Bemidji State football adds depth with 27 incoming players on National Signing Day
After making recruiting inroads into Texas last season, Bemidji State football head coach Jeff Tesch chose to recruit closer to home this time around.
Tesch announced the addition of 27 students to the roster for the 2010 season at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
All but one of the players are from Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin or Illinois.
The one who is not - defensive back Scott Christensen of Stockbridge, Georgia - has alumni ties to BSU as his father played for the Beavers in the 1980s.
Building depth was the focus for Tesch and the coaching staff on the high school senior recruiting trail.
"I would say the theme of this year's class ... was with a with a very experienced team coming back was to fill the holes of the players that are getting close to graduating and just to obviously upgrade the talent if we possibly can," Tesch said.
The upstart Beavers finished with a successful 8-3 overall record in 2009 to mark only the sixth eight-win season in the 70-year history of BSU football. Bemidji State did it with a mostly inexperienced and youthful roster, so most of the scholarships are tied into returning players.
"It may not be the biggest class we've ever had, but we're happy with it," Tesch said.
Of the 15 who signed National Letters of Intent, Tesch was especially pleased with the commitment of Alexander Lepp out of Ashwaubenon High School in Green Bay, Wis.
"The one special kid I think is Alex Lepp," Tesch said. "He's going to be our return and punt man."
Bemidji State also benefitted in the transfer commitment of senior running back Steven Battle from the University of North Dakota. Due to UND's transfer process to Division I, Battle's eligibility was exhausted at UND. But he still has one year of college eligibility remaining and chose to finish out his playing career at BSU.
Battle's downhill-running style and special teams expertise will be two major additions in what were exposed areas at times last season.
"We thought it would be nice to have one more back. I think last year at times we were a little thin in the backfield so we added him," Tesch said.
Tesch was happy to add local standouts in Bemidji linebacker Evan Olson and Blackduck wide receiver Todd Kalroos of Tenstrike.
"Ev(an) tested out ... as good as any of the prospects we had in this year. To get a local player from Bemidji, that's always exciting and I think Ev's a great fit for this program. I'm looking for great things from Ev," Tesch said.
With defensive leaders Jordan Lardinois and Rob Wills returning for their senior seasons next fall on the defensive line, Tesch turned his eye to the future group of linemen by signing five players at the position to National Letters of Intent.
They are Nathan Adams of Litchfield, Mike Jensen of Suamico, Wis., Daniel Kiebler of Franklin Park, Ill., Wayne Paulus of Belgium, Wis., and William Reinke of New Prague.
"Our goal was to replace areas that we were a little short in numbers or guys who are getting a little bit old. And I think we did a pretty good job with that," Tesch said.
National Letter of Intent Signees
Nathan Adams WR Litchfield
Kyle Asmus LB Isanti
Aaron Bartholomew TE/OL Mahtomedi
Brian Bueckers Jr. LB Avon
Scott Christensen DB Stockbridge, Ga.
Pat Cotter DB Ramsey
Luke Gerding DB Blaine
Mike Jensen DL Suamico, Wis.
Daniel Kiebler DL Franklin Park, Ill.
Alexander Lepp WR Green Bay, Wis.
Evan Olson LB Bemidji
Wayne Paulus DL Belgium, Wis.
Dylan Peterson OL Hillman
William Reinke DL New Prague
Chais Wakefield P/K Park Falls, Wis.
Steven Battle RB Grand Forks, N.D.
BSU Offer of Admission Signees
David Ackerman LB Ham Lake
Alexander Boelter OL South St. Paul
Matthew Coen-Tuff OL Grand Forks, ND.
Jared Flaata RB Cottage Grove
Sean Franks TE North Branch
Joseph Hurlburt TE Alexandria
Todd Kallroos WR Tenstrike
Marcus Miranda RB Aurora
Aaron Odland OL Roseville
Jared Roelofs OLB Glyndon
Zac Thelen WR New Franken, Wis.