Feb. 6, 2007
Bearcat Football Signs 26 on Signing Day
MARYVILLE, Mo.-Northwest Missouri State head football coach Mel Tjeerdsma has released the names of 26 high school seniors who signed national letters of intent to become Bearcats in the fall of 2008. Of the signees, 13 hail from Missouri, 11 are linemen and six are linebackers. Five competed for a state championship in 2007 and two of those five won the crown.
The 26 student-athletes join a program that has played for a national championship in each of the last three seasons, has won 21 straight MIAA games and has won 17 straight home games at Bearcat Stadium.
"With this class, we felt we had to address two things," said Tjeerdsma. "We needed a little more speed across the board but especially at receiver, and we needed to add some bodies on the offensive and defensive lines. We lost some kids to injury last year on the defensive line and we needed to build more man power there and I think we've done that."
Seven of the 11 linemen recruited played on the defensive side of the ball in high school. Nine of the signees compete in track and field. In addition, two are power lifters in high school, three wrestle and one (Collin DeBuysere) plays hockey.
Northwest successfully recruited in the states of Iowa, Texas, Nebraska, Illinois, Kansas and Wisconsin in addition to Missouri.
"I really think we did a good job getting the guys from a little further distance," said Tjeerdsma. "We can expand that, but we still believe the core of our team has to come from our base - Missouri, Iowa, northeast Nebraska and a little bit of Kansas.
"The fact that we've had a little more national attention has certainly helped. Kids see you and want to be a part of your program."
Two Bearcat games in each of the last three seasons, the national semifinals and the national championships, were broadcast by ESPN before a nation-wide audience.
The following is an alphabetical listing of all 26 recruits, some information about the signees and some of coach Tjeerdsma's comments on the student-athlete:
• COLE ALBRIGHT (Bronson, Iowa) - Defensive Lineman, 6-3, 250 lbs.
High School: Lawton Bronson; Head Coach: Chad Moseman; Parents: Mitchell and Michelle Albright
Notes: helped lead Lawton Bronson to a second-place finish in the 1A championship game … only loss for the Eagles all season … had four tackles in the championship game … earned first-team all-state, all-district and all-conference honors in 2007 … earned all-state honors as an offensive lineman in 2006 … team captain … also competed in basketball and track
Coach Tjeerdsma: "Cole has a nice frame. He comes from a smaller division school in Iowa where he played for a state championship. He's a young man who we think is going to develop. Obviously, he's not ready to come in and contribute right away, but I think he's got a lot of possibilities just because of his size and some of the things he does technique wise."
• RYAN ARRINGTON (Jacksonville, Texas) - Defensive Lineman, 6-2, 260 lbs.
High School: Jacksonville; Head Coach: Randy Copeland; Parents: Jimmy and Kelly Arrington; Academic Interest: Physical Therapy / Kinesiology
Notes: three-year letterwinner in football, track and powerlifting … earned all-district honors as an offensive lineman as a sophomore and as a junior … earned all-district honors on both sides of the line as a senior
Coach Tjeerdsma: "Ryan is a solid inside player who has excellent strength for a high- school senior. He's a young man that could develop into a very good defensive player for us."
• CHRISTIAN BARKSDALE (Omaha, Neb.) - Defensive Back, 6-0, 175 lbs.
High School: Westside; Head Coach: Marty Kauffman; Parents: Micheal and Vickie Barksdale
Notes: helped the Warriors advance to the playoffs and finish with a 7-3 record in 2007 … earned all-district and honorable mention all-metro honors … also competed in track … was a member of a state-qualifying 4x400-meter relay team
Coach Tjeerdsma: "Christian is more of a safety. He's a guy that's got good speed. We liked some of the things we saw in terms of his flexibility and his movement. I think from a physical stand point, he's going to have to develop some. He's a young man that's been in three sports and hasn't really had a chance to be committed to the weights. I think that he will really fill out."
