MITCHELL, S.D. – The Dakota Wesleyan University football team put together its most successful season in more than 20 years in 2013, and the Tigers are looking to build on that success and take it to the next level in 2014.
In order to achieve that level of success, head coach Ross Cimpl and the DWU football coaching staff has been working tirelessly in the offseason to recruit the best players from around the region, and the country, for DWU's 2014 recruiting class. Now, Cimpl has a list his first 25 recruits ready to make an impact for the Tiger football team starting this fall.
Of the latest 25 players to join Dakota Wesleyan's roster, 21 are from South Dakota and the surrounding states, including Minnesota, Wyoming and Iowa. Of those 21, 12 are from South Dakota, four from Wyoming and three from Minnesota.
The Tiger offense took a hit to graduation this season as record-setting quarterback Jon Bane, two-time All-American Anthony Muilenburg and offensive linemen Eric Witte and Skyler Eriksen – who both earned All-Great Plains Athletic Conference Honorable Mention honors as seniors – graduate in May. Cimpl, who was named the league's coach of the year, as well as the AFCA Region 4 Coach-of-the-Year, tried to fill those gaps in this recruiting class with three offensive linemen as well as three quarterbacks.
Some of DWU's latest recruits transferred in at the beginning of the semester and are already on campus and participating in spring workouts with the team.
"I could not be more pleased with the new additions to the Tiger program," Cimpl said. "We are coming off a record-setting season, and we have found some tremendous talent that will be a part of a great history in DWU football. With this list of committed players, this recruiting class is shaping up as one of the best ever in DWU history."
Cimpl said he's still looking to add to the list of recruits and bolster numbers for 2014, but added that the first 25 signees are a ‘great start' in filling the current needs on the DWU roster. Cimpl said he's looking to add to the Tigers' wide receiver corps as well as linebackers, defensive backs and offensive linemen.
The Tigers finished 8-3 under Cimpl's guidance in 2013, marking just the third time in school history DWU has won eight games in a season and the first time since 1992.
Below is a look at all 25 recruits who have committed to play football at DWU in 2014. Recruits are listed in alphabetical order.
WR, Freshman, 6-1, 175, Villa Park, Ill./Willowbrook High School
Comes to DWU after starting for two seasons for the Warrior football team ... recorded 1,300 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns in those two years ... also had four interceptions and 164 returns yards ... part of a team that went 7-3 his senior season ... named all-state and all-conference ... also earned Chicago Tribune Second Team All-State honors ... also lettered three times in hockey and twice in track ... an academic all-state selection ... son of Tom Adams and Karyl Adams ... plans to major in nursing.
OL, Junior, 6-1, 245, South San Francisco, Calif./College of San Mateo
Comes to DWU with junior eligibility after two seasons at College of San Mateo ... part of the Bulldogs' squad that went 9-1 in 2013 ... a member of the Dean's list in fall 2012 and summer 2013 ... earned two varsity letters and was a two-year starter at El Camino High School ... also started two seasons for the Colt's baseball team and once for the basketball team ... son of Kenneth Sr. and Nancy Anderson ... a business major.
DB, Freshman, 5-9, 180, Tabor, S.D./Bon Homme High School
A three-year starter and four-time letter winner for the Cavaliers ... recorded 907 rushing yards as a senior ... finished his career with 1,246 rushing yards, 638 passing yards and 1,530 all-purpose yards ... had 120 tackles and seven interceptions in four years ... earned all-conference honors his sophomore through senior seasons ... named an all-state defensive back as a senior ... also named to the South Dakota All-Star team as a senior ... lettered twice in basketball and four times in track ... a member of the National Honor Society ... an academic all-state selection in football, basketball and track ... a member of the honor roll ... son of Donna Bodden ... plans to major in special education.
LB, Freshman, 6-1, 205, Lake Preston, S.D./Lake Preston High School
Finished with 117 tackles for Lake Preston High School ... also recorded 12 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks and one interception ... a two-time all-state honorable mention selection.
DL, Freshman, 6-7, 245, Colome, S.D./Colome High School
Earned three varsity letters for the Cowboys ... led the team in sacks his sophomore through senior seasons ... led the team in receiving yards and receptions his senior season ... finished with 190 career total tackles ... part of the 2012 Class 9B state runner-up team that went 10-2 ... also lettered three times in basketball and participated in rodeo ... son of Kenneth and Mary Pat Fawcett ... plans to major in elementary education.
