Wayne State College head football coach John McMenamin announced the addition of 26 student-athletes that have signed national letters of intent or committed to attend Wayne State and play football for the Wildcats in the 2020 season. The list of high school signings and transfers includes 15 athletes from Nebraska, four in South Dakota, three from Iowa and one each from Louisiana, Minnesota, Washington and Wisconsin.
“It’s A GREAT DAY TO BE A WILDCAT,” remarked Wildcat head coach John McMenamin on his first recruiting class at Wayne State College. “I would first like to thank our coaching staff as their tireless approach and attention to detail allowed us to recruit and sign the type of quality student athletes we need. Our staff has surpassed all expectations I had and have delivered an inaugural recruiting class second to none. I couldn’t be more proud of what they were able to accomplish in the few short weeks we had to recruit.”
McMenamin added, “We went in and focused on both sides of the line of scrimmage. We needed to address some size concerns and I definitely feel we accomplished that. We have signed a number of impactful young men that will help pave the future of the Wildcats. We also looked to add to our team speed. I feel that we hit some home runs here as the additions as the additions at the skill positions will provide some game-changing ability on both sides of the ball.”
Wayne State College is an NCAA Division II school located in Wayne, Nebraska and competes in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. The Wildcats finished the 2019 season with a 4-7 overall record and 2-5 mark in the NSIC South Division.
The following is a listing of student-athletes that signed with Wayne State on National Signing Day:
Dylan Baker, Tight End, 6-1, 220 Omaha, Neb. / Omaha Central HS
Baker is a two-year starter in football and power lifting and one year starter in baseball…served as a team captain during his senior season and had eight catches with 90 yards and one touchdown…earned Honorable Mention All-Metro and All-State Honors as a junior and senior…placed third at the state power lifting championships in 2019…received All-State Academic Honors twice in football and one year in baseball.
McMenamin on Baker – “Very strong powerlifter from a great program. He can play a couple spots and is pound-for-pound one of our strongest recruits.”
Rex Becker, Defensive Line, 6-1, 250 Hartington, Neb. / Cedar Catholic HS
Becker is a four-year starter in football and three-year starter in track and field at Hartington Cedar Catholic HS…recorded 94 tackles including 28 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks during senior season for the Trojans…earned Class C-2 All-State honors three years and was an All-District selection three seasons while also receiving Academic All-State honors as a senior…holds school records for career sacks (26), single season sacks (11.5) and most pancakes in a game (20).
McMenamin about Becker – “Strong as an OX with an unmatched motor. Rex will be a great addition to our defensive line.”
Gage Dengel, Tight End, 6-4, 200 Bellevue, Neb. / Bellevue East HS
Dengel is a multi-sport standout at Bellevue East HS starting three years in football, basketball and track and field…named Most Valuable Player as a junior and senior and is career record holder in career receptions (73) and receiving yards (1472)…averaged over 20 yards per catch during junior and senior seasons, making 32 catches for 720 yards as a senior and 26 receptions for 613 yards during junior campaign…first player in school history to have a 200-yard receiving game…named Third Team All-Metro Conference as a senior and Class A All-State Honorable Mention as a junior and senior…also excels in the classroom with Academic All-State honors during junior and senior season.
McMenamin on Dengel – “Probably the top tight end in the state. Multi-sport athlete that is also one of the top students at Bellevue East. Great hands combined with size and speed.”
Benjamin Flott, Offensive Line, 6-3, 260 Papillion, Neb. / Papillion La Vista HS
Flott was a two-year starter on the offensive and defensive line…led Class A in tackles for loss during the regular season with 17, recording 46 tackles and four sacks…earned Third Team All-Metro and Class A All-State Honorable Mention honors…voted to the All-Sarpy County Defensive Team.
McMenamin comments about Flott – “Another huge man. Battled injuries and really flew under the radar. His best days are ahead of him. One of the top students in his school.”
Uzziah Freeman, Wide Receiver, 6-4, 180 Omaha, Neb. / Boys Town HS
Freeman is a multi-sport standout at Boys Town starting three years in football and basketball and two in track and field…during senior season had 29 receptions for 518 yards and nine touchdowns, averaging 17.8 yards per catch…was a two-time First Team All-District and All-Conference selection in football and was also two-time All-conference and All-State Honorable Mention in basketball.