• CORY CRONK (Maryville, Mo.) - Linebacker, 6-2, 190
High School: Maryville, Head Coach: Chris Holt; Parents: Richard and Roxy Cronk
Notes: helped lead the Spoofhounds to a 9-1 record in 2007 and its first Midland Empire Conference championship since 2004 … two-year starter … earned honorable mention all-MEC honors at linebacker … recorded 39.5 tackles, one sack, 4.5 tackles-for-loss and an interception returned for a touchdown … averaged 35 yards per catch in 2007
Coach Tjeerdsma: "Cory is a big frame and I think a guy that's really going to develop in the weight room. He has a lot of growth potential and I think he will definitely end up being a linebacker for us."
• COLLIN DeBUYSERE (Geneseo, Ill.) - Linebacker, 6-4, 210
High School: Geneseo; Head Coach: Larry Johnsen; Parents: Doug and Beth DeBuysere
Notes: helped lead the Green Machine to an 8-3 record and an NCIC Reagan championship in 2007 … metro leader in sacks with 11 … team captain … earned first-team all-conference and first-team all-metro honors … also competed in hockey
Coach Tjeerdsma: "Collin is a big, rugged athlete and we really like his body type. We think he can really fill out. He's a little skinny right now because he plays hockey, which is kind of different, but it keeps his weight down. He's got a lot of different possibilities. He's been a linebacker, he could end up being a defensive end, who knows. We like his aggressiveness and the fact that he runs well."
• NATE DeJONG (Rock Rapids, Iowa) - Safety, 6-3, 215
High School: Central Lyon; Head Coach: Toby Lorenzon; Parents: Greg and Sherri DeJong
Notes: first-team all-state quarterback in 2006 and 2007 … first-team all-state defensive back in 2007 … selected to compete in the Iowa Shrine Bowl … helped lead the Lions to the 2006 Class 2A state championship and 23 consecutive wins spanning two seasons … Lions finished second at state in 2007 … rushed for nearly 1,500 yards and scored 20 touchdowns as a junior … also competed in basketball, track and baseball
Coach Tjeerdsma: "Nate was a two-time, all-state quarterback and safety. As a junior, he led his team to a state championship and they were back in the championship game this past season. He comes out of a great program. He's a very good three-sport athlete who has excellent speed. The thing we like about him is how physical he is as a safety. He has a big frame and has some great growth possibilities. He'll be much better when he concentrates on one sport."
• KYLE HAAKE (Harlan, Iowa) - Kicker, 6-2, 185
High School: Harlan; Head Coach: Curt Bladt; Parents: Darin and Tammy Haake
Notes: first-team all-state, all-district and all-conference selection … broke current Kansas City Chief Billy Cundiff's school record by hitting a 50-yarder … was 7-of-9 on field goals and 54-of-58 on extra points … also punted with a 41.7-yard average … also competes in soccer and is an all-state selection in basketball
Coach Tjeerdsma: "Kyle's a kicker, punter and receiver. He hit a 50-yard field goal this year. He's only kicked for two years so he's a talent that needs to be developed. He has real possibility as both a punter and a kicker."
• JAMES HARRIS (Grandview, Mo.) - Wide Receiver, 5-9, 165
High School: Grandview; Head Coach: Jason Godfrey; Parents: Cynthia and James Harris
Notes: first-team all-district and all-conference in 2007 … named team offensive MVP
Coach Tjeerdsma: "James fits the mold of what we're looking for as far as quickness. He's extremely quick, has very good speed, and is a guy that can make plays with his speed, not just as a receiver, but as a return man as well. He will have a lot of possibilities as he develops as a receiver."
• RICKY HICKS (Kansas City, Mo.) - Running Back, 5-10, 187
High School: Central; Head Coach: Henry Newell; Parents: Ricky Sr. and Tina Hicks; Academic Interest: Sports Medicine
Notes: four-year team captain … two-time first-team all-district and all-conference selection … 2006 Interscholastic League MVP and Outstanding Offensive Player … carried 91 times for 748 yards and five touchdowns as a senior (8.22 ypc) … also competed in track
Coach Tjeerdsma: "Ricky had some Division-I possibilities and all of a sudden he was available. We happened to get on him quick and I think it was a perfect match both ways. He really liked what he saw here and we really liked what we saw in him. Besides being a very good running back, he's an outstanding person with great character. He's an excellent student and comes out of a school that has a lot of athletes. He's the first young man we've gotten from Central since 1994 and I think that's really important for us."
