KELOLAND Sports Original Focus: The ‘605 Hogs’

Sports

BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — You know about Strong Jr. and the records that may be broken.
And the transfer at quarterback, from Tampa, Chris Oladokun.

The Janke twins at wideout. Kraft and Heins at tight end.
And don’t forget Davis when the kid comes back healthy again.

They’re the stars of the show, the rock stars on stage.
The names that you read on the front of the page.

But behind all the smoke and behind all the fog,
that’s where you’ll find the 605 Hogs.

“The six represents 60 minutes of full relentless effort and play.”

“Zero stands for zero excuses.”

“And then five. Five playing as one.”

The South Dakota State offensive line. For years within the program they were simply known as the Hogs, but back in 2016, when now SDSU offensive coordinator Jason Eck came to Brookings, he wanted to add a little flavor.

“I just thought we needed a little more branding, we needed to make it more unique to ourselves so we adopted, I think its kind of neat being the biggest university in the state, to kind of represent the whole state, so we went with the 605 Hogs,” SDSU offensive coordinator Jason Eck said.

While every offensive lineman on the roster is considered a Hog, there’s five of them that have played more than anyone else; led by the future physician, 6th year senior Wes Genant.

“He’s the elder statesmen of the group. He’s been a leader for a long time, a two time captain,” said Eck.

“We like to call him grandpa because he’s married. Him and Aron are kind of the brains of the operation getting us on the right page and everything. We always joke that if Wes messes up a call we’re going to put him in a nursing home,” SDSU junior tackle Garret Greenfield said.

Starting 17 of the last 21 games, at right guard, Eagan Lickiss.

“Eagan’s probably what we would call the ‘hoggiest’ of the Hogs.” Greenfield said.

“We have our no sweat Thursday practices and Eagans in like a full sweat like I’ve never seen someone sweat just walking around,” SDSU quarterback Chris Oladokun said.

“He wont admit it but he’s got a softer side in music and he’s a good guitar player and what not and he’ll probably hate me for saying some of that,” SDSU senior center Wes Genant said with a chuckle.

Starting at Left guard, from Sioux Falls Roosevelt, Mason Mccormick.

“He always has this intensity about him that I just love. It’s almost a little chaotic, like crazy energy,” Eagan Lickiss said of McCormick.

“He always trying to get like Aron and Eagan to get into like a slap fight or something,” Genant said.

“He’s kind of what you in the O-line as far as the aggressor. He takes a lot of pride moving a guy from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ and dumping him on his back,” Eck said.

At left tackle, studying to be a pharmacist, senior Aron Johnson.

“He’s a super smart guy, super good dude. We’ll just have random talks about anything and we’ll be walking down the hall and he has no spatial awareness and he’ll just run into a table or trip on his own feet,” SDSU guard Mason Mccormick said of the Johnson.

After entering the program as a 237 pound freshman, he’s slowly grown into his 300 pound frame.

“It did take some getting used to but honestly now I feel like I’m probably more athletic now at 300 pounds than I was at 280 just because my weight gained slow and I’ve kind of grown into my body a little bit more,” SDSU senior tackle Aron Johnson said.

And on the opposite side of the line, at right tackle, Garret Greenfield.

“He really came on the scene last year in his first year starting and ended up being an All-American. Just proud of his growth and his maturity and how he’s come along. Very talented and the sky is the limit for Garret as well,” Eck said of Greenfield.

And like many of the boys up front, the junior from Rock Valley, Iowa bonds with his teammates through food.

“Him and Eagan have this obsession with going and getting fast food all the time and instead of calling it snacks like a normal person, they call it ‘snocks’, Wes Genant said of his teammates.

While the group enjoys themselves off the field, there’s a level of accountability within one another when it comes to football and that staple of focus comes through coach Eck.. who’s supportive but also demanding.

“You can’t take it personal because he just wants to coach you and he wants to win and you take that passion to heart and it really influences you in a good way if you’re in the right mind,” Genant said.

But within his stern coaching style, he still leaves room for fun through clever and off the wall analogies.

“If there’s like a twist or something he’s like this guys looping around, Wes will take your pizza, you go take Wes’s pizza. So he’s going to block my guy, I’ll go block his guy. So, you know, tying it to pizza really kind of gets my attention,” Garret Greenfield said of his coach.

Play in and play out, battling in the trenches of a football field requires strength mixed with an attitude of selflessness.

“The only time we get noticed is when we aren’t doing our job. So, when were doing our job and you don’t notice us, that’s a compliment, right?” Genant said with a smile.

“There’s not a lot of fame and glory in the job but someone’s got to do that dirty work,” Lickiss said.

“They’re better looking than us anyway so they can have all the camera time and we’ll just kind of sit back and be like yea you guys rock,” Greenfield said.

The Jackrabbits take on North Dakota, Saturday at 2pm in Brookings.

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