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

Jacks football: key losses, returnees

ABBY FULLENKAMP Junior wide receiver Jacob Brown (1) caught five passes for 97 yards and a touchdown.

This is a breakdown of what the Jacks look like position by position.


Key returnee: Senior Taryn Christion

Key loss: Dalton Douglas

Christion connected on nine of his 17 attempts for 160 yards and two touchdowns during the Spring Game.

“Taryn is still getting used to some of the receivers,” head coach John Stiegelmeier said.

He’ll be the clear-cut starting quarterback when the regular season starts. But the question remains, who will be the second-string?

“They are all batting for the number two spot, nobody has separated themselves,” Stiegelmeier said.

There are three quarterbacks competing for the spot, including sophomore Kanin Nelson, junior Justin Roberts and redshirt freshman Ethan Bullock.

With Christion being a senior, the second string quarterback could be the starter in 2019.

Running backs

Key returnees: Senior Isaac Wallace, redshirt junior Mikey Daniel

Key loss: Brady Mengarelli

Despite losing Mengarelli, who led the team with 849 rushing yards, the running back depth for the Jacks is one of their strengths.

Returning for the Jacks are Wallace and Daniel, who have contrasting styles of play. Daniel finds success running up the middle and in short yardage situations, while Wallace thrives on the corner and in the open field.

The depth at running back will be provided by multiple underclassmen, one being redshirt freshman Pierre Strong, who ran for 60 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown during the Spring Game.

“He’s going to have to battle to play,” Stiegelmeier said. “He’s going to have to establish himself on the depth chart as number three.”

Sophomores C.J. Roths and Blair Mulholland also look to give depth to the running back corps this season.

Wide Receiver

Key returnees: Junior Jacob Brown, junior Marquise Lewis, senior Alex Wilde

Key loss: Jake Wieneke

The one loss at the receiving corps is a significant one — anytime you lose an NFL talent like Wieneke, it will be.

Brown, Lewis and Wilde will look to fill the void that Wieneke left. Brown had the catch of the night at the spring game when he made a one-handed catch in full stride. He ended the night with five catches for 97 yards and two touchdowns.

Tight End

Key returnees: Sophomore Skyler Cavanaugh, junior Kallan Hart

Key loss: Dallas Goedert

Another position that lost a lot of talent, but has two returnees that can fit in nicely. Cavanaugh and Hart are two different players. Cavanaugh is more of a route runner, where Hart is a blocking first tight end.

Cavanaugh caught 12 passes last season, which was second in tight end receptions for the Jacks.

“He’s got to improve. He has the skill set to make plays, but he’s got to get bigger and stronger,” Stiegelmeier said.

A player to watch from the tight end corps will be Caleb Shauf, a redshirt freshman from Sparta, Wisconsin, who had a big spring for the Jacks.

Offensive Line

Key returnees: Senior Sepestiano Pupungatoa, senior Tyler Weir, junior Wes Genant

Key losses: Charlie Harmon, Jacob Ohnesorge

This might be the biggest question mark on the Jacks roster. The Jacks lost two of their top performers on the offensive line.

“You saw our lack of depth in the scrimmage,” Stiegelmeier said. “We are two starters out (Weir and Pupungatoa) but still there’s not a lot of guys there.”

Defensive Line

Key returnees: Junior Ryan Earith, senior Chase Kern,

Key loss: Kellen Soulek

The Jacks return Ryan Earith, who led the defensive line with five sacks for 34 yards and wreaked havoc in the backfield against Missouri Valley Football teams.

“We have to get two defensive ends that can rush the passer consistently, I know that will happen, I feel good about the defensive line,” Stiegelmeier said.


Key returnees: Junior Christian Rozeboom, senior Dalton Cox

Key loss: None

With Christian Rozeboom returning and leading the linebackers for the Jacks, they will be in good hands. A linebacker squad that had a solid 2017 campaign looks to get better.

Sophomores Logan Backhaus, Noah Urbanek and Seven Wilson all received valuable experience during the 2017 season and look to improve on their freshman year.


Key returnees: Senior Jordan Brown, senior Alex Romenesko, junior Marshon Harris

Key losses: Anthony Washington, Nick Farina, Chris Balster.

They might have lost some talent in the secondary, but their depth grew. This might be the second deepest position for the Jacks — only to the running back corps.

“There are good players at the safety positions, just not much experience,” Stiegelmeier said. “Makiah Slade, Romensko, it’s their turn.”

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