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DWU anticipates around 34 new recruits today

Dakota Wesleyan University football head coach Ross Cimpl anticipates around 34 new athletes to sign with the Tigers today on National Signing Day. Cimpl added he was still waiting to hear from several potential recruits, so the total number isn'...

Dakota Wesleyan University football coach Ross Cimpl coaches during a game last November against Concordia at Joe Quintal Field in Mitchell. (Republic file photo)
Dakota Wesleyan University football coach Ross Cimpl coaches during a game last November against Concordia at Joe Quintal Field in Mitchell. (Republic file photo)

Dakota Wesleyan University football head coach Ross Cimpl anticipates around 34 new athletes to sign with the Tigers today on National Signing Day.

Cimpl added he was still waiting to hear from several potential recruits, so the total number isn't definite as of yet.

"I think we've got about five or six other guys who are still making decisions yet," Cimpl said. "We have a pretty good number already and a really great class that we're shaping up here."

A complete list of DWU recruits will be announced Wednesday. Of the 34 recruits, Cimpl said 20 were South Dakota athletes, eight were from Nebraska, three from Minnesota and three from Wyoming.

"We did pretty well in Sioux Falls this year," Cimpl said. "The most local kids, we're still trying to nail down. But right now, we don't have any real local guys committed yet, just guys of the Sioux Falls area, Brookings, Madison and Pierre."

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DWU will graduate 14 seniors from its 2015 roster, a senior class including impact players such as linebacker Brady Bonte, kicker/punter Daniel Porter, safety Zachary Thiel, defensive end Sam Kiger, tight end Trevor Schroeder and offensive linemen Taylor Hayley, Ryan Anderson, Calvin Hunhoff and Jonathan Knight.

Entering his fifth year as the Tigers' head coach, Cimpl said the target for the 2016 recruiting class was offensive and defensive linemen, but the Tigers also added depth at running back and wide receiver.

"We've filled a lot of those (linemen) needs," Cimpl said. "A position that has come out of nowhere with talented kids are offensive skill positions. Right now, we have some guys at those positions that pretty talented cats. But we loaded up on skill positions, offensively especially."

Defensively, Cimpl said the Tigers have added several playmakers to their linebacker core.

"There's a solid group there," Cimpl said. "This is probably the best linebacking group we've ever put together in one class."

He echoed the same sentiment about the entire group.

"We went into this class hoping for 30-35 players, and that would put us at the biggest number of athletes this fall we've ever had," Cimpl said. "The overall talent from top to bottom, and I know I said this last year, but this is talent-wise, probably our best class."

A big pitch to DWU recruits on the fence of where to play collegiately was to play for a team that just missed out on the NAIA playoffs, coming off a 9-2 season.

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"It didn't hurt, I know that for a fact," he said, of the team's success. "I also think when guys get on our campus and see the new wellness center and get a chance to meet our players, they usually know the players on our roster. That usually gives it a family-like atmosphere, and those are things that guys want to be a part of. We're bringing in guys that have been part of state championships and know how to win."

Cimpl didn't reveal any names of his recruits during an interview, but the Tigers' Twitter account has hinted heavily at some of DWU's recruits. Some of the headliners from South Dakota are Sioux Falls Washington running back Chayden Fitzsimmons and running back/linebacker Jenson Amdahl, Sioux Falls Roosevelt defensive lineman Manny Christopher, Brookings offensive/defensive lineman Matt Mason and running back/defensive back Braydin Sik, Madison running back/linebacker Matthew Palli and running back/linebacker Brodie Frederiksen and Pierre running back/linebacker Layne Hohn.

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