Historic recruiting class brings accomplishments, hope to a prospering Jackrabbit football program


Staff Reports

The Jackrabbit football officially welcomed 17 new football players to their program on Feb. 7, the national signing day.

With players signing from eight different states, Head Coach John Stiegelmeier’s programs continues to extend around the area.

The recruits for next’s years squad come highly decorated and with previous ties to the Jackrabbit football. One signee is a third-generation football player, while another new Jackrabbit joins his older brother on the football team.

This year’s class boasts the Nebraska Gatorade Player of the Year and the quarterback of the 11AA South Dakota state champion team.

While all of the 2007 recruits succeed on the football, many showed off their athletic ability by participating in, and often shining in other sports as well.

Coach Stiegelmeier sat down to discuss all of the recruits for an interview on gojacks.com. Here are a few exceprts of what he had to say about he 17 newest Jackrabbits.

James Britt, 6-1, 180, cornerback, The Colony, Texas“James Britt is a very skilled corner. … He’s really a skill guy, a speed guy, a quiet guy off the field and very intense on the field.”

Zach Buchner, 6-5, 280, offensive line, Coon Rapids, Minn.“Zach knows three languages. He’s an unbelievably well-balanced guy … but an excellent football player … an unbelievable guy and very intense also.”

Dominique Clare, 6-1, 215, running back, Delano, Minn.“Dom is a guy similar to Anthony Watson. … He’s a bigger guy. He’s got quick feet. He can move, but he’s more of a power guy, a very good athlete for his size. We’re looking to seeing him on the field.”

Jim Ebke, 6-1, 190, linebacker, Lincoln, Neb.“Jim Ebke, when I watched film on him … I said we got to have this guy. … As a quarterback he played like a linebacker, as a safety, he played like a linebacker. He’s a football player. … He’s a great individual.”

Erich Feller, 6-2, 195, safety, Charles City, Iowa“Erich Feller is one of my favorites because he was the first guy to commit to us. … Boy does he play hard in everything he does. … He’s a really good football player.”

Brandon Gant, 5-10, 185, wide receiver, Olathe, Kan.“Brandon is kind of a late guy in our recruiting. … Brandon’s a guy we recruited for about week and a half is all. … (A) great young man. … One of those kind of guys you want to find a way to get on the team, very skilled … I think he’s kind of a secret, a diamond in the rough. I look forward to him developing.”

Brad Iverson, 6-5, 190, quarterback, Sioux Falls, S.D.“Brad is a winner in every sense … His maturity is beyond some other guys … He’s a big guy and he can run. You look at this guy and you say ‘what can’t we do with this guy?’ … He’s a great academic guy. He’ll be a real picture of what we want as a student athlete.”

Sam Kavanagh, 6-5, 230, tight end, DeGraff, Minn.“(He’s a) great student-athlete … I think the sky’s the limit for Sam. He is eager. When he sat in my office, he just said ‘I want to be a Jackrabbit’ … You want those guys and luckily we were able to get him.”

John Kirwan, 6-2, 265, defensive line, Sioux City, Iowa “John is a mean football player. He’s not dirty, but he’s a physical guy … he’s got great athletic ability … he’s such a good football player we said we got to sign this guy because he’s going to make a difference … He proved to us that we can’t live without him.”

Dirk Kool, 6-3, 225, linebacker, Fairfield, Iowa“He was recruited by a lot of 1-A programs. He said early if it works out, he wants to be a Jackrabbit … He’s a much better athlete than his dad is … He is going to be a great linebacker.”

Brendan Luedtke, 6-5, 250, offensive line, Fifield, Wis. “Brendan fits South Dakota State … he’s a great, great football player … He too has a real upside.”

Rodkem Matthews, 6-0, 175, cornerback, Kansas City, Mo.“Rodkem is a guy who’s worked very hard. … He’s one of the few guys I visited with and there’s never a dull moment. … I am really excited about him because the sky’s the limit.”

Woody Orne, 6-5, 250, offensive line, Fairfield, Iowa“He’s another one of those guys I talked about with great athletic ability. He’s going to be huge someday … he’s just eager to learn … He too is going to be a great player.”

Teddy Shonka, 6-2, 205, wide receiver, Cedar Rapids, Iowa“His dad was a pro football scout, so he’s been around football a ton … He’s a tough wide receiver. He makes the tough catch. He blocks like a crazy man. He’s relentless. He’s going to take every opportunity he can to be as good as he can be.”

Jake Steffen, 6-4, 215, linebacker, Mount Vernon, S.D.“He’s a tough guy. He’s very intense. He runs very well for a guy that size. He is going to play a lot of football at South Dakota State.”

Anthony Wise, 6-2, 190, safety, The Colony, Texas“Anthony is the picture, again, of a student-athlete, a great communicator. He’s a physical guy. Again, a guy that wanted to be here.”

Eric Wood, 6-3, 215, defensive end, Flower Mound, Texas “He’s an athletic defensive end. … He’s the picture of what we wanted (at defensive end). … He’s very athletic. He’s very physical. … He’s been around a lot of football and when he fills out he’s going to be a dominant guy on the edge for us.”