South Dakota State Spring Football Recap
The road to repeating as Missouri Valley Conference Champions for the South Dakota State football team starts with Spring practice, which just concluded with the Spring Game, last Saturday (April 22), in Brookings.
The Jackrabbits, FCS Playoff participants each of the last five seasons, have no doubt who their #1 quarterback is heading into the 2017 season. Incoming junior Taryn Christion, who shared the duties each of the last two season, led the top offense throughout Spring ball.
SDSU has depth behind him as Brady Mengarelli, Isaac Wallace, and Mikey Daniel all provide experience running the football. Redshirt freshman CJ Roths opened some eyes with a touchdown in the Spring Game.
Catching the ball, the Jackrabbits have perhaps the best one-two punch in FCS, with Jake Wieneke and Dallas Goedert both entering their senior seasons. Behind them are no fewer than a half dozen other players that could factor into the passing game this season.
One of the big question marks is the depth of the offensive line, which is anchored by incoming seniors Jacob Ohnesorge, Charlie Harmon, and Caleb Lang. But with just ten healthy players, the line is an injury or two away from being in critical shape.
Defensively, SDSU also has some holes to fill up front, as Kellen Soulek is the only returner to start every game last season. Blake Whitsell is trying to come back from an injury-shortened 2016.
The line backing corp is young, but experienced, with Christian Rozeboom, the 2016 MVFC Freshman of the Year, back, alongside Jake Harms, who saw action in all 13 games last season.
In the secondary, Nick Farina, Chris Balster, and Anthony Washington are all back for their senior seasons.
Both kickers are back for the Jacks. Placekicker Chase Vinatieri returns for his sophomore season, while punter Brady Hale will be a junior.
I talked with SDSU head coach John Stiegelmeier about what he saw from his team during the Spring camp: