SCSU recruiting notebook: Illinois becomes big factor

The St. Cloud State football program signed 11 players from Illinois to national letters of intent on Wednesday as part of National Signing Day.

That’s the largest number of recruits the Huskies have ever gotten from the state. Thirteen of SCSU’s 34 recruits came from Minnesota, five from Iowa, four from Wisconsin and one from North Dakota.

Illinois has seemingly replaced Wisconsin as the Huskies’ new recruiting hotbed.

“One thing we’re finding in Wisconsin now is that the NSIC and the FCS schools are very competitive there,” SCSU head coach Scott Underwood said. “There’s a bigger population base to pick from in Illinois with the Chicago area. For us being a true out of state school, it makes scholarship money more attractive to players from Illinois.

“There is a tuition waiver between Minnesota and Illinois and cuts the tuition down. If you’re a student from Illinois coming to Minnesota, it’s probably going to be around $17,000 a year without scholarship money. Normally it would be more like $22,000 for another state. It also helps when the recruit has a good ACT score or is in the top 15 of their class. That knocks the tuition down even more.”

St. Cloud State will be operating at 20 scholarships for next year. That’s up from about 17 in the recent past.

“We want to be more competitive there every year,” Underwood said. “If we see kids who we feel can make us a better team, we’re going to recruit them. We’re going to have a lot of competition at fall camp.”  

Underwood on the local recruits

–On Apollo WR/DB Jeremy Koffi: “He’s been at our camps the past few years. He has size, length and explosiveness. He’s just very athletic. He played more on the offensive side this year at Apollo and showcased some talent there. We’ll look at him as an offensive player to start out with, but we think he could play defensive back.”

–On Tech LB Riley Bates: “We see Riley as an inside linebacker. He has good size and footwork. He’s been starting since his sophomore year and he can keep getting bigger. He’s a hockey kid and is in a lot of different sports. He has a great upside.”

–On Tech LB Austin Klaverkamp: “He’s been running mates with Riley Bates for three years at linebacker for the Tigers. They’re somewhat identical in size and structure. He’s very competitive and hard-nosed. He made a lot of plays on defense for Tech.”

–On Tech WR/DB Casey Underwood, his son: “It’s a great opportunity for me to coach my son. It will be a great experience. He knows it will be competitive for him to get on the field. He has a lot of work to do. We’ll see if he stays at wide receiver, or goes to the secondary.”

–On Sartell OL/DL T.J. Bevans: “He’s another guy who has been at our camp the past few years. He might be undersized for an offensive lineman, but he’s very physical. We’ll look at him as an O-lineman first. He’s shown some promise on both sides of the ball.”

–On Foley RB Luke Kelvington: “He’s a kid who does a lot of things. We really wanted him. He’ll start by competing at running back. He’s wrestling right now and is down in weight. He’s very physical and explosive. He makes people miss. He’s highly-competitive and that’s what attracted us to him.”

–On Annandale OL Dwight Moe: “He really excelled on the O-line. He has big upside, but needs to get bigger. We see him growing into a position. He has good feet and is physical.”

Notes

–The Huskies only signed one quarterback in Alex Lennartz of Grayslake, Ill. Lennartz is 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds. He essentially replaces Scott Benedict on the roster. Benedict, a sophomore, transferred to Division III Gustavus for next season.

“We didn’t do much at quarterback after Nate Meyer came in as a transfer,” Underwood said. “Lennartz is a kid who is very accurate with good feet. He’s not a runner. We’ll see how he develops.”

The other quarterbacks on the roster are Jameson Parsons, McKinley Anderson and Ben Diedrick. Parsons will be a sophomore next year and Anderson and Diedrick will be redshirt freshman.

“We’re raw at quarterback, but very athletic,” Underwood said. “We’re anxious to see how they compete. Nate and Jameson have the most experience. It’s an open position right now.”

–SCSU is still in the search process for a new co-offensive coordinator to replace Ian Shoemaker. Shoemaker left in December to become the head coach at Division II Central Washington.

“We have a search committee formed and it’s progressing well,” Underwood said. “It’s a good pool of applicants. We’re narrowing the search.”

Follow Andy Rennecke on Twitter @AndyRennecke.

Andy Rennecke

About Andy Rennecke

A sports writer for the St. Cloud (Minnesota) Times newspaper who covers St. Cloud State athletics with a focus on football, women's basketball and men's basketball. I also cover the St. Cloud Rox of the Northwoods League. Follow Andy Rennecke at https://twitter.com/AndyRennecke
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