 times for 356 yards and three touchdowns, and notched punt and kickoff for touchdowns. Defensively, Hunt was credited with 17 solo tackles and three interceptions. For his work in the classroom, Hunt was named to the 2013 All-Academic Football Team and was a second-team scholar athlete. He plans to major in education, history and religion.
Kern excelled both on the field and in the classroom at Sioux City East High School. During his senior season, he recorded 116 tackles, including 17 tackles for loss and seven sacks, en route to earning first-team all-district and all-Siouxland honors, as well as second-team all-state accolades from both the Des Moines Register and the Iowa Newspaper Association. A member of the National Honor Society and an honoree on the all-Northwest Iowa Academic Team, Kern plans to pursue a pharmacy degree.
Lindsey had a nose for the football as a three-year starter for Owasso High School. A two-time all-metro and all-conference selection, he notched 12 interceptions and broke up more than 40 passes during his prep career, adding 135 tackles and two punt returns for touchdowns.
Little started at quarterback for two seasons at Evanston Township High School in suburban Chicago. He threw for 954 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior, while also running for three touchdowns. During his senior season, Little completed 58 percent of his passes for 1,565 yards.
Ramsey earned first-team all-conference and all-regional honors as a defensive end for the conference championship team for the Milwaukee Mesmer/Shorewood football team. He also received all-suburban recognition after recording 79 total tackles, 18 tackles for loss and five sacks. Ramsey intends to major in nursing.
Riemer was rated one of the top 10 linemen in Wisconsin during a career in which he earned all-conference honors twice at Osceola High School. He also has competed in track and field and wrestling. Riemer was a state qualifier in the shot put as a junior and is a four-year starter on the varsity wrestling squad, going undefeated in conference wrestling matches as a junior. An honor student, he intends to major in either finance or psychology.
Romenesko was a member of back-to-back state championship teams at Arrowhead High School in Hartland, Wis. A starter since his sophomore season, he played at strong safety, outside linebacker and cornerback, earning second-team all-conference honors as a junior. Romenesko missed his senior season due to injury. He plans to major in business or sports science.
Schultz joins the Jackrabbits after a successful junior college career at Iowa Western Community College. He played at defensive end for the highly successful Iowa Western program that posted a 23-1 record over two seasons and won the 2012 Junior College national title. During the 2013 season, Schultz was credited with 27 tackles and three sacks. He is a 2011 graduate of Mason City High School, where he was a two-time first-team all-conference selection and all-area honoree. Schultz plans to pursue a degree in business.
Slade played on both sides of the ball at Lincoln Northeast High School, where he earned all-city, all-conference and second-team Super State honors. As a senior, he rushed for 900 yards and 11 touchdowns. Slade also served as a team captain was named defensive MVP of Nebraska Top 50 Combine. He plans to pursue a degree in criminal justice.
Wallace put together a memorable senior season at Ralston High School, in which he earned first-team all-state and Class B honorary captain. Other honors included being named to the 2013 Nebraska Super State Team and MaxPreps all-Nebraska squad. Wallace rushed for 2,549 yards, averaging 9.17 yards per carry and 231.7 yards per game. During the 2013 season, Wallace scored 37 rushing touchdowns and two more receiving, and went on to set state playoff single-game records with 404 yards and eight touchdowns. A member of the National Honor Society, he intends to major in either pre-medicine or engineering.
Weir was a four-year starter between Dolores and Pomona high schools. He earned all-conference honors three times and was named lineman of the year on two occasions. Weir also has competed in basketball, baseball and track, playing for a two league championship teams in baseball. He plans to major in sports management.
Westrude played both at linebacker and running back at Lakeville South High School, where he named to all-conference and all-Metro squads after leading team in tackles, fumble recoveries and defensive touchdowns scored. He plans to major in entrepreneurial studies.
Zanello was a three-year starter and an all-conference selection his junior and senior seasons for Rockford Lutheran High School. He caught 35 pases for 470 yards and a touchdown as a junior, followed by 28 receptions for 455 yards and three touchdowns as a senior, when he also served as a team captain. A member of the National Honor Society and a two-time academic all-state selection, Zanello plans to major in either biology or engineering.
Zimmerman was a key player for the highly successful Iowa Western Community College team the last two seasons. He earned first-team all-conference honors on the offensive line for a program that combined for a 23-1 record and won the 2012 Junior College national championship. An academic honor squad selection at Iowa Western, Zimmerman graduated in 2011 from Ballard High School, where he was an all-area and all-state selection in football.
In addition, nine other high school standouts have been accepted for admission to South Dakota State and plan to join the Jackrabbit football program in the fall. The list of committed players includes:
• Dalton Cox, 6-1, 200, linebacker, Aberdeen, S.D. (Roncalli H.S.);
• Emmanuel Ehrich, 6-1, 195, linebacker, Maple Grove, Minn. (Maple Grove H.S.);
• J.J. Hejna, 6-4, 205, wide receiver, Tabor, S.D. (Yankton H.S.);
• Jackson Love, 5-10, 215, running back, Norfolk, Neb. (Norfolk Catholic H.S.);
• Zach Morehead, 6-4, 270, offensive lineman, Tea, S.D. (Tea H.S.);
• Noah St. Pierre, 6-2, 175, cornerback, Wagner, S.D. (Wagner H.S.);
• Dakota Thorstenson, 6-5, 200, defensive end, Selby, SD. (Selby Area H.S.);
• Jacob VanderHeiden, 6-4, 275, offensive lineman, Hutchinson, Minn. (Hutchinson H.S.);
• Keith Wolverton, 6-1, 185, quarterback, Seward, Neb. (Seward H.S.)
South Dakota State finished the 2013 season with a 9-5 overall record, including a 5-3 mark in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, and made its second consecutive appearance in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs. The Jackrabbits ended the season ranked 13th in the Sports Network media poll and 14th in the FCS Coaches’ Poll.