EDITOR'S NOTE: After publishing, it has come to our attention that we missed the 18th commitment, Kody Case of Iowa. Sorry Kody. Fixed.
When it comes to South Dakota football recruiting, there's only two numbers you need to know as of Wednesday: four and 17.
No, that doesn't represent a 4th and 17 play. That's a negative situation, while this is much, much more positive. The Coyotes have continued their active ways when it comes to recruiting. This year they were on the recruiting trail early and often, offering scholarships all over the United States to key prospects, and that hard work by the coaching staff has paid off with a class of 17 total commitments — four of which have come on board in just the past few days.
Late Tuesday night, the big news was that former North Dakota State defensive end commitment Luke Chuol — who parted ways with the Bison over the summer — had come aboard with the 'Yotes. He's the second former NDSU pledge to switch over, as RB Lincoln Gibbs also did. Choul — who holds a preferred walk-on offer from Missouri, along with FBS offers from schools in the MAC, along with Wyoming and Hawaii — is a nice 2-star prospect who just strengthens the class that much more. He is joined by recent commitments LB Ian Nordell of Kansas, TE Alex Jensen and OL Matt Gilray who are both of Minnesota. Chuol is also from Minnesota.
"The coaching staff at USD has been recruiting me hard since they offered me and I built a great relationship with the coaches," Chuol told HERO Sports Wednesday morning. "I have two former teammates that are on the USD football team. I have two other friends also on the team in Jake Richardson and Nick Kramer, and I'm good friends with Tyler Peterson who is the sixth man on the basketball team and I'm current teammates with his brother. So I know a lot of people there."
The flurry of activity has delighted Gibbs, who has been somewhat of an unofficial spokesman for the class.
"These guys are awesome," Gibbs told HERO Sports. "Some of the nicest people I've ever interacted with. And it's not just the commits that are super great, but their families as well. These are the type of men that you want on your football team, these guys are looking for their shot, their opportunity to prove they belong at the D1 level after some schools may have told them they don't have what it takes. We all relate really well in that way and I think this is going to be a great class that goes out with a chip on their shoulder and works hard every single day. I can't wait to be down at USD with these guys this upcoming summer."
Several of the new recruits spoke to HERO Sports about the decision.
"I was there for camp and something about it felt right but I still wasn't sure," Gilray said. "What told me that USD was the right place was the game-day visit. That is when I knew that's where I wanted to be. My visits have all been amazing. They told me that they love my power and my foot speed."
"I decided to commit to the University of South Dakota because of how genuinely sincere the coaches are there and how they treat their players," Jensen told HERO Sports. "To add to that, they have a good business school, their facilities are amazing, and the city of Vermillion is special. The community is very supportive and energetic for the Coyotes … They say they love my ability to stretch the field vertically, my physicality on the line of scrimmage, great ball skills, and leadership ability."
Nordell also chimed in, and noted the chemistry and atmosphere in particular:
"I like the direction the program is going, they're winning games," Nordell told HERO Sports. "The atmosphere is great and even games that they are losing they are fighting until the clock turns all zeros. Fans are going crazy, the stadium packed and the players are giving it their all whether in the game or just on the sideline investing in their teammates."
South Dakota 2017 recruiting class (Credit: USDCoyoteSports)
HERO Sports is dedicated to college football, with an emphasis on FCS coverage. We are proud to be the go-to site for comprehensive FCS analysis for fans across the country. HERO Sports also publishes betting odds and insights for FBS games.