Jacks sign 21 for football
South Dakota State University head football coach John Stiegelmeier announced the signings of 18 high school and three junior college standouts to a National Letter of Intent on Wednesday, the first day of the national signing period.
"This has been the most intense recruiting year we've had in the sense of miles traveled, schools visited and official visits," Stiegelmeier said. "We're excited about the student-athletes we were able to sign and we were able to shore up our needs in the areas we targeted, including running back, defensive line and defensive back."
* Jordan Brichacek (pronounced bri-CAH-chek), 6-5, 240, defensive lineman, Rogers, Neb.;
* Andrew Brown, 5-10, 200, defensive back, Council Bluffs, Iowa;
* Dallas Brown, 5-11, 175, defensive back, Tucson, Ariz.;
* Nick Carr, 6-8, 285, offensive lineman, New Brighton, Minn.;
* Davierre Cummins, 6-2, 260, defensive lineman, Vail, Ariz.;
* Rob Diané, 6-2, 230, defensive end, Plymouth, Minn.;
* Charles Elmore, Jr., 6-1, 215, linebacker, Bridgeview, Ill.;
* Ezekiel Herndon, 5-11, 175, defensive back, Fontana, Calif.;
* Herman Kleinsasser, 5-10, 175, defensive back, Onida, S.D.;
* Connor Landberg, 6-3, 190, wide receiver, Laguna Hills, Calif.;
* Seth Lansman, 6-7, 260, offensive lineman, Harlan, Iowa;
* Nick Mears, 5-11, 190, defensive back, Milbank, S.D.;
* Nate Meyer, 6-3, 185, quarterback, Cold Spring, Minn.;
* Andy Moritko, 6-4, 220, linebacker, Shoreview, Minn.;
* Kyle Paris, 6-1, 215, running back, Aliso Viejo, Calif.;
* Marshall Peugh, 6-3, 235, defensive end, Avondale, Ariz.;
* Logan Rath, 6-4, 250, defensive lineman, Aurora, Neb.;
* Isaac Rodriguez, 5-8, 170, running back, Orlando, Fla.;
* Matt Romano, 6-3, 215, linebacker, Laguna Niguel, Calif.;
* Mike Shoff, 6-6, 290, offensive lineman, Cambridge, Neb.;
* Mitch Vejvoda (pronounced veh-VOH-dah), 6-4, 240, tight end, Homer Glen, Ill.
Brichacek was named to the all-Nebraska First Team as a senior and was a two-time all-state selection, racking up 230 career tackles, including 28 tackles for loss and 21 sacks. His Howells High School teams won three eight-man state championships his freshman through junior seasons and added a state runner-up finish during his senior campaign. Following a senior season in which he notched 12 tackles for loss and eight sacks, Brichacek was selected to play in both the Nebraska Shine Bowl and Sertoma 8-Man All-Star Game. In addition, Brichacek has won a state title in the shot put and is a member of the No. 1 ranked basketball team in the state. A member of the National Honor Society and a member of the Student Council, Brichacek plans to major in agricultural business.
Andrew Brown joined the Jackrabbits at semester break after playing his first two seasons at Iowa Western Community College in his hometown of Council Bluffs, Iowa. In two all-conference seasons with the Reivers, Brown tallied 108 tackles, including seven for loss, with five interceptions and five pass breakups. He also handled the punting duties in 2011, ranking fourth in the national junior college ranks with an average of 41.7 yards per attempt. At the prep level, Brown was a two-time all-state selection in football and three-time all-state honoree in baseball at St. Albert High School, while also finishing fourth in the 100-meter dash at the state track and field meet as a senior. A first-team academic all-region honoree, Brown will continue to pursue a degree in business economics.
Dallas Brown was a two-way player at Sabino High School in Tucson, Ariz. He earned second-team Southern Arizona recognition as both a defensive back and all-purpose player as a junior, then earned first-team honors as a senior. The recipient of the Marine Corps Player of the Year Award as a senior, Brown tallied 1,700 yards passing and 1,300 rushing yards. He plans to major in wildlife and fisheries.
Carr earned all-conference and honorable mention all-state recognition during his senior season at Totino-Grace High School. A three-year letterman, he played on back-to-back state championship teams. A member of the National Honor Society, Carr plans to major in engineering.
Cummins earned first-team all-conference honors for Salpointe Catholic High School during his senior season in 2011. A team captain, he earned the squad's Defensive MVP Award after recording six sacks and 10 quarterback hurries. Cummins plans to major in general studies.
Diane was a two-time all-conference selection for Ridgewater Community College in Willmar, Minn., who earned all-region recognition in 2011. Over two seasons, Diane tallied 86 total tackles with 26 sacks, four forced fumbles and 17 pass breakups. He played at the prep level at Robbinsdale Cooper High School in the Twin Cities Metro Area, where he earned all-conference recognition. An academic award recipient, Diane intends to continue his studies in nutrition and food science.
Elmore received second-team all-state recognition in leading Saint Rita of Cascia high School to the state semifinals during his senior season. He averaged more than six tackles per game on defense and added 5.4 yards per carry on offense. A two-time all-conference and all-area selection, Elmore played on a state championship team as a sophomore and posted 102 tackles during his junior season. A member of the National Honor Society, he has yet to declare a college major.
Herndon earned first-team all-conference honors three times and was an Inland Empire All-Star at Bloomington High School in Fontana, Calif. He set a school record in return yards, totaling more than 2,500 all-purpose yards with six return touchdowns. Offensively, he caught 56 passes for 1,124 yards and 10 touchdowns, and added seven interceptions and 10 pass breakups on the defensive side of the ball. Herndon also has won conference titles in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and is the school-record holder in the 400 meters. An all-academic selection, he plans to major in journalism and mass communication.
