BROOKINGS, S.D. — Nineteen high school standouts signed a National Letter of Intent Wednesday and one transfer finalized his intention to enroll at South Dakota State University and compete for the Jackrabbits’ football team.
“I really want to compliment our assistants for doing a phenomenal job of getting to know these young men, their needs and making sure it’s a true fit,” head coach John Stiegelmeier said. “I feel great about our class – we’re going to add a few more in February, but the bulk of the 2020 class is with these guys. We’ve got great, great players at every position. I’m excited to see them perform and compete, and if things go the way they have been, we’ll see many of them on the field next year.”
The signees include:
- Isaac Appleget, 6-2, 190, linebacker, Lincoln, Neb. (Lincoln Southeast High School);
- Max Baloun, 6-6, 222, defensive end, Redfield (Redfield H.S.);
- Dalys Beanum, 6-1, 165, defensive back, Omaha, Nebraska (Millard West H.S.);
- Devon Cole Jr., 5-9, 160, wide receiver, Clermont, Florida (Lake Minneola H.S.);
- A.J. Coons, 6-4, 195, wide receiver, Solon, Iowa (Solon H.S.)
- Isaiah Davis, 6-1, 220, running back, Joplin, Missouri (Joplin H.S.)
- Hunter Dustman, 6-3, 215, kicker/punter, East Bethel, Minnesota (St. Francis H.S.);
- Mitch Eichacker, 6-4, 225, defensive end, Sioux Falls (Lincoln H.S.);
- Mark Gronowski, 6-3, 200, quarterback, Naperville, Illinois (Neuqua Valley H.S.);
- Abe Hoskins III, 6-2, 175, cornerback, Omaha, Nebraska (Omaha Central H.S.);
- Randy Keumogne, 6-3, 220, defensive end, Oakdale, Minnesota (Tartan H.S.);
- Adam Kusler, 6-2, 205, linebacker, Sioux Falls (Roosevelt H.S.);
- Brandon Lane, 6-2, 245, defensive lineman, Kansas City, Missouri (St. Michael The Archangel H.S.);
- Jalen Lee, 6-2, 280, offensive lineman, Robbins, Illinois (Harold L. Richards H.S.);
- Daeton Mcgaughy, 6-0, 200, defensive back, Elwood, Kansas (Lafayette H.S.);
- Cale Reeder, 6-0, 185, defensive back, Yorkville, Illinois (Yorkville H.S.)
- Wyatt Seagren, 6-7, 245, tight end, Oakland, Nebraska (Oakland-Craig H.S.)
- Isaiah Stalbird, 6-1, 200, defensive back, Kearney, Nebraska (Kearney H.S./transfer from Nebraska);
- Nate Sullivan Jr., 6-2, 175, wide receiver, Bellevue, Nebraska (Bellevue West H.S.);
- Max VanMeter, 6-4, 260, defensive lineman, Overland Park, Kansas (Bishop Miege H.S.).
Appleget excelled on both sides of the ball during a prep career in which he was a two-time all-conference selection at Lincoln Southeast High School. He led his team in receiving each of the past two years, including 590 yards in 2018, with 10 touchdowns.
Defensively, Appleget recorded 83 tackles over two seasons from his safety position.
Honored three times on academic all-conference teams, he plans to major in sports management.
Baloun (pronounced bah-LOON) earned all-state recognition and was an honorable mention selection to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader Elite 45 during his senior season at Redfield High School. He recorded 25 total tackles, including 10.5 tackles for loss and 3 sacks in receiving all-Northeast Conference honors for a third time.
He also has been an all-conference performer in basketball. Baloun plans to major in education.
Beanum earned first-team all-Metro and all-Nebraska honors as a wide receiver, but is projected to play cornerback at the collegiate level. He averaged 62 receiving yards a game as scored eight touchdowns during his senior season at Millard West High School.
He intends to study business and marketing at SDSU.
DEVON COLE JR.
Cole received all-area recognition as a quarterback for Lake Minneola High School during the 2019 season, but is expected to see action as a wide receiver and kick returner at the collegiate level. During his senior season he passed for 1,400 yards and 13 touchdowns, while rushing for 700 yards and 10 scores.
He plans to major in either sports management or business.
