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Recruiting connection helped Reed Rus commit to University of South Dakota football

Division I goal has been long-held by Rus, who starred for the Titans on both sides of the ball

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Mount Vernon/Plankinton's Reed Rus (18) carries the ball in the open field with teammates Brady Fox (24) and Isaiah Olson (2) out in front during a Class 11B football game against Tripp-Delmont/Armour on Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, at Heroes Field, in Mount Vernon.
Landon Dierks / Mitchell Republic
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MOUNT VERNON, S.D. — The University of South Dakota showed Mount Vernon/Plankinton’s Reed Rus he was wanted there.

And that made the difference for the MVP quarterback and linebacker, who announced his commitment to play for the Coyotes on Wednesday. USD offered Rus in September as a preferred walk-on.

“I chose USD mostly because of how much they recruited me. The coach that I was in contact with was calling me just about weekly, always texting me asking me how the football games are going and now the basketball games,” Rus said of his commitment. “Everybody's showed some interest but nobody had really reached out and done some of the tougher things like calling on the phone, texting me weekly, stuff like that. That was kind of the difference.”

Rus heads to the Coyotes as a linebacker, and during his senior season with MVP, he racked up 58 tackles, including 13 for a loss. At quarterback, he ran 145 times for 1,172 yards and 21 touchdowns, while going 26-for-51 passing for 447 yards and four touchdowns, helping lead the Titans to an 8-2 season.

His uncle is former Mount Vernon football standout Chad Greenway, who went on to star at Iowa and with the Minnesota Vikings — as a linebacker.

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While he said he’ll miss regularly scoring touchdowns, Rus is going to be taking on a new linebacking position as a rush linebacker. The Coyotes play a 3-4 defense, with Rus’ position looking similar to a defensive end, rushing the quarterback from the edges and being responsible for containing the running game to the outside.

“I'm going to be taking on the offensive tackle who's going to be weighing, at the FCS level, 300 to 320 pounds,” Rus said. “Obviously, putting on muscle and weight (will help). … Then being able to (win) with hand placement and stuff like that and being just more skilled than they are, that'll be the biggest challenge of it.”

Though USD was his only official offer at the Division I level, he had also been recruited by North Dakota State, South Dakota State, University of North Dakota and the University of Iowa. The MVP linebacker also had offers from Division II schools Minnesota State University Moorhead and University of Mary.

Part of his decision, too, revolved around his academic plans. Rus is planning on studying pre-dentistry, and mentioned USD’s new health services building certainly played a factor. The university opened a 45,000-square foot facility in September that is home to a number of state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratories, simulation rooms and a community dental hygiene clinic.

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Mount Vernon/Plankinton is 7-0 and ranked No. 3 in Class 11B ahead of a regular-season finale at home against No. 1 Winner. Rus is a big reason why, accounting for nearly 1,200 yards of offense and 21 touchdowns as the Titans' quarterback this season.

As a freshman, Rus knows he has some work ahead of him to get on the field. There’s a possibility that he could redshirt as a freshman, but he also said he’s going to do everything he can to make an impact.

“I just want to get there and I know that I’m going to have to put in more work than everybody else and work as hard as I can because I want to play as soon as possible and do the best thing for the program,” Rus said.

Rus finished second in the Mitchell Republic’s football player of the year voting this season and was the all-state quarterback selection for Class 11B. He was an all-state selection as an athlete in 2021 for Class 11B.

“Since I've been a little kid I've always told myself that I wanted to play the Division I level,” Rus said. “I just wanted to reach the highest level. And it's really nice and feels like you really accomplished something knowing that you made it and accomplished that goal.”

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Zech Lambert is a sports reporter for the Mitchell Republic. He graduated from Penn State University in May 2022 and began at the Mitchell Republic in July 2022. He can be reached at zlambert@mitchellrepublic.com or on Twitter @Zech_Lambert.
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