McMenamin comments on Freeman – “Just a freak of an athlete. Very long and explosive. Will be a mismatch problem for opposing teams.”
Nick Halleen, Running Back, 5-10, 200 Lincoln, Neb. / Lincoln Southeast HS
Halleen is a three-year starter in football and four years in track and field at Lincoln Southeast High School…earned Class A First Team All-State and Lincoln Journal Star First Team Super State honors as a senior after rushing for 1,655 yards and 23 touchdowns (7.4 avg)…also gained 1,052 yards averaging seven yards per carry during junior season…was a two-time All-City and All-Heartland Athletic Conference selection and named Academic All-State twice…finished high school career with 2,901 yards rushing and 32 touchdowns.
McMenamin about Halleen – “One of the top overall players in the state that will bolster our depth at running back.”
Jett Janssen, Offensive Line, 6-5, 250 Lincoln, Neb. / Lincoln East HS
Janssen started two years in football, basketball and baseball at Lincoln East High School…during senior season, was named Lincoln Journal Star Second Team All-Super State defensive end after recording 65 tackles with eight sacks, one safety, one blocked field goal and one interception…named First Team All-City at defensive end and was an Academic All-Conference selection in three sports…older brother Jordan is a member of the Wildcat men’s basketball team.
McMenamin comments on Janssen – “An absolute giant of a man. Multi-sport athlete that has great feet and will be a staple on our line for many years.”
Jaxon Johnson, Defensive End, 6-3, 235 Bancroft, Neb. / BRLD HS
Johnson is a four-year starter in football and three years in basketball for the Wolverines…named Class C-2 All-State during senior season helping BRLD to a 10-2 record and Class C-2 semifinals…on defense recorded 79 tackles with seven sacks and 12 tackles for loss and as a tight end on offense had 787 yards receiving and seven touchdowns…named to Huskerland Class C-2 All-Decade Team and was voted Defensive MVP of the River Battle Bowl…also a standout in basketball earning Class C-2 Second Team All-State honors last season after grabbing 466 rebounds as a junior.
McMenamin about Johnson – “Huge get for the Wildcats. Top player in the area and can play a multitude of positions.”
Brogan Jones, Linebacker, 5-10, 170 Allen, Neb. / Allen HS
Jones is a four-year starter in football, basketball and track and field for the Eagles…averaged 14.6 tackles per game (131 total tackles) this season helping Allen to a 6-3 record and Class D-2 playoff berth…notched 140 total tackles (14.0 per game) during junior season and finished high school career with 356 total tackles…was a three-time All-District selection in football and was Class D-2 All-State Honorable Mention…has earned six medals at Class D State Track Meet and is an Academic All-State selection in three sports.
McMenamin said about Jones – “Another hard-nosed, do it all type guy. Was the go-to player for Allen and will help us in a multitude of ways.”
Jacob Kuznia, Offensive Line, 6-2, 285 Papillion, Neb. / Papillion La Vista HS
Kuznia three-year letter winner in football…earned Class A All-State Honorable Mention during senior year playing offensive and defensive line…credited with 19 tackles and 1.5 sacks as a senior.
McMenamin on Kuznia – “He is a road grader that is very athletic. He plays with passion and is one of our top finishers in the class. He looks to punish defenders every play.”
Shane Orr, Wide Receiver, 5-10, 170 Omaha, Neb. / Omaha Roncalli Catholic HS
Orr is a three-year starter in football and two years in basketball at Omaha Roncalli Catholic High School…earned Class B First Team All-State honors at wide receiver during senior season, setting Class B single season record with 17 TD catches for the Crimson Pride…had school record 52 receptions for 991 yards as a senior, helping team reach Class B semi-finals with 9-3 record…as a junior averaged over 20 yards per grab with 27 catches for 600 yards and eight TD’s…other post season honors include Lincoln Journal Star Second Team Super State, All-District and All-River Cities Conference First Team and All-Omaha Area First Team.
McMenamin about Orr – “Starred on the Roncalli football team and is currently one of the top players for his basketball team. Tough and explosive and a huge reason for the schools’ success.”
Barrett Skrobecki, Linebacker, 6-0, 195 Waverly, Neb. / Waverly HS
Skrobecki was a two-year starter in football and earned Class B First Team All-State Honors during senior season…averaged 6.6 tackles per game with eight sacks and one interception as a senior helping Waverly to a 10-2 record and Class B semifinal appearance…also excels in classroom earning Academic All-Conference Honors.