Coons helped lead Solon High School to a 12-1 record and the Class 3A state championship game this past fall. He caught 60 passes for 961 yards and 12 touchdowns en route to earning a spot on the 2019 All-Iowa Team by the Des Moines Register.
Davis led Joplin High School to the Missouri Class 6 state championship game during his senior season, rushing for 2,283 yards on only 253 carries (9.02 ypc) with 45 touchdowns. The Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year, he added 19 receptions for 220 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while being credited with 52 tackles from a linebacker position.
For his career, Davis rushed for 4,354 yards and scored a total of 83 touchdowns. He was a second-team all-state selection as a junior before moving up to the first team in 2019.
Davis has yet to declare a major.
Dustman was honored two times as North Central District Special Teams Player of the Year while competing for St. Francis High School in the Twin Cities Metro area. A six-time letterwinner, he was a second-team all-state selection as a junior. In battling through injuries during his senior season in 2019, Dustman averaged 40.2 yards per punt and was 7-of-10 on field goals.
Dustman kicked a career-best 51-yard field goal as a sophomore, while his career-long punt traveled 72 yards. He plans to major in business.
Eichacker received all-conference honors despite missing a third of his senior season at Lincoln High School due to injury. He tallied 17 total tackles and four sacks in 2019, bringing his two-year totals to 65 tackles, 23 tackles for loss and 13 sacks.
An academic all-state selection, he intends to major in human biology.
Gronowski was named DuPage Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Year and was an all-state honoree by the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association as a senior. He completed 132-of-194 passes for 1,663 yards with 15 touchdowns and only one interception for a Neuqua Valley High School squad that won the conference title.
A nominee for the 2019 Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year award, Gronowski ran for 846 yards (6.9 yards per carry) and 12 touchdowns. His career totals included 2,863 passing yards, 1,219 rushing yards and a combined 39 touchdowns (22 passing and 17 rushing) while also earning all-conference recognition as a junior.
Gronowski also earned academic all-state honors in football and has received academic all-conference recognition in both basketball and baseball. He plans to major in business economics.
ABE HOSKINS III
Hoskins earned all-Metro recognition as both a junior and senior at Omaha Central High School. In earning first-team recognition in 2019, Hoskins played on both sides of the ball, rushing for eight touchdowns while adding 20 tackles, one interception and three pass breakups on defense.
An honor student, Hoskins plans to begin his collegiate academic pursuits in the pre-pharmacy program.
Keumogne (pronounced cah-MOAN) repeated on the all-conference team, while also earning all-Metro and all-state honors during his senior season at Tartan High School. The district defensive lineman of the year, he tallied 64 tackles, 3 sacks and an interception.
He plans to major in mechanical engineering.
Kusler (pronounced COOSE-ler) set the Roosevelt career record for tackles with 269 over three seasons. A two-time first-team all-state honoree and member of the Sioux Falls Argus Leader Elite 45, he racked up 127 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks with 2 interceptions as a senior. He also served as a team captain for two seasons.
He also has been an academic all-state honoree and intends to major in construction management.
BRANDON LANE JR.
Lane combined for 23 sacks over his junior and senior seasons at St. Michael The Archangel High School in Kansas City. He earned all-state honors as a defensive end in 2019, while receiving all-district honors as both a defensive end and tight end as a junior.
He plans to major in sports management.
Lee received first-team all-state honors during his senior season at Harold L. Richards High School in the Chicago suburb of Oak Lawn. A three-time first-team all-conference honoree, Lee became the first lineman in South Suburban Conference history to be named player of the year after posting 40 tackles with 6 forced fumbles and 3 fumble recoveries this past fall.
He plans to pursue a major in sports management.
McGaughy (pronounced mc-GOY) was a two-time first-team all-district selection at Lafayette High School in Wildwood, Missouri. A two-way player, he accounted for 42 total touchdowns as a senior, while passing for 2,027 yards and rushing for 803 (7.8 yards per carry). Defensively, he recorded five interceptions.
He has yet to declare a major.
Reeder earned all-state honors after tallying 80 tackles, 6 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles during his senior season at Yorkville High School. Honored on all-conference and all-area teams three times, he also scored 12 touchdowns during the 2019 campaign.
He plans to major in exercise science.
Seagren, who also played along the defensive line, was a first-team Class C2 all-state honoree in 2019 while leading Oakland-Craig High School to the state title.
An honor student, he plans to major in biology.
