Football seniors will be missed on and off the field

Casey Wonnenberg

Casey Wonnenberg

Fifteen seniors finished their SDSU football careers with a 30-14 victory against Northern Colorado on Nov. 19. Through the last four years, the football team has had a 25-18 record.

“This will be a huge loss to our football program because of what they brought to the team,” said Head Football Coach John Stiegelmeier. “The senior class was a picture of what we expect from our players. They served leadership roles on and off the field.”

Stiegelmeier said the senior class averaged a GPA above 3.0. Mitch Klein, a senior free safety, has maintained a 4.0 GPA. Klein was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District First Team for two years. John Perry, a senior safety, earned academic All-Great West Football Conference and was an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District Second Team honoree in 2004. Mike Murphy, a senior kicker and safety, is a Briggs scholar.

On the field, the senior football players have also succeeded. Josh Davis, a senior wide receiver, holds the SDSU record for career pass receptions. As a redshirt freshman, Davis captured the single-game receiving record. In his junior year, Davis was named to the first team All-North Central Conference Team and led the league in reception yards per game. Senior offensive guard Paul Keizer earned all-conference honors in 2003 and 2004. Other seniors have earned second team and honorable mention All-Great West Football Conference honors.

Every senior has played a role on the team.

“Football is really a team sport,” said Stiegelmeier. “It isn’t ‘this guy’ or ‘that guy.'”

Throughout the past four or five years, the seniors have really gotten to know each other.

“It’s amazing how close you get with a group of guys,” said Keizer. “What I’ll miss most is not being able to step on the field with them day in and day out.”

“I’ve had so many memories with the senior class,”said senior cornerback Hank McCall. “No matter what was going on as far as our record, we always had fun.”

The senior class has had to provide leadership in many situations, including the transition to Division I. The seniors were recruited to play at the Division-II level. However, by their junior year, they were competing at a higher level.

“A lot of people expected us to flounder at the D-I level,” said McCall. “We had added pressure to prove that we would not. As a team, we rose to the challenge by giving 100 percent each week.”

After donning the blue and yellow jerseys together throughout their collegiate careers, each senior will now go his separate way. The team will have to fill the fifteen lost pairs of shoes.

“They’ve brought some really great classes in, and they’re going to do well,” said McCall. “I can’t wait to come back and see this program continue to grow and succeed.”