• JOHN HINCHEY (Kearney, Mo.) - Wide Receiver, 6-2, 200
High School: Kearney; Head Coach: Greg Jones; Parents: Mike and Nanette Hinchey
Notes: second-team all-state wide receiver and kick returner … first-team all-conference selection in 2006 … also competes in track … school record holder in 100-meters (10.8) and long jump (23'11") … placed second at state in the long jump in 2006
Coach Tjeerdsma: "John's a big receiver with very good speed. He's an outstanding track athlete. He's going to do both here and is really excited for that opportunity. John comes out of a very good high school program in Kearney, a wide-open program where they throw the ball a lot. Coach Jones, an alum, has developed a really solid program. Those kids know how to win and they're very sound fundamentally."
• COLBY KAMM (Junction City, Kan.) - Tight End, 6-5, 230
High School: Junction City; Head Coach: Randall Zimmerman; Parents: Bobby and Susan Kamm; Academic Interest: Biology
Notes: first-team all-state selection as a senior … Shrine Bowl participant … earned Al Simpler Award for Leadership … also competes in basketball, baseball and weight lifting … 6A State Power Lifting Runner-Up in 2005 and 2006
Coach Tjeerdsma: "Colby has a nice big frame for a tight end. He has a great work ethic and I think he has a great future ahead of him. He can be a 250-, 260-pound tight end pretty easily. He really does things well with the ball in his hands, which for a big guy is kind of surprising. Not many high school kids that size can do that well with the ball in their hands."
• CHAD KILGORE (Orrick, Mo.) - Linebacker, 6-0, 215
High School: Excelsior Springs; Head Coach: Sam Brown; Parents: Mark and Brenda Kilgore; Brother of current Bearcat, Kyle
Notes: first-team all-state linebacker … first-team all-district and all-conference linebacker and running back … team captain … also earned all-state, all-district and all-conference honors as a linebacker in 2006 … also an all-state performer in baseball
Coach Tjeerdsma: "Chad was an outstanding high-school football player. He's a linebacker that plays sideline to sideline with great speed. Kyle, his older brother, plays for us and we're really excited to have his younger brother here as well. I think the two of them are going to really excel in our program."
• KYLE KLEEMAN (Lemont, Ill.) - Defensive Lineman, 6-2, 225
High School (Joliet Catholic); Head Coach: Dan Sharp; Parents: Edward and Cindy Kleeman; Academic Interest: Criminal Justice
Notes: led the Hilltoppers to a state championship in 2007 … first-team all-catholic league … competed as a linebacker
Coach Tjeerdsma: "Kyle was a linebacker in high school, but he will be a defensive lineman for us. That's a little bit of a projection, but we think he's a tough, hard-nosed football player and he will make that adjustment. Some of the things he does well at linebacker can really make him a good defensive end."
• MATTHEW MEINERT (Easton, Kan.) - Linebacker, 6-2, 200
High School: Pleasant Ridge; Head Coach: Chris Powers; Parents: Jim and Kris Meinert; Academic Interest: Animal Science
Notes: first-team all-state linebacker … also played running back … Most Valuable Offensive and Defensive Player in 2007 … rushed for 1,432 yards and scored 25 touchdowns as a senior … had 118 tackles and three interceptions on the defensive side … outstanding prep wrestler … also competes in track
Coach Tjeerdsma: "Matthew is a very good athlete. For a guy his size, he runs extremely well. We talk about adding speed and he brings exactly that to the table. He's an outstanding athlete, a great wrestler. He has a great frame and can develop into a solid player."