The lone transfer in the signing class, Stalbird spent two seasons at the University of Nebraska and will have three years of eligibility remaining. He played in 12 games during the 2019 season, seeing action at safety and on special teams, finishing the year with 13 tackles and a blocked punt.
Previously, Stalbird earned first-team all-state honors from the Omaha World-Herald and was a Super State selection by the Lincoln Journal Star. He registered 77 tackles as a prep senior at Kearney High School and added 22 receptions for 393 yards and six touchdowns as a wide receiver.
Stalbird is majoring in physical education.
NATE SULLIVAN, JR.
Sullivan caught 68 passes for 812 yards and 7 touchdowns over the past two seasons at Bellevue West High School in receiving honorable mention all-state recognition both years. A team captain, he helped lead his team to the 2019 Class A state title, finishing with a 13-0 record.
A member of the National Honor Society, Sullivan intends to major in business management.
VanMeter was a fixture in opposing backfields, recording 38 tackles for loss and 13 sacks among his 75 total tackles. A first-team all-state selection for Bishop Miege High School, he was a finalist for the Bobby Bell Award and nominated for the all-state game.
He plans to pursue a business degree.
In addition, six other prep standouts have been accepted for admission to SDSU and plan to join the Jackrabbit football team in the fall:
- Steven Arrell, 6-2, 185, defensive back, Brooklyn Park, Minn. (Osseo H.S.);
- Caleb Francl, 6-0, 190, linebacker, Grand Island, Nebraska (Grand Island Senior H.S.);
- Aaron Kusler, 6-2, 205, linebacker, Sioux Falls (Roosevelt H.S.);
- Gus Miller, 6-3, 265, offensive lineman, Brookings (Brookings H.S.);
- Jaden Mueller, 6-1, 210, long snapper, Johnston, Iowa (Johnston H.S.); and
- Avian Thomas, 5-10, 185, running back, Boonville, Missouri (Boonville H.S.).
Arrell received all-district recognition both as a junior and senior at Osseo High School in the Twin Cities Metro area. He notched 45 tackles and three interceptions as a junior, then recorded 56 tackles, 3 interceptions and 6 forced fumbles as a senior.
He intends to major in business.
Francl (pronounced FRANCE-ill) earned Nebraska Super State recognition twice, combining for nearly 200 tackles over his junior and senior seasons at Grand Island Senior High School. As a junior, he tallied 105 tackles, including 13.5 tackles for loss, and blocked four kicks. During his senior campaign in 2019, Francl registered 87 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, forced four fumbles and blocked three more kicks.
A two-time academic all-state selection and a member of the National Honor Society, Francl plans to pursue a degree in health sciences with a pre-chiropractic emphasis.
Joining his twin brother, Adam, on the squad, Aaron Kusler racked up 106 tackles with 6 sacks, 3 pass breakups and an interception during his senior season at Roosevelt High School. A member of the Sioux Falls Argus Leader Elite 45, he was two-time all-state selection and four-year letterman. As a junior, Kusler posted 80 tackles with 7.5 sacks as a junior.
Honored on the academic all-state team, he plans to major in construction management.
Miller was a two-time all-state honoree who helped lead Brookings High School to the Class AA state championship game this past fall. The Brookings Register Co-Player of the Year and a member of Sioux Falls Argus Leader Elite 45, Miller also played on the defensive line, recording two-year totals of 89 tackles and 7 sacks.
He will join his older brother, Eddie, on the Jackrabbit roster.
In other athletic pursuits, Miller placed seventh in the 220-pound weight class at the Class A state wrestling meet as a junior. He plans to major in education.
Mueller (pronounced MEW-ler) graded at 100 percent for snaps over his last two seasons at Johnston High School. In 2019, he was named his team’s special teams player of the year.
A member of the National Honor Society, Mueller plans to major in mechanical engineering at SDSU.
Thomas racked up more than 4,600 career rushing yards and scored 60 touchdowns in garnering all-state honors twice at Boonville High School. A second-team selection as a junior, he moved up to the first team in 2019 after posting 1,846 rushing yards, 2,300 all-purpose yards and 31 touchdowns.
An honor roll student, he intends to major in sports management.
South Dakota State made its eighth consecutive appearance in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision playoffs during the 2019 season. The Jackrabbits finished the year with an 8-5 overall record, including a 5-3 mark in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.