OL, Freshman, 6-4, 295, Redfield, S.D./Redfield High School
A three-year starter and four-time letter winner for the Pheasants ... part of a team that went 7-3 his senior season ... recorded 15 tackles and three sacks ... earned all-conference honorable mention honors ... also lettered four times in wrestling ... recorded two top-five finishes at the Class B state wrestling tournament ... a member of the honor roll ... son of Justin and DeAnne Friese ... plans to major in business.
QB, Freshman, New Hope, Minn./Armstrong High School
A three-year starter and letter winner for the Falcons ... threw for 3,282 yards and 28 touchdowns in his career ... went 286-for-507 ... set the single-season passing record with 1,331 yards as a sophomore ... set the school single-game passing record with 382 yards as a senior ... earned all-conference accolades as a senior and honorable mention all-conference honors as a sophomore and junior ... also lettered three times in track ... a recipient of the 3.0 GPA award his sophomore through senior seasons ... a member of the leadership council ... son of Dave and Kim Frisell ... plans to major in education.
TE, Freshman, 6-4, 205, Gillette, Wyo./Campbell County High School
A two-time letter winner for the Camels ... recorded four sacks and three tackles for a loss as a senior ... named to the 4A East All-Conference First Team as a tight end and honorable mention as a defensive lineman ... also earned 4A First Team All-State honors as a tight end and was named to the Wyoming Super 25 Honorable Mention ... also lettered once in basketball ... will graduate as his class' salutatorian ... son of Matt and Tammi Fortuna ... plans to major in biology.
DL, Freshman, 6-5, 225, Burke, S.D./Burke High School
Recorded 70 tackles for the South Central Cougars ... also finished with eight tackles for a loss, five sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery ... a Class 9A All-State selection in 2012.
LB, Freshman, 6-0, 195, Parkston, S.D./Parkston High School
A three-time starter and letter winner for the Trojans ... ran for 800 yards and 12 touchdowns ... also finished with 121 tackles and four interceptions ... part of a team that went 17-5 in his final two seasons ... an all-state linebacker ... also lettered six times in wrestling and participated in baseball ... a four-time all-state wrestler ... a member of the honor roll ... son of Duane and Lisa Heisinger ... undecided on a major.
WR, Freshman, 6-4, 180, Casper, Wyo./Kelly Walsh High School
Comes to DWU from Kelly Walsh High School ... played wide receiver and defensive back in high school ... earned second team all-conference accolades at wide receiver as a senior ... also earned honorable mention all-conference honors as a return specialist ... named to the Super 25 Honorable Mention team ... also named an all-conference honorable mention defensive back in 2011.
K/WR, Sophomore, 5-9, 175, Dell Rapids, S.D./South Dakota State University
Returns to Dakota Wesleyan after one year at South Dakota State University ... did not play football for SDSU ... was part of the Tiger football team in 2012 ... a two-year starter and letter winner for Dell Rapids High School … part of the Quarriers' back-to-back Class 11A state title-winning teams in 2010 and 2011 … went 38-for-50 in extra points as a senior and 31-for-46 as a junior … averaged 44.9 yards on kickoff with a long of 60 yards … recorded 12 tackles at linebacker as a senior and seven as a junior … named special teams MVP as a junior and senior … also participated in wrestling ... son of Ryan Haskell and Jennifer Haskell ... a psychology major.
LB, Freshman, 6-1, 195, Onida, S.D./Sully Buttes High School
A four-time letter winner and three-year, two-way starter for the Chargers ... finished with 459 receiving yards and 11 touchdown catches as a senior ... earned all-conference accolades as a senior ... also lettered five times in basketball and three in track ... a four-year member of the honor roll ... son of Kevin and Joan Hofer ... plans to major in business.
RB, Freshman, 6-2, 185, Avon, S.D./Avon High School
Led the Pirates to an undefeated season and the Class 9B state title as a senior ... named back of the game in the state title game ... ran for 1,895 yards and 41 touchdowns and averaged more than 13 yards per carry in 2013 ... also returned three interceptions and two punt returns for touchdowns ... finished with 85 tackles and six interceptions on defense ... ran for 378 yards and six touchdowns in a single game as a senior ... named The Daily Republic Player-of-the-Year ... named to the Class 9B All-State team ... finished his career with 3,110 rushing yards.
OL, Freshman, 6-0, 270, Cheyenne, Wyo./Cheyenne Central High School
A three-time starter and letter winner for the Indians ... a first team all-conference pick and second team all-state offensive lineman in 2013 ... also earned all-conference honorable mention in 2012 ... a three-time academic letter winner ... also lettered once in track ... son of PJ and Marlene Macleary ... plans to major in secondary education.