McMenamin on Skrobecki – “Spark plug of a linebacker. Plays fast and is quick to contact.”
Luke Stueve, Offensive Line, 6-3, 260 Battle Creek, Neb. / Battle Creek HS
Stueve started three years in football, two years in basketball, and four years in golf for the Braves…earned Class C-2 First Team All-State Honors at defensive line as a senior recording 46 tackles helping Battle Creek to a 9-2 record and state playoff quarterfinal appearance…was also Battle Creek’s punter and averaged nearly 40 yards per punt over three years…other post season honors in football included First Team All-Area and All-District…was an All—Mid States conference selection as a junior.
McMenamin about Stueve – “Another monster in the trenches. He is a multisport star that is very explosive for his size. He has a huge future.”
Ciaran Thompsen, Defensive Line, 6-0, 250, Elkhorn, Neb. / Elkhorn South HS
Thompsen was a two-year starter and three-year letter winner in football…named two-time Elkhorn South Lifter of the Year while helping team reach playoffs every year.
McMenamin comments on Thompsen – “Just a ball of energy. A 400lb plus bench press guy with a near 600lb squat. He will be an anchor on the defensive line for us.”
Dawson Wright, Wide Receiver, 5-7, 157 Lincoln, Neb. / Lincoln Northeast HS
Wright was a three-year letter winner in football…earned All-City Honorable Mention honors as a senior after recording 20 catches for 247 yards and two touchdowns along with 53 tackles as a defensive back.
McMenamin about Wright – “Has a good set of hands and will help us make plays down the road.”
South Dakota (4)
Jacob Byrd, Defensive Back, 6-0, 170 Sioux Falls, S.D. / O’Gorman HS
Byrd was a two-year starter at Sioux Falls O’Gorman HS and also competed in basketball and track and field for the Knights…as a senior, earned Class 11AAA First Team All-State honors helping team win first state title since 2005…also started at wide receiver (14 catches, 205 yards, 4 TD’s) and was a punt and kick returner…received All-Metro Conference honors and was Academic All-State selection.
McMenamin about Byrd – “Great size and length. Exactly what we are looking for in a safety. He can make plays all over the field.”
Mohamed Ibrahim, Linebacker, 5-10, 190 Sioux Falls, S.D. / Tri Valley HS
Ibrahim is a football and track and field standout from Tri Valley High School in South Dakota where he started two years in football and three in track and field…named Class 11A All-State First Team at linebacker this season after posting 74 tackles with one interception…also caught 10 passes for 220 yards and four TD’s…as a junior ran legs on two relay teams that placed at South Dakota State Track Meet.
McMenamin on Ibrahim – “He explodes like a stick of dynamite when he hits you. He flies around and will hit you with some energy.”
Alex Kowalczyk, Linebacker, 5-11, 200 Sioux Falls, S.D. / O’Gorman HS
Kowalczyk is a two-year starter in football and powerlifting and one year in track and field for the Knights…led O’Gorman in tackles this season with 71 along with one sack helping team win Class 11AAA State Championship in South Dakota…named Argus Leader Elite 45 Honorable Mention and was an Academic All-State selection.
McMenamin about Kowalczyk – “Is a sideline to sideline player and leader of one of the top programs in the state of South Dakota. He will help early and often.”
Lane VanderWal, Wide Receiver, 6-2, 180 Volga, S.D. / Sioux Valley HS
VanderWal played four sports at Sioux Valley High School in South Dakota, starting four years in track and baseball, two in football and one in basketball…named Big East All-Conference as a senior after averaging 25.2 yards per catch (18 for 453 yards) with seven touchdowns, helping team to a 6-4 record and Class 11B State Quarterfinals…during junior season averaged 29.4 yards a catch with four TDs…named Academic All-State in football…placed second in the triple jump as a junior at state track.
McMenamin on VanderWal – “Another big body with speed. He never came off the field and was dominant on both sides of the ball.”
Trey Guerrero, Wide Receiver, 5-11, 170 Des Moines, Iowa / Roosevelt HS
Guerrero was a three year letter winner in football at Des Moines Roosevelt High School…during senior season had 36 catches for 379 yards and two touchdowns helping team to a 6-4 record and first trip to the Class 4A state playoffs in 23 years…was a two-time All-Conference selection.
