Wayne State College head football coach Dan McLaughlin and his staff announced today that 27 high school student-athletes have made commitments to the Wildcat football program on the first day of the 2018 signing period. The incoming class includes 13 athletes from Nebraska, four each from Iowa and Missouri, two from Kansas and Illinois and one each from Florida and Louisiana.
“The 2018 Wayne State Wildcat Football recruiting class addresses several needs that the coaching staff determined critical to the future success of the program,” remarked Coach McLaughlin. “As we’ve always maintained, it takes one or two years to give a fair assessment of the quality of a recruiting class. Hopefully we have accurately evaluated the athletic skills, academic capabilities and character values of these young men.”
McLaughlin added, “I want to thank the coaching staff and all of the staff that helped us do things that we need to do in recruiting. A special thanks to Recruiting Coordinator Ben Curran along with assistants Denny Honnold, Scott McLaughlin, Casey Carlo and John Dunford who worked tirelessly to corral what we feel is an outstanding class.”
Wayne State College is an NCAA Division II school located in Wayne, Nebraska and competes in the 16-team Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. The Wildcats finished the 2016 season at 6-5 overall and fourth in the NSIC South with a 4-3 divisional mark.
Nebraska signees (13)
Beau Bowers Quarterback/Def. Back 5-11, 165 Wayne, Nebraska (Wayne HS)
Three-year starter at quarterback for the Blue Devils, throwing for over 1,000 yards all three seasons…helped Wayne to a 7-4 record during senior season and the school’s first playoff win in 34 years, passing for 1,676 yards…named Class C-1 District 5 First Team selection as a junior and senior and was a Second Team selection as a sophomore…earned Class C-1 All-State honorable mention as a junior and senior and is Wayne’s all-time passing leader for career yards, career TD passes and single season TD passes.
Ryan Brauer Placekicker 6-0, 175 Battle Creek, Nebraska (Battle Creek HS)
Brauer was a three-year starter in football and four years in track and field for the Braves…named Huskerland Preps Class C-2 All-State kicker during senior season after making 26 of 31 PAT kicks, three field goals with eight touchbacks…set Class C-2 state record this year with 132 career PAT kicks…was Class C-2 honorable mention All-State three times by Lincoln Journal Star and twice from Omaha World Herald…played on Battle Creek teams that reached the Class C-2 semi-finals all four years.
Brandon Dueling Offensive Line 6-3, 290 Papillion, Nebraska (Papillion-LaVista HS)
Two-year starter on the offensive line…named to the Class A All-In The Game Offensive Team as a senior to go with All-Metro Conference Third Team honors…also earned Class A honorable mention All-State honors.
Connor Fee Defensive Line 6-1, 240 Gretna, Nebraska (Gretna HS)
Fee is a two-year starter in football and wrestling at Gretna…during senior season, made 90 tackles with five sacks to earn Huskerland Prep All-State honors as an offensive lineman while helping the Dragons to the Class B semi-finals with an 11-1 record…also selected All-Area, All-Eastern Midlands Conference and All-District Defense and Class B All-State honorable mention…recorded 62 tackles with three sacks and one fumble recovery as a junior helping Gretna to 10-3 record and Class B semi-finals.
Ryan Jaixen Wide Receiver 5-9, 150 Wayne, Nebraska (Wayne HS)
Jaixen is a three-sport standout at Wayne High School in football, basketball and track and field…was a two-time Class C-1 District 5 All-District selection and is Wayne’s all-time leading receiver with over 2,000 career yards…during senior season, helped Wayne to a 7-4 record and the Class C-1 quarter-finals while also winning the school’s first playoff game in 34 years…was a Class C-1 All-State honorable mention selection during senior season.
Jacob Johnson Running Back 5-11, 195 Fairbury, Nebraska (Fairbury HS)
Johnson was a four-year starter in football, wrestling and track and field for the Jeffs…was a Class C-1 First Team All-State selection by the Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha World Herald as a senior after leading Fairbury to a 9-1 record (unbeaten regular season) and Class C-1 playoff berth…averaged 11.3 yards per carry and scored 23 touchdowns rushing as a senior, including single game school records of 335 yards and seven TD’s…finished high school career with 4,873 yards rushing and 73 total touchdowns…was a four-time All-District First Team selection and was honorable mention All-State as a freshman, sophomore and junior.
Vernon Johnson Defensive Back 5-11, 160 Omaha, Nebraska (Omaha North HS)
Johnson was a two-year starter in football for Omaha North High School…named Class A First Team All-State in senior season after helping team to state title with 12-1 record…credited with eight passes defended, three interceptions and 21 tackles this season…as a junior, made six interceptions with 30 tackles and eight passes defended…was a two-time All-Metro Conference First Team selection on defense.
