‘A lot more than just being a good athlete’

JALEN WILSON Sports Reporter

With the off season in full swing, the football program is still on the grind. At least according to Head Coach John Stiegelmeier, who just finished up last week with 29 new players to his Jackrabbit squad. The Jacks finished national signing day with an abundance of fresh faces and new athletes to replenish a strong program.

“It’s a unique feeling, recruiting is a grind, a year-long deal. First feeling is that it is over, relief. We are excited for the guys that we are bringing into our program,” Stiegelmeier said, regarding the recruiting process. It’s not all about football in Stiegelmeier’s eyes who said there is a lot more than just being a good athlete to be a successful football player at SDSU.

“We start with 1,400 guys, narrowing it down through academics and obviously athletics. We get into the thing you can’t read on a resume. We try to get to know them as a person,” Stiegelmeier said.

Stiegelmeier feels that this group of incoming freshman have a commitment to football. This is going to be key for this class as there is a high expectation for a program that is a year removed from graduating one of the best players to ever play at SDSU in Zach Zenner.

Making adjustments won’t be easy. With the change of a high school schedule to a college schedule, attending practices and workouts and adjusting to a new environment are just some of the requirements of a college athlete.

“The biggest adjustment is the competitive environment. The mentality that you aren’t the best player anymore but you are one of many great athletes,” Stiegelmeier said.

He believes that this group of freshmen has a chance to make an immediate impact on his team next fall when they begin the season playing against Texas Christian University in Fort Worth Sept. 3, 2016.

“I do think we are going to play some of this class. Corner is going to be a spot that we will need some help at. It’s really about how they come in and how hard they work. The determining factor is do they learn the football that we are teaching them because there is so much more [than high school],” Stiegelmeier said.

The Jacks will host their second spring game in the Sanford-Jackrabbit Athletic Complex this spring. The date and time are still being determined. The Jacks should get a good taste of where they are as a football team and what they will need to work on heading into that first game at TCU.

“We are looking to get better,” Stiegelmeier said, “we got to get the whole team ready for the season.”