QB, Junior, 6-0, 190, Saint Paul, Minn./Minnesota West Community College
Joins the Tigers with two years of eligibility remaining after playing two seasons at Minnesota West Community College ... threw for 1,500 yards and 12 touchdowns at Minnesota West ... also ran for five touchdowns ... recorded a 10-3 record as a starter ... earned second team all-division as a sophomore and honorable mention all-division as a freshman ... earned three varsity letters and was a two-year starter at Johnson Senior High School ... threw for 1,700 yards and 22 touchdowns in his senior season ... earned first team all-conference honors and honorable mention all-state accolades ... son of Dale and Tamara Massop ... a math major.
DL, Freshman, 6-3, 215, Wagner, S.D./Wagner High School
A three-year starter and four-time letter winner for the Red Raiders ... earned various all-state and all-conference awards throughout his career ... son of Todd and Angela Mattis ... plans to major in special education.
WR, Freshman, 5-4, 130, Los Lunas, N.M../University of New Mexico
Comes to DWU with freshman eligibility from the University of New Mexico ... earned three varsity letters and was a three-year starter for Belen High School ... was named to the all-metro and all-district teams in high school ... also lettered three times in baseball and earned all-state honors ... son of Chris Newey and Patricia Newey ... a biology major.
DL, Freshman, 6-3, 250, Casper, Wyo./Kelly Walsh High School
A three-time letter winner and two-year starter for the Trojans ... earned first- and second- team all-conference honors at both offensive and defensive line in his career ... also earned first team all-state offensive line and second team all-state defensive line honors ... lettered three times in both wrestling and track ... son of Tim and Dianne Pietrzak ... plans to major in secondary education.
DB, Freshman, 5-9, 170, Oldham, S.D./Oldham-Ramona High School
LB, Freshman, 6-0, 165, Burke, S.D./Burke High School
A four-year starter and letter winner for the South Central Cougars ... ran for 1,574 yards and 25 touchdowns as a senior ... also caught 16 passes for 296 yards and one touchdown and recorded 105 tackles ... named to the Class B All-State team as a punter as a senior ... ran for 3,161 yards and 50 touchdowns in his career ... also caught 24 passes for 414 yards and two touchdowns ... had 315 total tackles in four seasons ... team MVP and team captain ... also lettered six times in wrestling and three in golf ... a member of the National Honor Society and the honor roll ... son of Travis and Kathy Serr ... plans to major in athletic training.
DB, Freshman, 5-10, 175, Cedar Park, Texas/Vista Ridge High School
QB, Freshman, 6-1, 210, Salem, Ark./Salem High School
A three-year starter and letter winner for the Greyhounds ... completed 89 of 175 passes for 1,204 yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior ... also ran the ball 115 times for 904 yards and 17 touchdowns ... recorded 58 solo tackles and 19 assisted tackles as a senior in 2013 ... also had three sacks and two forced fumbles ... earned all-state and all-conference honors ... an all-star team selection ... part of the 2012 conference championship team that went 11-1 ... threw for 1,286 yards and 16 touchdowns and ran for 518 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior ... earned all-state honorable mention and all-conference honors ... threw for 1,288 yards and 16 touchdowns as a sophomore and ran for nine touchdowns ... earned all-conference accolades ... also lettered three times in baseball ... a member of the honor roll ... son of Matt and Jamie Turner ... plans to major in wildlife management.
TE, Freshman, 6-3, 230, Chanhassen, Minn./Chanhassen High School
A two-time starter and letter winner for the Storm ... recorded six catches for 60 yards and three touchdowns in 2013 ... also had 30 tackles and four sacks ... part of a team that went 7-3 in 2013 and won a conference title in 2012 ... also lettered twice in track ... a member of the honor roll ... son of Jim and Lori Wall ... plans to major in sports management.
DB, Freshman, 5-9, 175, Cherokee, Iowa/Washington High School
A three-time starter and letter winner for the Braves ... ran for 1,700 yards and 12 touchdowns in his career ... also finished his prep career with 201 tackles ... named first team all-district at defensive back in 2012 and first team all-district middle linebacker in 2013 ... selected to the 2014 Iowa All-Star Game ... also lettered three times in wrestling and track and twice in baseball ... a member of the honor roll ... son of Mike and Lori Zeiman ... plans to major in biology.