The finishing touches were put on the Dakota Wesleyan University football team’s 2020 recruiting class. It landed three more commitments since Monday, having 46 recruits sign their national letter of intent on Wednesday.
Coming off back-to-back losing seasons, including 3-8 last year, DWU coach Ross Cimpl is excited about the import of talent, which saw the Tigers dip into the transfer market and find more than half of its class outside of South Dakota.
DWU signed 19 South Dakota recruits, with eight from California, four from Idaho and three from Wyoming and Nebraska. Its recruiting class spanned 12 states.
“We’re at a point right now where we got to make a decision as a program of what we want to be and what type of kids we need to bring in here that will get us to the level we feel like we need to be at, and quite frankly, we have come up short in that area the last couple of seasons,” Cimpl said. “I know the players that we have on our campus right now are not happy where we’re at, and they got work to do. We have to enhance what we have already here with new guys.”
DWU emphasizes defensive depth, and Cimpl expects freshmen to have a chance to contribute right away. The Tigers played more than 30 defensive players last season, and it needs to replace six defensive starters.
“If we want to play that amount of guys, we’re going to need some bodies coming in as freshmen and play,” Cimpl said. “... College football is so different now -- up-tempo, no huddle -- and the amount of plays you’re seeing defensively, you have to be two- or three-deep at every position to feel like you can keep guys fresh, keep guys healthy.”
Christian Alvarez (defensive back) and Kevin Riu (defensive lineman) signify two positions DWU focused on this recruiting cycle. They’re both incoming transfers already on campus. In total, the Tigers signed 20 defensive players.
“To be able to get guys in your system early is something we need to be able to do,” Cimpl said. “We may have to look at (the transfer market) even after Signing Day if we still have some spots to fill.”
The Tigers graduated fewer starters on the offensive end. Canova native Luke Loudenburg and Ben Gustad leave holes at running back and right tackle, respectively, but the Tigers developed depth at both positions last season.
Still, DWU has continued to put an emphasis on its offensive line and skill players. Hayden Dinger is a 6-foot-1, 260-pound transfer offensive lineman from Glendale (California) Community College, representing one of nine offensive linemen.
“I think overall, those four positions (offensive line, defensive line, secondary and wide receiver) we did a really good job with,” Cimpl said.
Cimpl emphasizes bringing in at least one quarterback per class, too, even after having four redshirt-sophomore or younger signal callers last year. The Tigers landed three, including transfer Jimmie Garewal from Central Methodist in Missouri. It’s the second straight year DWU brought in a transfer quarterback.
They also signed Kimball/White Lake tight end Justin Becker, who caught 69 passes for 1,316 yards and 14 touchdowns in his career. Wagner wideout Preston Nedved joins the Tigers, as well as Mitchell kicker Trevor Lambert.
“I think we’ve done a nice job of explaining our expectations to our current players and new players,” Cimpl said. “Hopefully that turns into a good group of kids that are working hard to accomplish our goals and get us back into the top half of the conference.”
DWU also signed in-state linebackers Cobey Carr (Pierre), Matthew Moen (Sisseton), Avery Nordbye (Baltic), Carter Rentz (Dell Rapids) and Jaiden Walton (Rapid City). Defensive linemen Jacob Johnson (Spearfish), Caleb Maciejewski (Hot Springs) and Connor Tapia (Tea) signed, along with offensive linemen Wesley Folsom (Rapid City) and Andrew Kortemeyer (Custer).
Offensively, DWU landed fullback Isaac Cliff (Fort Pierre), wide receivers Richard Lamont (Wanblee), Austin Moen (Roslyn) and Gavin Spurrell (Irene). Tight end Todd Obele (Selby) and kicker Adam Nuno (Elk Point) also signed.
2020 DWU football recruiting class
Darian Allen: 6-2, 165, Mission Hills, Calif., DB; Christian Alvarez: 5-8, 150, Saugus, Calif., DB; Lowden Askins: 6-2, 200, Sheridan, Wyo., WR; Justin Becker: 6-7, 215, White Lake, TE; Nathaniel Berg: 6-1, 200, Meridian, Idaho, TE; Aaron Black: 5-10, 175, Omak, Wash., DB; Terance Burrell: 6-0, 200, Creighton, Neb., DE; Cobey Carr: 5-8, 180, Pierre, LB; Isaac Cliff: 5-10, 195, Ft. Pierre, FB; Hayden Dinger: 6-1, 260, Glendale, Calif., OL; Hunter Eyton: 5-8, 160, Meridian, Idaho, DB; Logan Feuerbach: 5-9, 180, Loxahatchee, Fla., WR; Wesley Folsom: 6-6, 255, Rapid City, OL; Jimmie Garewal: 5-11, 190, San Jose, Calif., QB; Alec Gray: 5-11, 170, Boise, Idaho, QB; Cade Griffitts: 5-10, 200, Glenrick, Wyo., LB; Donte Jacobsen: 6-2, 175, Pine Bluffs, Wyo., WR; Jacob Johnson: 6-3, 245, Spearfish, DL;T.J. Kitson: Sandy, Utah, OL; Andrew Kortemeyer: 6-4, 290, Custer, OL; Trevor Lambert: 5-10, 195, Mitchell, K; Richard Lamont: 6-0, 185, Wanblee, WR; Austin Lee: 6-1, 175, San Antonio, Texas, QB; Lamar Ludy: 6-3, 295, Oxnard, Calif., OL; Caleb Maciejewski: 6-0, 260, Hot Springs, DL; Garrett Mandolfo: 5-8, 185, Omaha, Neb, RB; Agustin Medina: 6-0, 215, Pacoima, Calif., LB; Austin Moen: 6-2, 170, Roslyn, WR; Matthew Moen: Sisseton, LB; Jarien Montgomery: 6-2, 315, Kansas City, Mo., OL; Preston Nedved: 5-11, 170, Wagner, WR; Avery Nordbye: 5-10, 180, Baltic; Adam Nuno: 5-9, 125, Elk Point, K; Todd Obele: 6-1, 215, Selby, TE; Christopher Parker: 5-10, 160, Pacoima, Calif., DB; Dustyn Paulson: 6-1, 245, Lodi, Wis., OL; Carter Rentz: 5-6, 190, Dell Rapids, LB; Kevin Riu: 6-2, 220, Moorpark, Calif., DE; Aydan Round: 6-3, 185, Dodge Center, Minn., DB; Joshua Seibert: 6-2, 195, Bruno, Neb., LB; Gavin Spurrell: 6-0, 150, Irene, WR; Trent Suckut: 6-0, 225, Bothell, Wash., OL; Connor Tapia: 5-10, 230, Tea, DL; Jonathan Tellez: 6-1, 310, Jerome, Idaho, OL; Jaiden Walton: 6-0, 225, Rapid City, LB; Jacob Zamora: 6-2, 160, Sylmar, Calif., DB.