By Turner Blaufuss
Minnesota State University Moorhead had another successful Signing Day as the football and women’s soccer teams announced the signing of a combined 36 new Dragons, respectively.
Head football coach Steve Laqua said his new 27-man class would bolster MSUM’s size in the trenches.
“You notice the size of the offensive and defensive linemen,” Laqua said. “There’s a lot of big guys in that group.”
The Dragons try to focus recruiting within their 300-mile radius, and the bulk of their newcomers are from South Dakota.
“We’ve got more kids from South Dakota than we’ve ever had, which is good to see,” Laqua said. “We’re excited to open more recruiting territory.”
A couple of the incoming freshmen, Darby Grengs (safety, Farmington, Minnesota) and Hunter Thompson (cornerback, Sioux Falls, South Dakota) will likely play right away in MSUM’s secondary. Most of the class will redshirt next season, which Laqua said is a positive indication of how far the team has come the past few years.
“I would say for the most part they’re a solid group that will develop into really great players. Most of them won’t play this year,” Laqua said. “They’ll have to redshirt, because our talent level has gotten so high that there aren’t as many opportunities to play as a true freshman. I think that’s a good sign of our program maturing.”
Local finds for the Dragons included Adam Hummel (running back, Fargo North) Gage Graber (tight end/linebacker, Fargo Davies) Devin Foster (linebacker, Fargo Oak Grove,) and Austin Roob (lineman, Richland 44, North Dakota).
The MSUM soccer team wanted to improve their team’s depth, which was sorely needed after some key players were injured this past season. Head soccer coach Christie Chappell was happy to bring in nine players in her first-ever MSUM recruiting class.
“It’s a fairly big class. Sometimes if somebody gets injured, they fall down a class, so sometimes bringing in a bigger class is an advantage,” Chappell said. “They all bring something different to the table. This year we didn’t have enough depth because of the injuries along the way. It’s really helpful to have depth at all the positions, so that’s why the class is a little bit bigger. There are a bunch of kids coming in who can play different positions, so it’s going to be fun to see watch them develop.”
Hannah Spielmann and Avery Wood, who are both from Rapid City, South Dakota, will continue to be teammates in Moorhead after playing together in high school.
“I had a club connection with their coach, so it’ll be fun because they already have a little bit of cohesion already from the way they play together,” Chappell said.
The Dragons’ coaching staff is excited to see how their newcomers will gel with the team’s current roster.
Chappell also said she’s been happy with her current players’ work ethic in the offseason.
“My current players are working really hard and are getting a lot better,” Chappell said. “Sometimes on signing day they get a little bit overshadowed, because everyone’s so excited about the newbies coming in, which makes sense. The players I have are working hard to lay the foundation we’re trying to build here.”
As with football, many of the recruits came from the Dragons’ backyard. A third of the class are in-state recruits, and one new athlete, Jensen Odegaard, hails from Kindred, North Dakota.