The South Dakota State University football team wrapped up its 2019 recruiting class Wednesday with the addition of 10 student-athletes, including a pair of Division I transfers. The list of newcomers joins a group of 23 others who formalized their commitments to the Jackrabbits during the first signing period of the season in December.
“Our coaching staff is very excited about completing our 2019 signing class,” Jackrabbit head coach John Stiegelmeiersaid. “We set out many months ago to fill certain needs and we have accomplished that with this class. As always, our assistant coaches have done a phenomenal job getting to know each student-athlete and their families. The expectations for this class will be high, as they are for our entire program.”
Transferring into the Jackrabbit program are:
Cole Frahm, 6-5, 225, kicker, Omaha, Nebraska (transfer from Nebraska), and
Kurt Walding, 6-2, 220, quarterback, Des Moines, Iowa (transfer from Arizona State).
Frahm (pronounced FRAWM) spent two seasons at Nebraska, redshirting in 2017 and serving as the Cornhuskers’ backup placekicker in 2018, although he did not see any game action. He will have three years of eligibility remaining with the Jackrabbits.
A 2017 graduate of Omaha Burke High School, Frahm was a two-time all-state first-team all-state selection. He converted 9-of-13 field-goal tries as a senior and recorded touchbacks on 60 of his 63 kickoffs. He has already enrolled at SDSU and is majoring in aviation.
Walding began his collegiate career at Iowa Western Community College, where he threw for 624 yards and six touchdowns while sharing the starting quarterback duties during the 2017 season. He moved on to Arizona State, but did not play in any games for the Sun Devils, who earned a berth in the 2018 Las Vegas Bowl.
As a prep senior, Walding led Dowling Catholic to a state championship and undefeated season. The most valuable player of the championship game, Walding ended the season with 1,030 passing yards and 12 touchdowns against only two interceptions.
Walding, who enrolled at SDSU in January and has two seasons of eligibility remaining, is majoring in business economics and communications.
Four high school standouts also signed a National Letter of Intent Wednesday, indicating they will enroll at SDSU in the fall. The signees included:
Evan Beerntsen, 6-4, 270, offensive lineman, De Pere, Wisconsin;
Devin Blakley, 5-10, 185, running back, Broadview, Illinois;
Graham Spalding, 6-1, 195, linebacker, Oviedo, Florida, and
Zachariah Wilson, 6-3, 225, defensive end, Chipley, Florida.
Beerntsen was a first-team all-conference performer at guard for Appleton North High School and later earned a spot on the Wisconsin All-Star Team. He plans to major in business economics.
Blakley (pronounced BLAKE-lee) ran for 1,100 yards and 18 touchdowns en route to first-team all-conference honors for Foreman High School in the Chicago metropolitan area. Previously a member of the Lane Tech football squad, Blakley added two interceptions and 46 tackles on defense. He intends to major in marketing.
Spalding earned team MVP honors and was a first-team all-conference pick for Lake Howell High School. He tallied 104 total tackles, including eight tackles for loss, while adding an interception and a touchdown during his senior season. An honor student, he plans to pursue a major in sport and recreation management.
Wilson topped the century mark in tackles each of his last two seasons at Chipley High School, registering 157 stops as a junior to rank in the top 10 in the state of Florida, and contributing 103 tackles during his in 2018. Selected as his team’s MVP during his senior season, Wilson added 504 receiving yards on offense. He intends to major in pre-law at SDSU.
Rounding out the Jackrabbits’ additions were four other top high school prospects who have been accepted for admission to SDSU and plan to compete for Jackrabbit football in the fall.
Those newcomers include:
Kevin Brenner, 6-3, 225, defensive end, Silver Lake, Wisconsin;
Michael Drotzman, 6-3, 190, punter, Yankton;
Joseph Slama, 6-3, 190, safety/athlete, Tabor,
Tyson Strohbeen, 6-2, 285, offensive lineman, Sioux City, Iowa.
Brenner has been honored as the 2018-19 Kenosha County Male Athlete of the Year after serving as a team captain in both football and basketball. A two-time all-region selection and an honorable mention all-state pick in football, he played both ways for Wilmot Union High School, recording 85 total tackles, including 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss in 2018. He also forced three fumbles and averaged 11.5 yards per reception. A member of the National Honor Society, Brenner plans to major in either business economics or biology.
Drotzman earned all-state honors twice for Yankton High School, excelling both as a punter and receiver. During his senior campaign, he averaged 37 yards per punt, with a long of 65 yards, and caught 55 passes for 898 yards and a school-record 12 touchdowns. Drotzman also has received all-state recognition as catcher in baseball. He intends to major in either animal science or agricultural business.
Slama excelled all over the field for the Class 9AA state champion Bon Homme High School team in 2018. A member of the Sioux Falls Argus Leader Elite 45, Slama intercepted six passes during his senior season, while racking up career totals of better than 1,200 rushing yards, 1,800 passing yards, 600 receiving yards and 120 tackles. A member of the National Honor Society and an academic all-state selection, he plans to major in exercise science.
Strohbeen lettered four times and was a two-time first-team all-district selection at Bishop Heelan High School in Sioux City. He was honored as the team’s top offensive lineman and was an all-Northwest Iowa selection as a senior. An academic all-district honoree, Strohbeen intends to major in human biology.
South Dakota State made its seventh consecutive appearance in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs during the 2018 season, advancing to the semifinal round for the second year in a row. The Jackrabbits ended the 2018 campaign with a 10-3 overall record, including a 6-2 mark in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. SDSU ended the year ranked third in both the STATS and FCS Coaches’ final polls.
SDSU is scheduled to begin spring practices March 12.