According to Meierkort, the Coyotes success on and off the field and the University's decision to move its program to the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly DIAA) motivated a highly talented group to sign with South Dakota. "This class represents one of the most gifted recruiting groups we have had since we came here three years ago," said Meierkort, who has directed the Coyotes to a combined 27-8 record during his three years as coach as well as a North Central Conference title in 2005 and their first playoff berth in 20 years during the 9-4 campaign of 2006. "We finished recruiting two weeks ago, including canceling two recruiting weekends, which shows that the type of athlete we are recruiting is directly correlated to our success and our jump to the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS)."
"As we began the recruiting season, we knew we would deal in a higher talent pool. Still, it is surprising how strong this group is," added Meierkort, whose Coyotes finished the season ranked 13th in the AFCA coaches poll and ninth in the d2football.com poll. "I want to thank our staff for their dedication and hard work."
"We feel strongly that recruits are choosing South Dakota for the total experience that USD provides including its' outstanding academic reputation," he said. "We recruited those student-athletes that wanted to be Coyotes and that wanted to make the commitment to continue to help USD make a national impact whether at Division II next year or following the move up to FCS in 2008-09. They are anxious to get started," he said.
The 2007 class includes five student-athletes from South Dakota and 17 from the four-state area of South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa. Several of the signees are outstanding students, who will be competing for top academic scholarships.
According to Meierkort, the South Dakota signees are led by two of the state's top-four players in all-state wide receiver Dustin Nowotny of Rapid City and all-state linebacker Shea Williams of Alexandria. The Coyotes have four student-athletes from Iowa, four from Nebraska, three from Minnesota, two from Wisconsin, four from Illinois, two from Texas and one from California. This class includes four defensive lineman, four offensive lineman, four linebackers, six defensive backs as well as three running backs, a quarterback, and two wide receivers, and a tight end.
Meierkort also noted that his staff experienced a change in the schools they are recruiting against. "This year we banged heads with other Division II powers North Dakota, Nebraska-Omaha, Northwest Missouri State and Grand Valley State as well as FCS schools South Dakota State, Western Illinois, Northern Iowa and North Dakota State."
South Dakota's 2007 Recruiting Class:
- Sidney Bazemore: DE, 6'4, 224, Chicago, IL (Mt. Carmel)
- Adam Broders: FS, 6'2, 180, Bloomfield, NE (Bloomfield)
- Evan Capper: DL, 6'1, 242, Aplington, IA (Aplington-Parkersburg)
- Tom Compton: OL, 6'5, 271, Rosemount, MN (Rosemount)
- Rob Cunningham: OL, 6'5, 260, Rapid City (Stevens)
- Wayne Drummer: RB, 5'9, 85, Chicago, IL (Richards)
- Chris Ganious: RB, 5'7, 175, Houston, TX (North Shore)
- Erik Helland: FB, 6'0, 215, LeCenter, MN (LeCenter)
- Brent Johnson: OL, 6'5, 280, Jewell, IA (South Hamilton)
- Tyler Legate: LB, 5'10, 200, Neligh, NE (Neligh-Oakdale)
- D'andre Lewis: FS, 5'10, 182, Lakewood, CA (Lakewood)
- Sam Markham: LB/DE, 6'3, 225, Janesville, WI (Janesville Craig)
- Brad McCurry: S, 5'9, 175, Watauga, TX (Harvest Christian Aca.)
- Andrew Meier: FS, 6'3, 180, Guthrie Center, IA (Guthrie Center)
- Kameron Middlebrooks: CB, 5'10, 185, Des Moines, IA (Roosevelt)
- Jesse Noecker: DL, 6'3, 260, Hartington, NE (Hartington Cedar Catholic)
- Dustin Nowotny: WR, 6'3, 190, Rapid City (St. Thomas More)
- R.J. Polley: OL, 6'6, 270, Albert Lea, MN (Albert Lea)
- Matt Porisch: TE, 6'7, 225, Flandreau (Flandreau)
- Allan Schmaltz: WR, 6'2, 185, Rapid City (Central)
- Julian Tucker: S/LB, 6'0, 200, Schaumburg, IL (Schaumburg)
- Dante Warren: QB, 5'11, 195, Arlington Heights, IL (St. Viator)
- Jesse Weisbrod: DE, 6'4 250 Waupaca, WI (Waupaca)
- Kyle Wheeler: LB, 6'1, 230, Omaha, NE (Millard South)
- Shea Williams: FB/LB, 6'1, 205 Alexandria (Hanson)