Kleinsasser excelled both on the track and the football field at Sully Buttes High School. He was a two-time Class 9B all-state selection in football, earning honors as a special teams player in 2010 and a running back in 2011. The runner-up for the 9B Mr. Football Award, Kleinsasser was a two-time member of the Aberdeen American News All-Area Team and honorable mention Elite 45 honoree as selected by the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. On the track, he won both the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the Class B state meet in 2011 after turning in runner-up finishes the previous year. Kleinsasser has yet to declare a college major.
Landberg displayed big-play ability in the passing game at Laguna Hills High School, recording 41 receptions for 805 yards and 16 touchdowns during his senior season. A two-time all-conference selection, Landberg received first-team all-California Interscholastic Federation recognition after leading the Sea View League in touchdown receptions. Landberg has yet to choose a course of study.
Lansman is a second-generation Jackrabbit student-athlete who will join his older brother, Luke, on the SDSU football squad this fall. Honored on all-Western Iowa and all-district second teams, Lansman played on a state championship team for Harlan Community High School in 2009. He also has lettered in basketball and track and field. A member of the National Honor Society and class valedictorian, Lansman plans to major in mechanical engineering. His father, Howard, lettered for the Jackrabbits from 1984-85, while his mother, Tara (Tessier), played basketball at SDSU.
Mears was a finalist for South Dakota Gatorade Player of the Year after a record-setting career as a quarterback at Milbank High School. He racked up more than 7,500 yards of total offense, throwing for 4,595 career yards with 58 touchdowns, while rushing for another 3,000 yards with 34 touchdowns. He helped lead Milbank to a state title as a sophomore and was a three-time all-Northeast Conference selection, while also earning all-state recognition as both a punter and a quarterback. A member of the Sioux Falls Argus Leader Elite 45, Mears registered 115 career tackles. In track and field, Mears has been a state qualifier in the sprints and triple jump, as well as relays. An academic all-state honoree and member of the National Honor Society, he plans to major in pre-medicine.
Meyer led ROCORI High School to the Minnesota Class 4A state championship this past fall, earning a spot on the Minnesota Vikings All-State Team. He also has been an all-conference performer in basketball. Meyer intends to major in economics.
Moritko played on back-to-back Class 4A state title teams in 2009 and 2010 at Totino-Grace High School in Fridley, Minn. A team captain during his senior season, he earned all-conference, all-Metro and all-state recognition in leading Totino-Grace to a state semifinal appearance at the Class 5A level. Moritko also is a team captain in basketball this winter. Moritko has yet to choose a course of study.
Paris was a standout on both sides of the ball for Aliso Niguel High School this past fall. He was honored as Seaview League Offensive Player of the Year as a running back and earned all-county honors as a free safety. Paris has served as a team captain in both football and baseball. He has yet to declare a college major.
Peugh joined the Jackrabbits at semester break after transferring from Glendale Community College (Ariz.). During the 2011 season, Peugh recorded 55 tackles and eight sacks. As a senior at Ironwood High School, he was a first-team all-region honoree after tallying 97 tackles and nine sacks. A Presidential Scholarship award recipient at Glendale, Peugh will continue to pursue a degree in computer science at SDSU.
Rath capped an outstanding prep career at Giltner High School by being named to the first-team all-class all-state squad. A three-time all-district selection, he was a first-team all-state selection at both the Class D and Class D-2 levels between his junior and senior seasons. An honor roll student, Rath intends to major in agricultural business.
Rodriguez lettered three times in football at Freedom High School, earning all-Orange County honors and an invitation to the Orlando All-Star Game. He scored eight touchdowns and averaged seven yards per carry as a senior, while adding 13 receptions for 106 yards and a touchdown. In addition, Rodriguez received Defensive Player of the Year recognition. Rodriguez also has lettered in baseball and track and field, and holds the school record for 100-meter dash at 10.9 seconds. Rodriguez has yet to choose a college major.
Romano was a two-way player at Dana Hills High School in Dana Point, Calif., earning all-South Coast League honors as a defensive lineman and tight end. Defensively, he recorded 31 tackles with five sacks and 11 quarterback hurries. On the offensive side of the ball, Romano caught 37 passes for 410 yards and five touchdowns. He intends to major in exercise science.
Shoff has been a three-sport standout for the Cambridge and Sutton public schools. A four-year starter in football, he earned first-team all-state honors in 2009 and 2011, as well as first-team Super State honors as a senior, when he notched 79 tackles and an interception on defense. He has won consecutive state wrestling titles (2010, 2011) after a runner-up finish as a freshman, and has posted a 142-1 career record with a streak of consecutive pins that is nearing the national record. Shoff added state titles in the discus and shot put during the 2011 track and field season, topping the 59-foot mark in the shot and 170-foot mark in the discus. An honor roll student, Shoff plans to major in pre-physical therapy.
Vejvoda lettered four times and was a two-year starter for Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox, Ill. A two-time all-area selection, he caught eight passes for 107 yards and a touchdown after missing a portion of the season due to injury. An honor roll student and Illinois State Scholar, Vejvoda intends to pursue a major in engineering.
In addition, Stiegelmeier announced that Nate Meixell of Lake Crystal, Minn., has been accepted for admission to South Dakota State University and plans to join the Jackrabbit football program next fall. A two-time all-conference selection at Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial High School, Meixell earned honorable mention all-state honors as a quarterback, throwing for 1,116 yards and 14 touchdowns, while adding 854 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground. He also has been a state qualifier in wrestling and track and field. Meixell, who plans to major in agricultural business, is a member of the National Honor Society and has received academic all-state recognition in both football and wrestling.
South Dakota State competes in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision and is a member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
BREAKDOWN BY STATE