St. Cloud State had more of a local presence this year in football recruiting.
The Huskies ended up with seven area recruits as part of a class of 34 on NCAA National Signing Day on Wednesday. As part of that class, 27 players will receive some scholarship money and seven will be preferred walk-ons.
“We wanted to do a good job with local talent this year,” St. Cloud State head coach Scott Underwood said. “We had a great group of kids this year from area high schools. It’s exciting to add them to the program.”
Foley running back Luke Kelvington, St. Cloud Tech linebacker Austin Klaverkamp and St. Cloud Apollo wide receiver Jeremy Koffi had previously gone public with their verbal commitments to the Huskies.
St. Cloud Tech linebacker Riley Bates, Tech defensive back/wide receiver Casey Underwood (the head coach’s son), Annandale offensive lineman Dwight Moe and Sartell offensive/defensive lineman T.J. Bevans joined those three by becoming Huskies.
St. Cloud State went with nine wide receivers, seven offensive linemen, five linebackers, four running backs and defensive backs, three defensive lineman and a tight end and quarterback for the class of 2014.
“We added quality numbers,” Underwood said. “We feel like we got some great talent. We’re looking forward to the future and getting things rolling with this class. Our postseason success helped get us noticed a little more. When you’ve been to the national quarterfinals, it gets your foot in the door more.”
After graduating wide receivers Damon Treat, Renard Robinson, Chad Peterson and Dan Brown, Underwood and his staff made that position a necessity.
“We certainly graduated a lot of receivers who had made an impact for us,” Underwood said. “We wanted to get a little bigger there and our average height and weight went up for that. We have a talented group.
“I would hope that two of those kids could play right away next season with such a large pool. We had to make up for our losses there.”
Bates decided to attend St. Cloud State on Tuesday night. He also considered Minnesota-Duluth and Bethel, which also wanted him to play tennis.
“I’ve been talking the past couple of days pretty deep with my parents,” said Bates, a linebacker/tight end and three-year starter for the Tigers who also plays hockey. “It’s a great football program over there. It’s going to be tough.
“As an athlete, you want to go somewhere where you can get better and for me, there’s no better place than St. Cloud State.”
Riley’s father, Paul Bates, is Tech’s head tennis coach and a former St. Cloud State tennis player. When Riley decided to commit to the Huskies late Tuesday, he called his buddy, Klaverkamp.
“I was one of the first calls he made,” said Klaverkamp. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Bevans picked the Huskies over Bemidji State and St. John’s. He’ll be a preferred walk-on with Bates, Klaverkamp, Underwood, Kelvington and Moe. The 6-foot, 265-pounder will probably play center in college after he was a guard in high school. There’s also a small chance he could play on the defensive line.
“I wanted to stay close to home and St. Cloud State is a great program,” Bevans said. “The tuition is more affordable and it had the major I wanted. I like the coaches, especially (co-offensive coordinator) Doug Patterson. We met at an SCSU camp and hit it off. I’m looking forward to playing for him and Coach Underwood.”
Casey Underwood is looking forward to playing for his dad. The only time his father had coached him previously was in summer baseball when he was 15.
“I always wanted to play for him,” Casey said. “My dad’s always been all about football. I’ve always admired him and the way he handles himself. I think it’s going to be an awesome experience.”
–Scott Underwood said sophomore quarterback Scott Benedict has left St. Cloud State and will transfer to Gustavus. The Huskies will have five quarterbacks this fall in Nate Meyer, Jameson Parsons, McKinley Anderson, Ben Diedrick and new signee Alex Lennartz.
–Little Falls running back Jalen Wuchko and fullback Trysten Ross both signed letters of intent to play at Bemidji State next fall. While head coach Jay DeCann said guard Tom Tabatt will play at Valley City (N.D.) State.
–In addition to Kelvington, Foley coach Larry Herm said wide receiver Tyler Beehler will play at Iowa Western Community College next season. Meanwhile, offensive lineman A.J. Belanger has signed to play at Southwest Minnesota State.
–Sauk Rapids coach Bill Magnuson said offensive lineman Alex Stidmon will play at Northwestern College (Iowa) next fall.
SCSU FOOTBALL RECRUITING CLASS
Dylan Beyer, DB, Seymour, Wis.; Calvin Buesgens, WR, Chaska; J.T. Butler, WR/KR, New Prague; Keaton Clark, DB, Neenah, Wis.; Jacob Dye, OL, Williamsburg, Iowa; Curtwan Evans, RB, Bloomingdale, Ill.; Michael Franke, OL, Crystal Lake, Ill.; Marcus Gabriel, WR, Wausau, Wis.; Elliott Halsch, DL, Coralville, Iowa; Mozel Hargrays, WR, Romeoville, Ill.; Sam Hartman, TE, West Des Moines, Iowa; Alex Hempe, DB, DeLaSalle High School; Jaden Huff, RB, Bolingbrook, Ill.; Gary Koehring, LB, Kaneville, Ill.; Jeremy Koffi, WR/DB, St. Cloud Apollo; Mason Kramer, DL, Minot, N.D.; Alex Lennartz, QB, Grayslake, Ill.; Tim Mason, LB, South Holland, Ill.; Dylan Nauert, WR, Sugar Grove, Ill.; Peter Palecek, OL, Stillwater; John Pass, WR, Elk Grove Village, Ill.; Isaiah Pitchford, RB/FS, Waukesha, Wis.; Chris Poynter, DL, Dubuque, Iowa; Craig Szymanski, LB, Rosemount High School; Dwayne Wade, DB, Evanston, Ill.; Hunter Williams, WR, Carpentersville, Ill.; Josh Wright, OL, Waverly, Iowa.
Riley Bates, LB, St. Cloud Tech; T.J. Bevans, OL/DL, Sartell; Luke Kelvington, RB, Foley; Austin Klaverkamp, LB, St. Cloud Tech; Dwight Moe, OL, Annandale; Edward Penson, OL, Cretin-Derham Hall; Casey Underwood, WR/DB, St. Cloud Tech.