Wednesday might as well be a national holiday.
It’s not, officially, but to die-hard college football fans, there isn’t a single more important off-season date than National Signing Day.
The weeks and months leading up to signing day have been full of anticipation. Wednesday, fans had the first glimpse of the future of the programs. Our local colleges aren’t much different.
Signing 14 players on Wednesday, Minnesota West took its first step toward next season.
Taylor Andrews (Blue Earth), Joseph Weispfennig (Buffalo Lake-Hector), Taylor Ovrebo (United South Central), Nathan Bierman (Red Rock Central), Justin Larson (Worthington), Octavio Jimenez (Southwest Star Concept), Josh Steffl (Edgerton), Chace Hulstein (Edgerton), Gregory OTolle (Sibley-Ocheyedan), Jordan Schroeder (WHS), Jeffrey Curtsinger (Bennington, Neb.), Kevin Logan (Lawrence, Kan.), DeCorey Martinez (Topeka, Kan.) and Jonathan Milton (Topeka, Kan.) all signed a letter of intent with West.
Not only did head coach Jeff Linder land a talented class, but a class made up of local talent.
“It’s a huge advantage for anyone that’s close to us,” Linder said. “It saves them so much money. It saved me so much money, and the credit hours aren’t near as much as it is now, and the cost of renting an apartment isn’t what it is now. Those kids that are staying close to home are going to save themselves a lot of money in the long run. That’s the name of the game, especially the way things are going for everybody. Our administration has done a great job of being very competitive.”
While MW is made up entirely of freshmen and sophomores, recruiting seems more important at a junior college.
Bigger colleges can redshirt and develop players. JUCOs need players to make an immediate impact, and Linder believes all 14 can do just that.
Jimenez, who played football for Southwestern United, will look to provide kicking depth for West.
Larson will provide versatility for the Bluejays. He will fit in at either running back or a slot receiver position.
Bierman, who played on both sides of the ball for the Falcons, projects to be a linebacker for the Bluejays.
Steffl, a big, physical lineman, can play either offensive or defensive line for MW.
Hulstein and Ovrebo will give Linder depth and defensive end, while Andrews will see time at either linebacker or fullback.
On the national scene, large colleges are landing top 100 recruits. The big name schools (Florida, Texas, USC) are making impacts, as always, and are landing four- and five-star recruits like it’s going out of style. Even local colleges are looking to improve through recruiting. Minnesota and Iowa again have solid classes, proving just how much talent the Midwest has on the gridiron.
One of the biggest names in the region, Cretin-Derham Hall’s Seantrel Henderson, has signed with the University of Southern California, ending months of speculation.
And while West didn’t sign any five-star recruits on Wednesday, the job done by Linder and his staff gives fans just as much reason to be excited.When football season rolls around in the fall, only a few big-name recruits will even see the field on Saturdays.
But the 14 who are now Bluejays will not only see the field, but will be counted on to lead the 2010 Minnesota West team to what Linder hopes is a very successful year.