BY JEREMY HOECK
VERMILLION – As we stood out on the field after practice on Monday, Joe Glenn handed me another 2015 University of South Dakota football roster (I’ve got plenty!) and made notes next to three names of freshmen who have really stood out during fall camp.
No. 14 Michael Fredrick. No. 31 Shamar Jackson. No. 84 Danny Rambo.
“They’re all fast guys,” Glenn said, looking up as I asked what he likes about those three.
And that’s exactly what the Coyotes needed.
They needed a home run threat. Someone who could score on any play. Someone who was maybe just a step faster than the guys they’re going against in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
So far, though it’s still coming in practice, those three look to be able to fill that role.
In an effort to bring in some extra speed, the Coyote coaching staff dipped into the state of Florida more than they had previously in Glenn’s tenure. By the time National Signing Day arrived, there were five recruits from the Sunshine State.
“When I first committed, I didn’t think anyone from Florida was up here,” Fredrick said after Monday’s practice.” Now it’s five of us. We can relate to each other and we know what we can all do.”
Of those five, Fredrick (RB/Returns) and Jackson (RB/WR/Returns) look to provide the most immediate impact for the Coyotes.
And it’s easy to see why: They’re fast dudes.
“They recruited a lot of speed,” a smiling Jackson said. “That’s what they wanted the most, so that’s what we wanted to bring to the table.”
Fredrick is perhaps the most true tailback of the incoming freshmen, while Jackson will likely see more action at wide receiver – as well as from the backfield and returns. Rambo, like the other two, isn’t exactly the tallest offensive weapon the Coyotes have, but he’s certainly proving he’s one of the fastest.
“They’ve all got another gear,” Glenn said.
And beyond that, Glenn and his staff have raved about the attitude of the three freshmen – as well as the others – and their grasp of the playbook.
“They ask questions in meetings that are good questions,” Glenn said.
Some other observations from Monday’s practice:
There could be some shifting on the offensive line, as Sam McLeran still battles a shoulder injury. Two spots seem set already: Derek Chancellor and Nile Banks would both start, and then certain other guys would fill in the other spots. Newcomer Thomas McGuire, the transfer from Elon (North Carolina), will likely see plenty of action on the line, perhaps even at center.
Battles At Wide Receiver
The first two spots seem obvious: Eric Shufford Jr. and Riley Donovan, but from there, the Coyotes have a number of options for spots 3-through-whatever. Shamar Jackson figures to see significant action at receiver, while other such as Nick Meyer, Paul Anderson, Ben Kramer and Brandt Van Roekel could be targets. Danny Rambo is one of those freshman who has impressed the coaches, so he will likely see plenty of action right away.
This is a spot I’d like to devote more attention to on my next visit to Vermillion, perhaps Friday. I didn’t delve much into that when I was over there yesterday, but undoubtedly that’s an area worth examining – there are plenty of options: Michael Lilly, Dylan Jiles, Adam Harris, Tyson Graham Jr., Will Armstead, Jacob Warner, Adam Juhl, Chris Tyler, etc.