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DWU hosts signing party for 2014 football recruits

Members of the Dakota Wesleyan University 2014 football recruiting class and their families gathered at Blarney’s Sports Bar and Grill Saturday to celebrate the signing of 25 new recruits.

Among the recruits in attendance was Colome defensive lineman Lane Fawcett. The 6-foot-7 245-pounder represents the focus of DWU football coach Ross Cimpl’s class -- get bigger and stronger in the trenches.

“When you look at heights and weights we have added, there are some guys who are pretty big,” Cimpl said. “We have impact players, but we also have a lot of guys who are in that 6-foot-4 to 6-foot-5 range. We have added some big body guys who can really do some things. Now we just have to get them to learn our system.”

The class boasts seven players on the defensive line and offensive line, including Burke/South Central’s Sam Hazen and Wagner’s Joseph Mattis. Hazen played recorded 70 tackles for the Cougars this season and was a Class 9A all-state selection in 2012. Mattis, a three-year starter for Wagner, comes to DWU after earning Class 11B all-state honors in 2012.

“They recruited me to play defensive line,” Fawcett said. “Hopefully, I get a lot of playing time since they graduated a lot of guys.”

Fawcett joins his high school teammate Cohl Ratterman, who saw time on the defensive line last season for the Tigers.

“It is going to be a lot fun getting back in there with a guy that I grew up with in high school and junior high school,” Fawcett added.

Cimpl said he wanted to make sure he locked top prospects in the area. The coach, who is coming off his second-straight winning season, did just that by securing Parkston linebacker Mitch Heisinger, Avon’s Brandon Kocmich, Bon Homme’s Dakota Bodden and Burke/South Central’s Turner Serr.

Cimpl plans on adding more pieces to the recruiting class in the near future.

“I am happy about the amount of local guys that we got,” Cimpl said. “We did a good job in South Dakota this year with guys we feel can be impact guys. We have some offers still out for some local guys who are playing basketball and wrestling, but we feel good about the guys we have signed already.”

Bodden, Heisinger and Serr will all play on the defensive side of the ball, while Kocmich will likely play offense. Bodden, a safety, earned Class 11B all-state honors last season, after rushing for 907 yards. Heisinger, a linebacker, record 121 tackles and four interceptions this season to help lead the Trojans to a runner-up finish in the Class 11B state title game.

Serr was a force on both sides of the ball, tallying 1,574 yards and 25 touchdowns on the ground and 105 tackles. But with the Tigers, Serr will be exclusively at linebacker.

“There is not much difference in playing running back and linebacker. You have to be hard-nosed,” Serr said. “At linebacker, you have to be gunning for the ball all the time and at running back you have to find the holes.”

The Tigers finished 8-3 last year, which is the most wins recorded by a Wesleyan football team since 1992, when DWU won 10 games.

Here is a list of Dakota Wesleyan University’s first 25 football recruits for the 2014 season.

Hayden Adams: WR, freshman, 6-1, 175, Villa Park, Ill./Willowbrook High School

Ryan Anderson: OL, junior, 6-1, 245, South San Francisco, Calif./College of San Mateo

Dakota Bodden: DB, freshman, 5-9, 180, Tabor, SD/Bon Homme High School

Jaden Denison: LB, freshman, 6-1, 205, Lake Preston, SD/Lake Preston High School

Lane Fawcett: DL, freshman, 6-7, 245, Colome, SD/Colome High School

Cody Friese: OL, freshman, 6-4, 295, Redfield, SD/Redfield High School

Quinn Frisell: QB, freshman, New Hope, Minn./Armstrong High School

Tyler Fortuna: TE, freshman, 6-4, 205, Gillette, Wyo./Campbell County High School

Sam Hazen: DL, freshman, 6-5, 225, Burke, SD/Burke High School

Mitch Heisinger: LB, freshman, 6-0, 195, Parkston, SD/Parkston High School

Turner Hiatt: WR, freshman, 6-4, 180, Casper, Wyo./Kelly Walsh High School

Gus Haskell: K/WR, sophomore, 5-9, 175, Dell Rapids, SD/South Dakota State University

Lewis Hofer: LB, freshman, 6-1, 195, Onida, SD/Sully Buttes High School

Brandon Kocmich: RB, freshman, 6-2, 185, Avon, SD/Avon High School

Damon Macleary: OL, freshman, 6-0, 270, Cheyenne, Wyo./Cheyenne Central High School

Logan Massop: QB, junior, 6-0, 190, St. Paul, Minn./Minnesota West Community College

Joseph Mattis: DL, freshman, 6-3, 215, Wagner, SD/Wagner High School

Christopher Newey: WR, freshman, 5-4, 130, Los Lunas, NM/University of New Mexico

Alexander Pietrzak: DL, freshman, 6-3, 250, Casper, Wyo./Kelly Walsh High School

Dustin Riedel: DB, freshman, 5-9, 170, Ramona, SD/Oldham-Ramona High School

Turner Serr: LB, freshman, 6-0, 165, Burke, SD/Burke High School

Nick Stevenson: DB, freshman, 5-10, 175, Cedar Park, Texas/Vista Ridge High School

Dillon Turner: QB, freshman, 6-1, 210, Salem, Ark./Salem High School

James Wall: TE, freshman, 6-3, 230, Chanhassen, Minn./Chanhassen High School

Luke Zeiman: DB, freshman, 5-9, 175, Cherokee, Iowa/Washington High School