Hawks add prep stars, transfersApparently, the first back-to-back losing seasons in four decades under head coach Hank Biesiot has served as motivation for the Dickinson State football program.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
Apparently, the first back-to-back losing seasons in four decades under head coach Hank Biesiot has served as motivation for the Dickinson State football program.
Wednesday is national signing day for NCAA programs but is a day DSU has traditionally let pass by without much fanfare.
Instead, the Blue Hawks released an initial list of 15 recruits who as of Wednesday had signed Frontier Conference letters of intent.
DSU’s list includes seven high school standouts, two mid-year transfers with previous experience, three transfers with four years of eligibility, another with two years left and two former area high school players already at DSU who will be freshmen.
“I think it’s a good start,” Biesiot said. “Traditionally, we lay back a little bit and come in a little bit later. We start the process as early as a lot of them, but we go at a little bit of a slower pace than some of the other schools. I think we’re off to a good start. I think we’ve addressed some needs here with a couple of kids.”
Two big needs could be filled immediately at cornerback and punter.
Antwan Smith, who will be a senior cornerback, last played in the 2011 season at Robert Morris University, a NCAA Football Championship Subdivision school in Moon, Pa.
“We’ve got to get better in the secondary and Antwan, he’s a good guy,” Biesiot said.
Smith is a 5-foot-11, 155-pound Washington, D.C., native who played his first two seasons at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, Calif. He said he chose DSU after having several conversations with its coaches.
“My main goal, secondary-wise, is to make sure everyone is on the same page,” Smith said. “Once they get on the same page, there’s always room to get better.”
A multi-tool player on the recruiting list is Josh Borm from Cheyenne, Wyo.
Borm was Chadron State’s punter and kickoff specialist last season. He averaged 37.2 yards per punt with just six touchbacks in 53 punts. He averaged more than 60 yards per kickoff with one out of every three resulting in touchbacks.
“Down at Chadron, I was kind of thrown into the role of punter right away as a true freshman and that’s where I stayed,” Borm said.
The two-time all-state player from Cheyenne Central High School will be a junior and also hopes to play wide receiver for the Blue Hawks, which is undoubtedly their deepest position.
Zach Rose is a high school recruit from Cheyenne Central. He is a 6-5, 270-pound lineman.
Of the seven high school players signed, four are from Montana and three are from Wyoming.
Drew Senger, a 6-6, 260-pound offensive lineman from Miles City, Mont., Eric Boyd, a 5-10, 165-pound defensive back and quarterback from Anaconda, Mont., and Zach Czereda, a 6-2, 190-pound tight end and linebacker from Malta, Mont., were all-state selections last season.
Wyatt Hagler, a 6-2, 190-pound outside linebacker from Savage, Mont., was an all-state selection in 2011. His father, Wade Hagler, played for DSU in the 1980s.
“We’ve got a number of needs,” Biesiot said. “There’s a chance for some of these freshmen to play right away.”
DSU has two pairs of recruits who were high school teammates.
Ty Borgialli, a 6-foot running back and linebacker, and Billie Gordon, a 6-2, 245-pound lineman, were teammates at Newcastle (Wyo.) High School. Both were two-time all-state selections.
Ronald Jones and Robert Stirling are a pair of former high school teammates from Palmdale, Calif., both with four years of eligibility remaining.
As a senior at Pete Knight High School in the 2011 season, the 6-3, 205-pound Jones led his team with 34 receptions for 788 yards and five touchdowns. He was also their punter.
Sterling was a senior in 2010. The 5-7, 180-pound quarterback and running back threw for 950 yards and five touchdowns with a completion percentage of 52.3 while rushing for another score.
Dickinson High school graduate Luke Hanel and Heart River High School graduate Channing Wagner are DSU students who have also signed to play football for the Blue Hawks.
Hanel is a 6-1, 170-pound defensive back who was a member of the DSU men’s golf team in the fall. Wagner is a 6-3, 215-pound outside linebacker.
Both players are bigger than when they played in high school and Biesiot said coaches see potential in both.
“You see a lot of guys really jump from where they were in high school,” Biesiot said. “That’s not uncommon and I think both of those guys have a chance to be those types of kids.”
Cassidy French, a 6-foot, 245-pound defensive lineman from Wright, Wyo., and Stephen Polley, a 6-2, 285-pound offensive lineman from Chattanooga, Tenn., add depth to the Blue Hawks’ thin lines.
French was recruited by the Blue Hawks out of high school and has four years of eligibility remaining. Polley will be a junior.
DSU coaches hope to add more than double the list of recruits signed by the end of the month as they have several North Dakota and Montana high school recruits scheduled for on-campus visits in the next month.
Chief among the team’s priorities is finding a running back.
“I think recruiting is going quite well,” Biesiot said. “We’re off to a good start with these signees and probably the next month, month and a half is going to be a real telling time for us.”