South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

Football superstars prepare for draft, scouting combine

Abby Fullenkamp
FILE PHOTO Senior wide receiver Jake Wieneke (19) runs the ball toward the endzone during the first half of the game against UNI Dec. 2.

Dallas Goedert and Jake Wieneke aim to pull off a first for the Jackrabbit football program.

Never before have two South Dakota State players been drafted at the same time. But with two careers full of highlights and the intense preparation regimens they have undertaken since late December, Goedert and Wieneke could hear their name called in the NFL draft April 26 to 28 in Arlington, Texas.

NFL scouts and analysts consider Goedert a top tight end prospect, likely to be picked in the late first or early second round. Wieneke could be picked between the fourth and seventh round. He is more of a sleeper pick.

The former Jackrabbits hope to improve their draft potential at the NFL Scouting Combine this weekend in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The SDSU standouts haven’t had much time to rest since the Jacks went deep into the playoffs, before losing to James Madison University in December. The process of signing with agents and training started right after Christmas.

The two former teammates arrived at nationally known training facilities in late December to begin preparation for the annual NFL Combine that starts later this week and runs through March 5 in Indianapolis. Goedert is training in Irvine, California, and Wieneke in McKinney, Texas.

With about two months to get ready for the draft, preparation is a bit different than the average athlete would imagine. Goedert said he hasn’t “touched a squat rack” since he got to Irvine.

“We are working on being explosive, being fast,” he said. “Doing that will be more beneficial than gaining five pounds of muscle.”

Wieneke said much of his energy is being directed toward quickness, speed and agility.

“In the mornings we have speed workouts, we squat narrow to help us be explosive,” he said.

A full day of training, eating, watching films of their practices and resting is typical for NFL hopefuls. Nutritious meals are prepared for the athletes, their living arrangements are taken care of and transportation is provided, leaving all their focus on football.

Goedert said the new schedule was difficult in the beginning, and he dreamt of Twinkies and Big Macs when he first arrived.

“After seeing results of eating healthy and working out, it became easier to stick with it,” he said. “My body fat percentage has gone down, and my lean body mass has gone up.”

The Britton, South Dakota, native pulled his hamstring during practice for the Reese’s Senior Bowl and had to forfeit a key week of proving himself to scouts and NFL coaches. But he is hoping to be healthy at the combine.

For Wieneke, the scouting combine will be a means of proving he can compete athletically to improve his stock.

“I think Jake’s biggest thing will be to show where he is at with athletic ability,” head football coach John Stiegelmeier said. “The thing that he can still improve on is foot quickness and change of direction movements.”

Wienke said the 40-yard dash will be the most crucial drill at the combine. He hopes to finish with a time of 4.4 or 4.5 seconds.

Goedert wants to impress scouts with his overall athleticism. He is looking to run the 40-yard-dash in under 4.7 seconds despite the pulled hamstring. It will be a difficult goal to hit, considering only one tight-end was able to break the 4.7 barrier last year.

“My other goals are to get a 36-inch vertical [jump], 10-foot broad jump, and get 25 reps on the bench press [225 pounds],” Goedert said.

Stieglemeier said Goedert’s biggest challenge likely won’t be the combine itself, but instead the rigors of the NFL season.

“Toughness, blocking, it’s a whole other beast [in the NFL],” Stieglemeier said.

Mostly questioned for his blocking by scouts and NFL teams, Goedert will have to prove his ability in those aspects of the game in due time.

The combine however, is just one part of the four-month-long journey to becoming a professional.

Considered as the top tight end in this year’s draft, Goedert has talked to every pro team. Wieneke was exposed to many scouts who took notice of his skills during the East-West Shrine Game and he has talked to about half of the 32 NFL teams.

Goedert would like to go in the late first round, but first and foremost, he just wants to make it into the NFL. Right now, he said, it is “up in the air.”

“There have been teams who have never talked to guys, then they wind up taking them in the first round,” Goedert said.

Wieneke hopes to get drafted closer to home.

“I’d love to be back home playing for the Vikings, that’d be a dream come true,” he said.

Whatever happens in the upcoming weeks and months for these two, both said they have been grateful for the experience and opportunities.

“Opportunity of a lifetime,” Stiegelmeier said.

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