Kearney, Neb. – Nebraska-Kearney head football coach Josh Lynn announced today the names of 40 high school seniors and two mid-year transfers who will suit up for the Lopers this fall. Listen to coach Lynn’s comments here with KRVN’s Jayson Jorgensen.
Later this spring and summer, UNK will add more high school seniors and several junior college transfers to the 2018 roster. UNK had just eight seniors and a graduate transfer on last year’s squad.
Overall, the group of 42 breaks down to 22 on defense, 17 on offense, two athletes and one specialist. By position, they are 10 defensive backs, 10 linebackers and two defensive linemen. On offense, the newcomers consist of six linemen, five linemen, three quarterbacks, two running backs and one tight end.
Sixteen of the newcomers hail from Nebraska with Colorado (14) and Illinois (nine) making up the majority of out-of-state players. Missouri (two) and California (one) are also represented.
“This is kind of funny but one of the staples we put on the recruiting class this year is we wanted young men who’ve worn a (winter) jacket before. If you recruit those type of kids, you’re going to be alright,” said Lynn.
During its RMAC (Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) days, a quarter of UNK’s roster annually hailed from Colorado. Several Loper stars, including all-time leading rusher Mike Miller (Littleton), two-time All-American offensive lineman Cole Manhart (ThunderRidge H.S.) and record setting quarterback Jake Spitzlberger (Bear Creek H.S.), hailed from the Rocky Mountain state.
In October, UNK announced it will offer in-state tuition rates for Colorado and Kansas residents who enroll as regular on-campus undergraduate students and meet assured admission requirements. The new rates begin in the fall of 2018. “Making those states in-state is a game changer for us. Right off the bat, it takes off $6,000 and that’s huge in Division II football. When you compare UNK to other Colorado schools, we’re one of the most affordable. We’re able to stretch our money and that allows us to get additional players,” said Lynn
Over the years, including the Kearney State College days, the Loper football team got a handful of players from Illinois and the Chicagoland area. That included two-time NAIA All-American lineman Phil Gustafson (Galesburg), center Dan Whelan (Evergreen Park), who created the Loper logo, and current offensive linemen Leo Wilson (Chicago).
Lynn and his coaching staff ventured into Chicagoland last year and returned with a vengeance this recruiting cycle. Illinois is one of eight states part of the Midwest Exchange which reduces out-of-state tuition for incoming students.
Transfers Rangel Lowry (offensive line) and Cody Summers (quarterback) are going through winter workouts and will take part in spring ball this Marsh. Lowry gives the line another upperclassmen with Summers the third junior signal caller, joining Alex McGinnis (Crete) and Steve Worthing (Elkhorn South). He previously played at Highland (Kan.) C.C. and MIAA-member Washburn.
UNK begins spring ball on Monday, March 26, with the spring scrimmage set for Friday, April 20.
Mid-Year Transfers (2)
Rangel Lowry, Offensive Line, 6-4, Jr., 300 lbs. (Oakley, Calif./Diablo Valley College, Calif.) … Bio Notes
Cody Summers, Quarterback, Jr., 6-3, 210 lbs. (Denver, Colo./Highland C.C, Kan. & Washburn U., Kan.) … Bio Notes
Nebraska High School Seniors (16)
Ian Boerkircher, Tight End, 6-6, 210 lbs. (Aurora, Neb./Aurora H.S.) … Bio Notes
Brian Covarrubias, Kicker/Punter, 5-8, 155 lbs. (Grand Island, Neb./Grand Island Senior H.S.) .. Bio Notes