Levi Krueger Running Back 5-8, 195 Tilden, Nebraska (Boone Central/Newman Grove HS)
Krueger is a three year starter in football while also starting four years in track and two in wrestling at Boone Central/Newman Grove High School…rushed for 1,289 yards this season while helping Cardinals to 10-3 record and Class C-1 runner up finish…named Class C-1 First Team All-State at linebacker by Omaha World Herald and was All-Heartland Super Squad First Team along with All-District selection…during junior season earned First Team All-District and Class C-1 All-State honorable mention.
Mason Lee Wide Receiver 6-3, 175 Wayne, Nebraska (Wayne HS)
Lee was a wide receiver/return specialist for the Blue Devils, helping Wayne to a 7-4 record and schools’ first playoff win in 34 years this season…named Class C-1 First Team All-State wide receiver by the Lincoln Journal Star after setting new single season school record with 928 receiving yards and 13 TD’s averaging 24 yards per catch…on special teams, averaged 27 yards per punt return (only kicked to nine times) with one TD and had 13 kickoff returns for 20.5 yard average and one score…other post season honors during senior season included honorable mention All-State from the Omaha World Herald and Class C-1 District 5 First Team.
Alex Lindsay Offensive Line 6-3, 240 Pierce, Nebraska (Pierce HS)
Lindsay is a football and track and field standout at Pierce High School…during senior season, was selected Class C-1 First Team All-State offensive lineman by the Omaha World Herald, Lincoln Journal Star after helping Bluejays to 7-5 record and Class C-1 semi-finals…also received All-District First Team in Class C-1 District 5 and Huskerland Preps…as a junior, received All-District honorable mention and All-State honorable mention from Lincoln Journal Star.
Devin Merkuris Running Back 5-11, 190 Ralston, Nebraska (Ralston HS)
Merkuris was a three-year starter in football while playing for former Wildcat and Wayne native Jason Fink…was a two-time 1,000-yard rusher and finished career with 25 TD’s rushing…gained 1,054 yards (5.1 avg) with 10 TD’s as a senior and had another 1,017 yards (4.6 avg) with 10 TD’s during junior season…had single game-high of 311 yards and four TD’s…was a two-time All-River Cities Conference selection and named All-District three times to go with Class B All-State honorable mention twice…also competed in basketball and track and field at Ralston HS.
Dalton Ryan Wide Receiver 5-8, 170 Blair, Nebraska (Blair HS)
Ryan is a three year starter in football and track and field at Blair High School…played wide receiver and returner along with defensive back, helping Blair to 6-4 record this season and Class B playoff berth…named All-District and Class B All-State honorable mention after making 33 tackles on defense to go with 17 catches and two TD’s to go with 291 yards on kickoff returns…is a three-year Class B State Track qualifier in the pole vault and placed fourth last spring clearing 13′ 8″.
Adam Wasserman Defensive Back 6-1, 190 Fairbury, Nebraska (Fairbury HS)
Was the quarterback and safety on Fairbury’s Class C-1 playoff teams the last two seasons…four year starter in football that ended career with 3,841 yards passing (56 TD’s) and 2,081 yards rushing (32 TD’s)…during senior season, named Class C-1 All-State First Team at defensive back for the Jeffs after unbeaten regular season and 9-1 overall record…had seven interceptions for 219 return yards to go with 25 tackles during senior season…other post-season honors included First Team All-District as a junior and senior and Class C-1 All-State honorable mention during junior season.
Iowa signees (4)
Caleb Brouse Defensive Line 6-3, 260 Harlan, Iowa (Harlan HS)
Brouse is a three-year starter in football and also competed in wrestling and track and field for the Cyclones…earned Iowa Class 3A First Team All-State honors from the Iowa Newspaper Association during senior season after recording 35 tackles, helping Harlan to a 10-2 record and Class 3A semi-finals…other post-season honors included First Team All-District, All-Southwest Iowa and Omaha World Herald All-Area Team…excels in the classroom with Academic All-State honors and Hawkeye-10 All-Academic selection.
Nick Joynt Linebacker 6-1, 200 Garner, Iowa (Garner-Hayfield-Ventura HS)
Joynt is a four-sport standout at Garner-Hayfield-Ventura High School, starring in football, basketball, soccer and baseball…in football was a three-time All-District selection…as a senior, scored 22 touchdowns (13 rushing, six receiving and three on returns) while recording 66 tackles on defense…rushed for 747 yards on 96 carries and scored 13 TD’s, caught 29 passes for 458 yards and six TD’s and had one kickoff and two punt returns for touchdowns…school record holder for career tackles with 246…is a two-time All-Conference and All-District selection in basketball, earned All-State honors in soccer and is a three-time All-Conference honoree on the baseball field.
