From walk-on to All-American, Greenfield’s USD career coming to an end


VERMILLION, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota defensive end Darin Greenfield’s collegiate football career will come to an end against rival SDSU Saturday, and he leaves as one of the program’s all-time great players.

Darin Greenfield wasn’t highly recruited coming out of high school, garnering interest from some NAIA and Junior College programs, but the Sheldon, Iowa native had other ideas.

“If I want to play football I might as well try to go Division 1. I came on a visit here and loved it. I loved the atmosphere here, and being in a dome, I thought that was the coolest thing,” Greenfield said.

Greenfield walked-on at USD as a linebacker under Joe Glenn. Following the 2015 season, Bob Nielson took over the program. His staff saw potential in Greenfield, but as a defensive end.

“It was one of those positions that he just naturally fit into and became, really a premier player for us,” Head Coach Bob Nielson said.

In his first season playing defensive end, Darin registered 4 sacks, and 7 tackles for a loss in 9 games.

“Every game I got at least 4, 5, 6, 7 snaps in, that I would just be able to get that experience, get that base. I think that really helped me going into my sophomore year,” Greenfield said.

His sophomore season was one of the best in USD history, earning Greenfield All-American honors after recording 9 sacks and 19.5 tackles for a loss.

“All the work you put in the summer, the spring, in the weight room, and stuff like that. It really makes you feel like it’s paying off and that was a really cool, cool thing for me to get,” Greenfield.

But All-American honors didn’t even compare to Greenfield’s biggest accomplishment that season, earning a scholarship.

“That was the end goal for me. Just to be able to take some pressure off financially from my parents, and me and all the others that were helping me out. I still remember, I called my mom right away as I was walking down the back hallway. I could barely get out of coach’s office before I called her,” Greenfield said.

In the two years since, Greenfield has established himself an all-time great at USD. He holds the program record for tackles-for-loss, and enters his final game third in career sacks.

“It really makes you think about what you’ve done, and how you’ve gotten here. It makes me smile when I think about it. I’m sure in five, ten years, it’ll mean a little bit more to me than it does right now,” Greenfield said.

Come Saturday, the former walk-on turned All-American will don the Coyotes jersey one last time.

“I’ve put the jersey on, like I said 45 times. I don’t think any one is going to mean more than Senior Day, when you get recognized for everything you’ve done, putting in five years that I’ve been here. It’s going to be a special moment,” Greenfield said.

The Coyotes and Jackrabbits cross paths Saturday at the DakotaDome. Kickoff is set for 2:00.

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