It’s an all-South Dakota State football recruiting edition in light of the Jackrabbits landed three known verbal commitments on Monday. National Signing Day is a week and a day away:
J.T. Hassell figures to be on the short list of most intriguing prospects in this class. The 6-foot-1, 215-pounder from Astronaut High in Florida was a second-team all-state pick in Class 5A and said he had scholarship offers from Wyoming, North Dakota State, Illinois State, Florida A&M, Jacksonville and others in NCAA Division I.
He chose SDSU – where he’ll play a to-be-determined position on defense – based largely on his campus visit.
"I feel like the coaches believe in me a lot as a person and they believe in the team," he said. "When I went up there, it felt like a family."
Here’s his highlight reel. One detail you may not notice in it: Hassell has only two fingers on his left hand, the result of being born wrapped up in his umbilical cord. That didn’t stop him from playing receiver in high school. He was a four-year starter on both sides of the ball.
"I love it," he said. "If I could go back and change it I wouldn’t change it. I feel I wouldn’t be as motivated as I would be without it."
Hassell said he’ll be the first in his family to attend college.
Andre Chisley was a three-year starter at linebacker at Hopkins in the Twin Cities and a first-team all-conference pick as a senior. (He faced a few current Jacks before.) But he’ll play defensive end at SDSU, hoping to make use of his ability to get off the line quickly.
The 6-2, 220-pounder has shown ability to adapt: He joined the wrestling team for the first time this winter at the urging of the coach.
Chisley, who also had a preferred walk-on offer from NDSU, said that the thing he most liked about SDSU during his recent visit was the structure – it’s emphasis on putting people in position to succeed.
Here’s his senior film.
The third commit is a preferred walk-on: Wagner cornerback Noah St. Pierre. The name might sound familiar for a couple reasons. His older brother, Solomon, now a standout DB at the University of Sioux Falls, had contact with SDSU as a prospect. And he’s been a four-year starter on both sides of the ball plus special teams.
As a senior, St. Pierre averaged more than 19 yards per punt return, 20 yards per catch and 34 yards per kick return. He also made 52 tackles with three picks in earning all-state and Argus Leader Elite 45 honors.
And he’s hardly small at 6-1, 170.
SDSU was aided greatly by offensive lineman Trevor Greger, another Wagner grad and a role model for St. Pierre.
"I grew up with Trevor," he said. "He’s a friend and a really good guy. He really helped my final decision. I thought about it and he was just along with me the whole time."
Here’s his film.
Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.