Bryan Kunde Quarterback 5-11, 205 Cedar Rapids, Iowa (Washington HS)
Kunde was a two-year starter at quarterback for Cedar Rapids Washington High School…was a Second Team All-District and All-Metro selection while earning All-State honorable mention…as a senior completed 109 of 230 passes for 1,293 yards and nine TD’s while leading team to Class 4A State playoffs with 5-5 record…during junior campaign was 122 of 237 for 1,821 yards and 23 TD’s while helping team to 10-2 mark and Class 4A semi-finals at the UNI Dome.
Anthony Lowman Wide Receiver 5-8, 165 Van Meter, Iowa (Van Meter HS)
Lowman is a multi-sport standout at Van Meter, starting four years in football and golf, five years in baseball and three in track and field…helped Van Meter to a 13-0 record this season and the Iowa Class 1A State title, making 23 catches for 420 yards and eight TD’s with 21 tackles on defense with an interception and fumble recovery for a touchdown…holds school record with 97-yard TD reception and is career leader in punt return yards at 697…earned Second Team All-State baseball honors last season as a junior and holds school records for hits in a game and runs scored in a game and in track and field holds school record in long jump (20-6).
Missouri signees (4)
TJ Brown Inside Linebacker 6-1, 215 Belton, Missouri (Belton HS)
Brown started three years in football and two in basketball at Belton High School…set school record during senior season with 115 tackles (68 solo) with 12 tackles for loss and two interceptions to earn First Team All-Suburban Conference and First Team All-District honors…was a Second Team All-Conference and All-District honoree as a junior and honorable mention during sophomore season.
Jason Hawkins Jr. Wide Receiver 5-10, 160 St. Louis, Missouri (Parkway North HS)
Hawkins was regarded as one of the top returners in the St. Louis area in 2017…earned First Team All-Suburban South Conference honors as a wide receiver/returner and was named the Conference’s Returner of the Year after hauling in 34 catches for 648 yards (19.1 avg.) and 10 TD’s…on special teams, had 17 punt returns for 451 yards (26.5 avg) with three scores and averaged 40.5 yards on seven kickoff returns for 284 yards and two TD’s…other post-season honors included First Team All-State returner, All-Conference defensive back and First Team All-USA Today in Missouri.
Evan Vishion Linebacker 6-0, 210 Chesterfield, Missouri (Marquette HS)
Vishion is a four-year letter winner and started 2 ½ years at Marquette High School…during senior season was named All-Suburban West Conference Second Team defense honors and was an MFCA All-District selection…holds the school record for career assisted tackles.
Tavian Willis Quarterback 6-0, 190 Ferguson, Missouri (McCluer South Berkeley HS)
Two-year starter at quarterback that led team to pair of undefeated regular seasons…completed 65 percent of his passes during senior season for 1,719 yards and 22 TD’s with just two interceptions to go with seven rushing TD’s, earning All-Suburban Central Conference and Class 3 All-State honors…prior to senior season, was named to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Super 30 players list…as a junior, completed 64 percent of passes for 1,968 yards with 21 TD’s and just three interceptions, leading team to Class 3 state semi-finals…named First Team All-District and All-Suburban Central Conference as a junior and senior.
Other signings (6)
Adam Andrews Jr. Linebacker 6-0, 200 Burbank, Illinois (St. Laurence HS)
Andrews was a four-year starter at St. Laurence High School…credited with 140 tackles, 10.5 sacks and two interceptions during senior season to earn All-Chicago Catholic League honors and Class 6A honorable mention…made 117 tackles in junior season with three sacks and one interception.
Andrew Ativie Wide Receiver 6-1, 175 Leavenworth, Kansas (Leavenworth HS)
Two-year starter at wide receiver…during senior season, hauled in 34 catches for 506 yards (14.9 avg.) with three TD’s to earn Second Team All-Sunflower League honors…had 20 receptions for 318 yards (15.9 avg.) and two scores as a junior.
Perez Hall Jr. Wide Receiver 5-7, 155 Belleville, Illinois (East St. Louis HS)
Hall is a three year letter winner and starter as a senior at wide receiver and return specialist at East St. Louis High School.
Garrett Lancelot Safety 6-1, 185 Wichita, Kansas (Wichita East HS)
Credited with 114 tackles, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries to go with one kickoff return for a touchdown this season as a senior…was named Second Team All-Wichita City League during junior season.
Justin Mosley Defensive End 6-2, 220 Tampa, Florida (Wharton HS)
Two-year starter in football…credited with 63 tackles this season, averaging 6.5 tackles per contest.
Rashod Pierre Safety 5-11, 185 Edgard, Louisiana (St. James HS)
Pierre was a four-year letter winner in football…credited with 42 tackles, five pass breakups, three interceptions and four tackles for loss this season to earn Second Team All-District honors…was an All-District selection in 2016 while helping team to Class 3A State runner-up finish in Louisiana.