The Dakota Wesleyan University football team reloaded up front on Wednesday.
The Tigers signed 33 players-including seven offensive linemen-on National Signing Day, while also finding pieces around it in the process.
"We lost four starters and five total guys," DWU coach Ross Cimpl said. "So just in terms of body, depth and experience, we lost a lot so we needed to bring in some quality kids. I think we did that."
DWU found talent in multiple states to help replenish its offensive line, including returning starter Dawson Grotjohn's younger brother, Parker, who is from Stewartville, Minnesota, and is recovering from a knee injury.
Along with Brendan Jordan-an all-state lineman in Wyoming-and Sebastian Garcia (Redmond, Wash.) in the seven-lineman class, the Tigers also found a potential difference maker in the transfer market. Malcolm Mueller, who is originally from Germany, announced his transfer on Monday from Trinity International University (Ill.), where he spent the last two seasons.
"When he came and visited, he tested extremely well, so we're excited to see him run around and move," Cimpl said about the 6-foot-4, 285-pound Mueller. "And the experience of playing in a game gives him an advantage of learning our system and learning what needs to get done."
They'll have to block for a new signal caller, though. DWU doesn't return any quarterbacks from last year's team, as Shaye Slaughter graduated and Zachary Lester is still on campus but focusing on his academics.
Therefore, one of the four quarterbacks signed Wednesday will take the reins. DWU added Mitchell High School three-year starter Kiel Nelson, along with Jordan Etter (Spanaway, Wash.), Michael Dameron (Fort Worth, Texas) and Kansas Wesleyan University transfer quarterback Anthony De La Torre.
Etter broke his high school's all-time passing record, while Dameron recorded 3,490 passing yards and 889 rushing yards as a senior.
"It's going to be a competition in fall camp to see who can win the job," Cimpl said. "Obviously Anthony has a head start in terms of learning and getting reps because he's here and able to do those things right now. We'll probably have a new signal caller next fall."
Defensively, the Tigers return plenty of depth on the defensive line. However, in order to fare better against power-run teams, DWU tried to bulk up its line. It found that in 6-foot-3 Samuel Henderson (Buena Park, Calif.), along with 6-foot-2 Romeon Greve (Kirkland, Wash.).
Although, Cimpl highlighted Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan's Carter Dye, who is 6-foot-3, as a potential difference maker from the start. Dye finished his Seahawk career with 241 tackles and 22 sacks as a two-year starter, while Henderson had 76 tackles and 13 sacks as a senior.
"I think Carter Dye is quite possibly one of the most underrated lineman in the state of South Dakota," Cimpl said. "He's a really good football player, and we're expecting some pretty big things out of him. We think he can come in and play as a true freshmen."
The Tigers also added wide receivers Matthew Norton, of Hot Springs, and Tripp-Delmont/Armour/Andes Central/Dakota Christian's Daaron Tronvold on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, rounding out its wide receiver group. Yankton's Rex Ryken and Watertown's Garrett Determan also signed.
Mitchell's Kiel Nelson, Carter Max and Maxwell Schoenfelder also signed with the Tigers, as well as BEE's Jamin Arend, Menno's Trey Bohlmann, Wolsey-Wessington's Seth Spiehs, Watertown's Adam DeJong and Hunter Cordell and Dillon Gard, of Sioux Falls Washington.
"It's a class that gives us a really good starting point," Cimpl said. "Obviously there's a couple of more spots we want to fill yet, but we have a really good start on some really good kids."
2019 DWU football recruiting class
(players are incoming freshman, unless noted)
Jamin Arend: 6-0, 185, Emery, Bridgewater-Emery HS, RB; Trey Bohlmann: 6-2, 220, Menno, Menno HS, LB; Cooper Caskey: 6-0, 210, Norfolk, Neb., Norfolk HS, TE; Hunter Cordell: 5-9, 165, Watertown, Watertown HS, S; Michael Dameron: 5-9, 185, Fort Worth, Texas, Castleberry HS, QB; Adam DeJong: 5-11, 185, Watertown, Watertown HS, S; Garrett Determan: 6-0, 150, Watertown, Watertown HS, WR; Jack Diaz: 6-0, 205, Royal City, Wash., Royal HS, LB; Austin Dueman: 6-2, 275, Cashmere, Wash., Cashmere HS, OL; Carter Dye: 6-3, 230, Emery, Bridgewater-Emery HS, DL; Jordan Etter: 6-1, 165, Spanaway, Wash., Spanaway Lake HS, QB; Sebastian Garcia: 6-2, 310, Redmond, Wash., Juanita HS, OL; Dillon Gard: 5-11, 200, Sioux Falls, Sioux Falls Washington, LB; Camyron Gaulke: 6-2, 215, Lakewood, Wash., Lakes HS, LB; Romeon Greve: 6-2, 215, Kirkland, Wash., Juanita HS, DL; Parker Grotjohn: 6-1, 275, Stewartville, Minn., Stewartville HS, OL; Samuel Henderson: 6-3, 275, Buena Park, Calif., Pacifica HS, DL; Carter Ibanez: 5-11, 265, Kirkland Wash., John F. Kennedy Catholic, OL; Brendan Jordan: 6-0, 270, Gillette, Wyo., Thunder Basin HS, OL; Carter Max: 6-0, 215, Mitchell, Mitchell HS, FB; Malcolm Mueller: 6-4, 285, Saarland, Germany, OL; Kiel Nelson: 6-3, 185, Mitchell, Mitchell HS, QB; Chance Newton: 5-11, 170, Ewing, Mo., Highland HS, DB; Matthew Norton: 6-1, 160, Hot Springs, Hot Springs HS, WR; T'ziah Owens: 5-9, 197, Brooklyn, NY, Midwood HS, LB; Joshua Posten: 5-8, 170, Torrington, Wyo., Torrington HS, RB; Rex Ryken: 6-2, 210, Yankton, Yankton HS, WR; Maxwell Schoenfelder: 5-11, 195, Mitchell, Mitchell HS, LB; Matthew Schwaerzler: 6-1, 195, Auburn Wash., Fife HS, FB; Seth Spiehs: 5-11, 250, Wolsey, Wolsey-Wessington HS, OL; Cale Strong: 6-0, 185, Norfolk, Neb., Norfolk Senior HS, S; Anthony De La Torre: Jr., 6-5, 210, Huntington Beach, Calif., Marina HS, QB; Daaron Tronvold: 6-2, 160, Lake Andes, Andes Central HS, WR