Selling the Jackrabbits the ?old-fashioned way?

Marcus Traxler

Marcus TraxlerAssistant Sports Editor

It’s probably the same question everyone’s asked when they make the decision to come here. Why SDSU?

However, for non-athletes, there aren’t web sites, fans, or coaches waiting on that decision. The high level of attention that comes with college football recruiting has arrived in Brookings with the Jacks moving to Division I. That may not have been any more visible than this year, with the Jacks landing recruits from 10 different states.

The coaching staff has the complex task of narrowing down a list of nearly 1,400 recruits, sorting through phone calls, letters, and film to trim the list to about 50 on-campus visits. In the end, the football team will gather about 25 commitments in each recruiting class.

“Time,” said SDSU head coach John Stiegelmeier. “Our coaching staff puts a ton of time and energy into looking at kids and looking for guys who have character and fit with what we’re about about at SDSU.”

A sophomore wide receiver from Yankton, Tyrel Kool said the staff was very honest in their assessment of him and looked in the best interest of the individual, not the football player.

“The thing that really sold them on me was talking to Coach Stig and Coach Meadows, they said, “Hey, I know you want to go somewhere bigger and we think you probably have the talent to. But you know what, we like the way you play football. We like what you bring to the table,'” Kool said.

SDSU’s recruiting resources have improved in the last few years with the addition of the $6 million Dykhouse Student-Athlete Center and the improved level of play in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. The usual knocks on the Midwest about weather and corn fields are prevalent in recruiting, but the staff makes prospective players know right away what SDSU is all about.

“If you’re worried about superficial things like that, we’re probably not a very good fit anyway,” Stiegelmeier said.

Having top-notch facilities benefit recruiting too, and Stiegelmeier says that future facility upgrades are part of the plan. But the biggest pitch for the Jackrabbits is the people.

“We think that is going to be our advantage. We truly downplay our facilities, which people will match you, but I don’t know if they can match you with the type of people we have here. We really like to get the guys around our players a bunch, because they are good people and they get a family feeling from those guys because that’s what we create here,” Stiegelmeier said.

According to Stiegelmeier, nobody on campus sells Jackrabbit football better than the current players themselves and Kool says that the players are very straight with recruits.

“When I have a recruit, I basically tell it how it is and say, “Hey, we’re not a big D-I school. We don’t have all the extra luxury things that the Texas’ and Oregon’s or even the NDSU’s have. We like to run the ball and we’re just going to win games the oldfashioned way. But at the same time, our coaches are going to put our players in positions where they can be effective and ultimately where its going to help us win games.”