• RYAN MEYER (Omaha, Neb.) - Defensive Lineman, 6-2, 260
High School: Millard West; Head Coach: Kirk Peterson; Parents: Dave and Lou Ann Meyer; Academic Interest: Business
Notes: helped lead the Wildcats to a 10-2 record in 2007 and an appearance in the semifinals of the state playoffs … team captain … earned all-state, all-district and all-metro honors
Coach Tjeerdsma: "Ryan is a big, thick body, a good high-school player who comes from a very good program. Millard West was ranked No. 2 in the state of Nebraska. He's also a long snapper and that's a real plus since Cody Lanus will be a senior this fall. Playing against this level of competition for a year or two is really going to help Ryan. He can be a real solid player for us."
• TYLER OGLESBY (Maryville, Mo.) - Linebacker, 5-10, 205
High School: Maryville; Head Coach: Chris Holt; Parents: Terry Oglesby and Emily Shafer; step-brother of current Bearcat Josh Gannan
Notes: helped lead the Spoofhounds to a 9-1 record in 2007 and its first Midland Empire Conference championship since 2004 … all-district and all-conference linebacker … also earned all-conference honors as a fullback … recorded 56 tackles, one sack, five tackles-for-loss and an interception in eight games as a senior … selected to the Missouri Lions All-Star Game
Coach Tjeerdsma: "Tyler is an intense football player who loves to play the game. He's very aggressive. He's been around our program and grown into it with Josh Gannan, his step-brother, here. Tyler wants to be a Bearcat and I think he will develop into a solid player for us."
• ALEX OLIVE (Springfield, Mo.) - Offensive Lineman, 6-4, 270
High School: Glendale; Head Coach: Gary Hurse; Parents: Sam and Penny Olive
Notes: second-team all-state selection … first-team all-district and all-conference … named Springfield Quarterback Club Lineman of the Year … led the Falcons to the quarterfinals of the 2007 Class 5A state playoffs
Coach Tjeerdsma: "Alex is a very good offensive lineman, one of the best that we saw on film. We're really excited to have him. He's got the possibility of being a very good player for us in the near future. He's well developed and has a real desire to do well and I think that's going to carry over to the collegiate level."
• ALEX PETERSEN (Indianola, Iowa) - Defensive Lineman, 6-3, 265
High School: Indianola; Head Coach: Eric Kluver; Parents: Jeff and Mary Petersen
Notes: two-time first-team all-district and all-conference selection … team captain … one of the top wrestlers in the state … placed second at heavyweight in the 2007 state meet
Coach Tjeerdsma: "Alex is going to develop into a good football player. He has a lot to learn, but he's very athletic. He's currently the second-ranked heavyweight in Iowa Class 3A wrestling. He's a real tough, hard-nosed guy and I think all of his good football is ahead of him."
• JOHN PETROFF (Chesterfield, Mo.) - Offensive Lineman, 6-3, 280
High School: Parkway Central; Head Coach: Mark Goldenberg; Parents: Kathy Petroff
Notes: first-team all-state and all-conference selection … led the Colts to a second-place finish in the 2007 Class 4A state playoffs … also competes in track and field … one of the top throwers in the state … holds the school's shot put and discus records … scholar athlete
Coach Tjeerdsma: "John is probably one of most athletic offensive lineman we've recruited in some time. He's one of the outstanding shot and discus throwers, not just in the state, but nationwide. John has nice size, good feet and good pop out of his hips. I think he'll develop into a solid player."
• BENJAMIN PRITCHETT (Belton, Mo.) - Running Back, 5-9, 225
High School: Belton; Head Coach: Jeff Gourley; Parents: Wendell and Glenda Pritchett; Academic Interest: Physical Education
Notes: second-team all-state selection as a junior … first-team all-conference and all-Cass County as a junior … earned honorable mention honors as a running back in 2007 … carried 200 times in 2006 for 1,381 yards and 21 touchdowns … also competes in wrestling … district runner-up at 215-pounds as a junior
Coach Tjeerdsma: "Ben tore his ACL in his second or third game this year. He was in our camp this summer and we could see he's an outstanding player. Had he not been injured, it's hard telling where he might have ended up. He really liked it here when he was at camp and wanted to be a Bearcat. This has worked out well. He's very intense and has a real tough mentality for a running back. He was their tailback, but he'll be a fullback here. He's very good with the football in his hands."
