Incoming freshmen and transfer students started their first school year at South Dakota State this week, but incoming freshmen and transfers on the SDSU football team have been in Brookings since the beginning of August.
Two of them are Brandon and Jaden Snyder. Brandon, a senior graduate transfer, who played safety the last four years at the University of Iowa. Jaden is a freshman linebacker who was planning to join his brother at Iowa as a walk-on, but when Brandon decided to transfer, Jaden followed him.
Brandon said, growing up, multiple guys from his hometown of Larchwood, Iowa, went to SDSU to play football. Including his cousin Andrew Hoogeveen, who played from 2004-2007.
“I was up here a lot. I went to more SDSU games than any other college. So I kind of knew what the program was about with social media,” Brandon said. “They pride themselves on having their faith first and having a family atmosphere. So I knew when I started looking at other places that this is where I wanted to go.”
Since the Snyder brothers are five years apart, they will finally have a chance to play on the same team.
Brandon began his career at Iowa in 2014 as a walk-on. He started all 13 games for Iowa in 2016 and had 85 tackles, three interceptions and three forced fumbles. He has undergone three knee surgeries in the last seven months and SDSU’s season opener against Iowa State Sept. 1 will be just his second game in the last year and a half.
“I’m very excited to play Iowa State. Obviously coming from Iowa, they were our rival. So to have another shot at them, in kind of a different light, I’m excited for the opportunity,” Brandon said.
Brandon said he’s also excited for the opportunity to bond with his little brother both on and off the field.
“When you’re at college and isolated and not at home, there’s a lot of opportunity for (bonding) and growth. It’s going to make our relationship a lot stronger, that’s for sure,” Brandon said.
The Snyder brothers have been in Brookings for a few weeks and Jaden said they’ve already strengthened their relationship.
“Not having him around for four years, we didn’t really communicate as much as we’d like to. So now it’s been awesome having him here,” he said.
Brandon has gone through his fair share of struggles with the knee injuries, but he was also charged with an Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) on Dec. 10, 2017 in Iowa City, which led to his departure from Iowa.
He said he is looking to get back to his roots this season and help SDSU win an FCS Championship in Frisco, Texas.
“I’m going to try to help this team any way I can. Whatever my role may look like,” Brandon said. “I really want to get back to who I am and thankfully I can intertwine football with that.”
Head coach John Stiegelmeier said Brandon will likely play a lot since the Jacks lost both of their starting safeties to graduation.
“[Brandon] Snyder has looked really good and is ready to play,” he said.
Both Brandon and Jaden said the team has welcomed them with open arms and it’s been an easy transition.
“I feel like I’ve been here the whole time. Coach [Brian] Bergstrom has been awesome, coach Stiegelmeier, the whole defense really. They took me in with open arms and they’ve helped me learn really quickly and I’ve had a great experience so far,” Brandon said.