Early Verbal Commits to the Missouri Valley Football Conference

A handful of South Dakotans made their decision to play in the Missouri Valley Football Conference next year before the start of the high school season. Watch out, though – there will be several more commitments as the high school season goes on.

6’4, 185
High School Position: FS/WR

Projected College Position: Linebacker

College Commitment: South Dakota

Quote: “Their facilities were amazing and I felt most comfortable with them [USD]. I love the game of football and proud to be a Yote!”

Player Summary: Gage was the first South Dakotan this year to verbal to an MVFC school when he chose the University of South Dakota as his future football home. Although USD was the first to recruit Gage, he also had interest from Nebraska and other FCS schools. Gage played receiver and safety last year; he got two picks and was second on the team in tackles. He projects as a linebacker in his 6'4" frame and can’t wait to play for USD.

6’6, 290
High School Position: OT

Projected College Position: Offensive Tackle

College Commitment: South Dakota

Quote: “I’ve been gifted with really good size. It’s perfect for playing tackle. I grew up playing soccer a lot, I would say I have pretty good feet for someone my size.”

Player Summary: The athletic tackle from Sioux Falls Roosevelt, Joseph Cotton, stands 6-6 and is one of the best offensive linemen in the state. He’s worked extremely hard to add mass and strength since his junior year, and it paid off with a scholarship offer from USD. The Yotes see him as a bookend on the O Line, where his athleticism at the position should give him an advantage.

6’3, 245
High School Position: DL

Projected College Position: Defensive End

College Commitment: North Dakota

Quote: “It was a family atmosphere, I loved it. All the coaches knew my name and knew everything about me already coming in. I was like yeah, this is home.”

Player Summary: Kendis Ledbetter is a dominant and versatile defensive lineman for the Sioux Falls Washington Warriors. He was in on 6.5 tackles for loss last year. He’s been a target of several colleges. But it’s the University of North Dakota that was the best fit for him. Kendis is already very fast and strong but knows he needs to continue to improve physically to play at a high level in the Missouri Valley.

6’5, 250
High School Position: DE/TE/OL

Projected College Position: Offensive Line

College Commitment: South Dakota State

Quote: “I’m 250 now but I haven’t been in the weight room that much yet. I just work on the farm so they think I can put a lot of weight on me.”

Player Summary: Quinten has turned into one of South Dakota’s best offensive line prospects and has more room for growth. He’s been a versatile player in high school but should be able to fill a college lineman frame in a couple of years. Interest in Quinten heated up after football season last year. He had invites to Kansas State, UND, NDSU, Augustana and USF but after a meniscus injury during wrestling interest in him tempered. However, SDSU likes the potential Christensen has on the offensive line.

6’4, 265
High School Position: C/TE/DL

Projected College Position: Defensive Tackle

College Commitment: South Dakota State

Quote: “You really don’t know if schools want you to play college football until you talk to them. [They said] Yeah we have been keeping an eye on you, we’re glad you reached out.”

Player Summary: Coming from a small town like Howard, Jace Sifore wondered if college scouts noticed him. After reaching out to area teams, he realized he was on their radar. The reason he was on their radar is his athletic frame and massive size. Jace has the agility to make plays with his feet while boasting game-changing strength. He’s a multi-sport athlete who excels at basketball, baseball and football. He plans to play tight end and defensive end in his senior year at Howard.

6’1, 170
High School Position: CB/S

Projected College Position: Safety

College Commitment: South Dakota State

Quote: “Football has always been my favorite sport. So my tackling has always been a really big thing for me.”

Player Summary: Noah Thompson made several special plays as a varsity starter last season for the state champion Brandon Valley Lynx. The All-State DB is known for challenging some of the best receivers in the state. He projects as a safety at the next level and has a skill for bringing ball carriers to the ground.

6’7, 217
High School Position: DE/TE

Projected College Position: Tight End

College Commitment: South Dakota State

Quote: “I had about an hour sit-down with him [Coach Stiegelmeier] and he was right on the whole time. I just really enjoyed talking to him and the coaches.”

Player Summary: David Alpers was an all-state Defensive Lineman for O’Gorman and had a breakout junior season in 2020. He also played tight end and that’s where the Jackrabbits see Alpers's potential. The 6'7" athlete also stars in basketball and has a 27.5” vertical jump. Alpers should see a bigger role in the team’s offense this year as a pass-catcher.

6’6, 250
High School Position: Center

Projected College Position: Interior Offensive Line

College Commitment: South Dakota

Quote: “It’s just one big family at USD, and I love that aspect of it. They’re doing great things not only to improve the program but to improve the players.”

Player Summary: Brady Koupal didn’t have college football on his radar growing up. He thought he’d be a basketball player. Last offseason when he started to improve athletically, his size started making him a prime offensive line prospect. Koupal went to several camps in the spring and summer, and quickly generated plenty of interest from area colleges. But it wasn’t until he visited the University of South Dakota that he felt at home. The center from the state champs has big-time upside. He excels when he’s able to pull and get out and run block.

6’5, 285
High School Position: Offensive guard/ nose guard

Projected College Position: Interior Offensive Line

College Commitment: South Dakota

Quote: “USD has one of the nicest weight rooms in the FCS. It looks like it should be at ‘Bama or something. We went there for a visit, and the linemen already treated us like we were family.”  

Player Summary: Jordan is one of the big reasons why the Harrisburg Tigers have such a dominant offensive line. He’s a good all-around athlete who also throws shot put. He had the fifth longest shot amongst underclassmen in the state last track and field season. He also changes direction well as proven by one of the fastest pro-agility times amongst linemen at the Riggs POWER Combine this spring. 

6’5, 280
High School Position: Offensive guard/ defensive tackle

Projected College Position: Interior Offensive Line

College Commitment: South Dakota

Quote: “I like the facilities a lot, plus a nice weight room and a great strength coach is what it seems like.”

Player Summary: Josh is Jordan’s twin and committed to USD just a day after his brother. He’s another dominant offensive lineman for the Harrisburg Tigers. He spends his winter wrestling at a high level in the highest weight class. He also performed well at the Riggs POWER Combine this spring with one of the best broad jumps of any lineman.

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