• BILLY QUEISERT (Kansas City, Mo.) - Offensive Lineman, 6-6, 240
High School: Liberty; Head Coach: Pat Hansen; Son of Mark and Katherine
Notes: three-year letterwinner … high school teammate of current Bearcats Ryan Jones, Cory Hernandez and Kevin Okonta … named strength and conditioning athlete of the year … earned all-conference honors as a senior
Coach Tjeeerdsma: "Billy has a great frame and we feel like he can develop into a prototypical offensive lineman. He's athletic, runs well and has the possibility of being a very good player for us."
• TYLER SHAW (St. Louis, Mo.) - Wide Receiver, 6-0, 170
High School: Lutheran North; Head Coach: Jim Manion; Parents: Dennis and Gladys Shaw
Notes: all-state selection as a return specialist in 2008 … part of a program that has made the playoffs nine times in the last 10 years … also competes in basketball, cross country and track … state champion in the 110-meter hurdles as a junior (14.1) … state runner-up in the 300-meter hurdles as a junior
Coach Tjeerdsma: "Tyler meets our speed criteria. He was a state champion in the high hurdles last year in the state of Missouri and ran one of the best times in the state overall. There are a lot of things he'll learn as a receiver. He'll learn how to block and how to run routes. He has a lot of ability, but you can't develop the kind of speed that he has - you either have that or you don't. We're excited about having a guy that fast."
• DARIAN SKRENES (Hartland, Wis.) - Defensive Lineman, 6-2, 275
High School: Arrowhead; Head Coach: Tom Taraska; Parents: Larry and Ruhi Skrenes; Academic Interest: History Education
Notes: helped lead the Warhawks to the 2007 D1 State Championship with a 14-0 record … Warhawks were state runners-up in 2006 … two-time honorable mention all-conference selection
Coach Tjeerdsma: "Darian really impressed us with what we saw on tape. He's a solid football player with a lot of leg strength and explosiveness out of his hips, which is exactly what we're looking for in a defensive lineman."
• ROD WILLIAMS (Grandview, Mo.) - Defensive Lineman, 6-4, 275
High School: Grandview; Head Coach: Jason Godfrey; Parents: Roderick Williams and Ursula Copeland
Notes: second-team all-state selection … earned first-team all district and all-conference honors … three-year starter for the Bulldogs
Coach Tjeerdsma: "Rod can play on either side of the ball, but we're going to look at him playing defense. He has a huge frame and a ton of potential. Rod's a great worker, an excellent student and has such a desire to do well and I think he'll thrive in our system."
• ZACH WILSON (Lee's Summit, Mo.) - Offensive Lineman, 6-5, 320
High School: Blue Springs South; Head Coach: Greg Oder; Parents: Mark and Andrea Wilson; Academic Interest: Business
Notes: first-team all-state, all-district and all-conference … helped lead the Jaguars to the 2006 Class 6 State Championship … part of a program that won 24 consecutive games
Coach Tjeerdsma: "Zach's a big boy. He's lost weight and that's what's impressive about him because he moves so well. He's going to continue to lose some weight and will play much better at 300 pounds. He developed well in high school and I like his mental toughness. He started 33 consecutive games at Blue Springs South and it's a real testament to his durability."
• LANDAN ZAPUTIL (Denver, Iowa) - Linebacker, 5-11, 220
High School: Cedar Falls; Head Coach: Pat Mitchell; Parents: Jeff and Lisa Zaputil
Notes: two-time all-state selection, including an elite all-state selection in 2007 … two-time first-team all-conference and all-metro … competed as a fullback and linebacker … led the Tigers to a semifinal run through the playoffs in 2007 and a quarterfinal appearance in 2006 … Tigers were 11-1 in 2007 … also competed in baseball and track … competed on a state-qualifying 4x100-meter relay team
Coach Tjeerdsma: "Landan is a good linebacker and a solid football player. He's very aggressive and extremely physical - one of the most physical high-school linebackers we've seen in a long time. Landan reminds me a lot of Jared Erspamer when he played in high school. Landan's that type of a player. He's always going to hit somebody. We're really excited to get him. He'll really fit into our system as a linebacker."
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