BY JEREMY HOECK
No coach will tell you they’re disappointed with a recruiting class.
Just as no athlete will tell you they don’t like where they’re headed.
It’s within that paradox that it becomes hard to evaluate a list of recruits. Ninety percent of them aren’t likely to see the field their freshman year, unless of course you’re a transfer — then, it’s pretty much part of the deal that they’re an immediate impact guy.
And so, it becomes hard to not have a ‘positive’ recruiting story. You can’t sit here and nit-pick about a kid a school didn’t get, because a) this isn’t the SEC where flip-flopping is part of the deal, and b) the true ‘success’ of the class cannot be felt for at least three years.
Even for a recruiting nerd like me, you have to simply find some underlying themes to get at. Was there a large contingent of players from one area? Were there siblings recruited? Did such and such a player sign with a school after committing to another?
With Wednesday’s recruiting class for the University of South Dakota, a consistent theme seemed to pop up between the three high school kids I spoke to over the phone, and later heard from the Coyote coaches at a gathering in Yankton.
Put simply, the Coyotes can’t ‘sell’ a kid on post-season success; can’t show off a championship trophy or detail consecutive playoff appearances. What USD can do, however, is sell a kid on the potential.
In two years under head coach Joe Glenn, the Coyotes have improved from one win to four last season. Mixed in during the 2013 campaign were a handful of narrow defeats, and Glenn talked Wednesday night about those missing pieces that could help fill in the gaps.
And by the way those players talked, they’re ready for the challenge of leading the program closer to an FCS playoff appearance.
“They haven’t had the best luck, but I’m sure the tables will turn quickly,” said wide receiver recruit Tacari Carpenter of Oak Lawn, Ill. “I can see the future coming; something is going to happen there.”
What that is, nobody knows, but at least there seems to be an upward trend. A program sliding backward would certainly find it harder to attract high-quality recruits.
“They had so many chances even last year to win more games, but they’re going in the right direction,” said Nick Jensen, an offensive lineman from Vermillion.
I’m not about to say the Coyotes will crack the playoff field in 2014 (take a look at their schedule), but I could conceivably see by year five of the Glenn era that the program is in the mix.
“They might get to the playoffs, and that’s definitely what I want to help them do,” said Winner defensive lineman Kray Krolikowski.
Let’s get to some news and notes from USD’s recruiting class, and from Wednesday night’s presentation in Yankton:
• First, an item not really related to recruiting, but that will definitely have an impact. Leading receiver Terrance Terry, who had a year of eligibility left, will graduate this spring and will not play football this fall, according to Glenn.
• Shay Bratland (Watertown) was the fastest kid in USD’s summer camp last season, coaches said.
• Paul Anderson (West Park, Fla.) is the son of Jamaican parents
• Chris Tyler (Iowa Western CC) and Eric Shufford (San Bernardino Valley) are two transfers that are already on campus
• The video of long snapper Brandon Godsey (Raymore, Mo.) elicited a nice applause from the crowd. That was an area of concern last season.
• Ethan Fenchel (Hull, Iowa) is a nationally-ranked discus thrower and could very well break the Iowa state record this spring. Coaches said he could reach the 200-feet mark.
• Adam Harris (West Des Moines, Iowa) moved from his native Florida to Iowa for his senior season last fall. Coyotes beat out another Iowa school for his services.
• Noah Roberts (Yorkville, Ill.) played for coach Don Beebe in high school. Yes, THAT Don Beebe.
• Bailey Sutko (Kansas City, Mo.) is currently the top-ranked wrestler in Missouri’s Class 3 rankings. The Coyotes like those wrestlers because of their physicality, according to defensive coordinator Jason Petrino.
• Another of the trends among the 30 recruits is a handful of multi-position kids. Glenn said one of his philosophies is to recruit the best athletes because “you can find a spot for them.”
• One geographic area the Coyotes have not had much success in is Sioux City, Iowa, according to Glenn. “And I’m not really sure why.” He did, however, point to the Omaha metro area as a success this year.