Jake Gappa, Linebacker, 6-1, 195 lbs. (Kearney, Neb./Kearney Catholic H.S.) … Bio Notes
Riley Harms, Quarterback, 6-6, 220 lbs. (Fremont, Neb./Fremont H.S.) … Bio Notes
Jared Jennings, Linebacker, 5-11, 220 lbs. (Elkhorn, Neb./Elkhorn South H.S.) … Bio Notes
Brett Kaiser, Wide Receiver, 6-3, 200 lbs. (Kearney, Neb./Kearney Catholic H.S.) … Bio Notes
Wyatt Kee, Linebacker, 6-0, 205 lbs. (Gibbon, Neb./Gibbon H.S.) … Bio Notes
Anthony Kirby, Defensive Back, 6-0, 180 lbs. (Lincoln, Neb./North Star H.S.) … Bio Notes
Michael Koch, Athlete, 6-4, 195 lbs. (Columbus, Neb./Columbus H.S.) … Bio Notes
Ethan Mach, Defensive Line, 6-5, 240 lbs. (Crete, Neb./Crete H.S.) … Bio Notes
Hunter Novacek, Linebacker, 6-1, 200 lbs. (Kearney, Neb./Kearney H.S.) … Bio Notes
Carson Pilkington, Linebacker, 6-0, 220 lbs. (Elkhorn, Neb./Elkhorn South H.S.) … Bio Notes
Kooper Reece, Offensive Line, 6-6, 245 lbs. (Valentine, Neb./Valentine H.S.) .. Bio Notes
Andrew Rheiner, Offensive Line, 6-6, 265 lbs. (Omaha, Neb./Burke H.S.) … Bio Notes
Jack Rush, Defensive Back, 6-4, 180 lbs. (Callaway, Neb./South Loup H.S.) … Bio Notes
Cole Young, Offensive Line, 6-3, 265 lbs. (Papillion, Neb./Papillion-LaVista South H.S.) … Bio Notes
Out of State High School Seniors (24)
Gabriel Amegatcher, Defensive Back, 6-3, 190 lbs. (Romeoville, Ill./Lockport H.S.) … Bio Notes
Jesse Anzar, Defensive Back, 6-1, 175 lbs. (Pueblo, Colo./Pueblo South H.S.) … Bio Notes
Hunter Bergstrom, Defensive Back, 5-1, 190 lbs. (Strasburg, Colo./Strasburg H.S.) … Bio Notes
Howard Brookins, Slot Receiver, 5-9, 160 lbs. (Chicago, Ill./ Urban Prep-Bronzeville H.S.) … Bio Notes
Marcellous Burton, Defensive Line, 6-3, 300 lbs. (Denver, Colo./Vista Academy) … Bio Notes
Johnny Collins, Outside Linebacker, 6-3, 220 lbs. (Chicago, Ill./Urban Prep-Bronzeville H.S.) … Bio Notes
Tyrone (TJ) Davis, Quarterback, 6-3, 195 lbs. (Colorado Springs, Colo./Widefield H.S.) … Bio Notes
Xavier Delk, Athlete, 6-1, 180 lbs. (Aurora, Colo./Gateway H.S.) … Bio Notes
Malik Fofana, Wide Receiver, 6-3, 190 lbs. (Denver, Colo./Collegiate Prep Academy) … Bio Notes
Sirshaun Gardner, Wide Receiver, 6-3, 180 lbs. (Chicago, Ill./Al Raby H.S.) … Bio Notes
Heath Helms, Outside Linebacker, 6-5, 210 lbs. (Castle Rock, Colo./Castle View H.S.) … Bio Notes
Sethe Holt, Defensive Back, 5-10, 175 lbs. (Chicago, Ill./ Urban Prep-Bronzeville H.S.) … Bio Notes
Thomas Jenkins, Inside Linebacker, 6-1, 210 lbs. (Aurora, Colo./Grandview H.S.) .. Bio Notes
Konner Klassen, Offensive Line, 6-4, 290 lbs. (Glencoe, Ill./New Trier H.S.) … Bio Notes
Aubery Marschel-Parker, Wide Receiver, 6-1, 175 lbs. (Aurora, Colo./Regis Jesuit H.S.) … Bio Notes
Rafael Rocha, Offensive Line, 6-4, 240 lbs. (Denver Colo./Denver East H.S.) … Bio Notes
Joseph Stiffend, Running Back, 6-1, 185 lbs. (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North H.S.) … Bio Notes
Dakari Smith, Outside Linebacker, 5-10, 185 lbs. (Chicago, Ill./Hillcrest H.S.) … Bio Notes
Darius Swanson, Defensive Back, 6-3, 185 lbs. (Aurora, Colo./Cherokee Trail H.S.) … Bio Notes
Kevin Traylor, Running Back, 5-11, 175 lbs. (Aurora, Colo./Gateway H.S.) … Bio Notes
KeyShaun VanDyke, Outside Linebacker, 6-3, 180 lbs. (Florissant, Mo./Lutheran North H.S.) … Bio Notes
Armani Webster, Defensive Back, 6-1, 170 lbs. (Chicago, Ill./Chicago Tech Academy H.S.) … Bio Notes
Jaren Whitehead, Defensive Back, 5-11, 175 lbs. (Parker, Colo./Ponderosa H.S.) … Bio Notes
James Whitfield Jr., Defensive Back, 5-9, 180 lbs. (Florissant, Mo./Hazelwood Central H.S.) … Bio Notes