McMenamin about Guerrero – “Lightning in a bottle. Has the ability to make something out of nothing.”
Noah Neofotist, Defensive Line, 6-3, 210 Toddville, Iowa / Alburnett HS
Neofotist was a three-year starter in track and two years in football and wrestling…named All-District and Class A All-State during senior season after recording 59 tackles (40 solo) with 18 tackles for loss and four sacks with two blocked punts.
McMenamin on Neofotist – “Top notch wrestler who projects to be a huge defensive end for us. Keep an eye on him.”
Jadon Johnson, Wide Receiver, 6-0, 185 Lake Charles, Louisiana / St. Louis Catholic HS
Johnson is a three-year starter in football and basketball…received First Team All-District honors during senior season after making 45 catches for 737 yards and six TD’s…also rushed for 287 yards on 50 carries with four scores…was an I-10 All-Star Football Game participant and helped team reach the Louisiana Class 3A state semi-finals.
McMenamin about Johnson – “He will have a huge impact on our program. A great route runner on top of being one of the fastest people in the state.”
Dustin Sarvie, Linebacker, 6-1, 215 Buffalo, Minnesota / Buffalo HS
Sarvie is a three-year starter and four-year letter winner in football at Buffalo High School in Minnesota…two-time Defensive Most Valuable Player and two-time All-District selection…missed senior season due to injury…as a junior recorded 97 tackles with six tackles for loss, one forced fumble and one pass defended and had 91 tackles during sophomore year with three sacks and three tackles for loss…bench press contest winner at the Mississippi 8 lifting competition.
McMenamin comments on Sarvie – “Very tough young man that does whatever it takes to get the job done. Plays tough and will be a great addition.”
Ijaaz Rashid, Defensive Back, 6-1, 185 Renton, Washington / LA Pierce College (Calif.)
Transfers to Wayne State after playing two years at LA Pierce College in California…in 2019 season played in nine games and ranked fifth on the team in tackles with 32 (18 solo) to go with 2.5 tackles for loss, one interception and two pass breakups…attended Renton High School in Washington where he was Offensive MVP and Second Team All-Conference selection at wide receiver and defensive back.
McMenamin comments about Rashid – “Another impact player with speed. Can play a couple different positions and will definitely find a role in our program.”
Clarke Solo, Defensive Back, 5-9, 190 Des Moines, Iowa / Iowa Western CC
Transfers to Wayne State after playing at Iowa Western Community College…appeared in six games last season and had four tackles with one sack…played high school at Des Moines Roosevelt where he was a three year starter and earned All-District honors.
McMenamin on Solo – “Very fast and athletic young man that figures to come in and contribute right away. Solo is a definite impact player.”
Tysen White, Defensive Back, 5-10, 175 McFarland, Wis. / Minnesota Crookston
Transfers to Wayne State after playing 2019 season at Minnesota Crookston…was a starting defensive back for the Golden Eagles last season and led the team in tackles with 82, ranking sixth in the NSIC averaging 7.5 tackles per game…native of McFarland, Wisconsin where he was a football and wrestling standout in high school named All-Region at defensive back and running back and three-time All-Rock Valley Conference selection in football.
McMenamin about White – “Started as a freshman at Minnesota Crookston. Look for Tysen to make an impact in the back end for us.”
“We would like to thank our professors and university staff members that help provide our future Wildcats the full experience,” remarked Coach McMenamin. “We appreciated their hard work and received countless compliments from our parents on how well our academic appointments went compared to the other visits they went on. The positive feedback I received about our staff, beautiful campus, new facilities, and most importantly the individuals, is what makes WSC a special place.”
McMenamin added, “I’d personally like to thank President Rames, Athletic Director Mike Powicki, Associate AD Mike Barry, Assistant AD/SWA Linda Anderson, Athletic Business Manager Jeni Kemnitz, Sports and Rec Center Manager Chad Pitkin, Director of Athletic Development Megan Finn, Athletic Secretary Deb Korth, Foundation Director Kevin Armstrong, Muffin Morris and our athletic training staff, Campus Security Manager Jason Mrsny, SID Mike Grosz, our outstanding custodial staff, and Marcia Dorey and the great people with Chartwell’s Dining service.”
“Lastly, I’d like to thank the coach’s wives for all they sacrifice during the recruiting season as our coaches also transition into the Wildcat family. I would especially like to thank my beautiful wife Andrea, the “head coach” of the McMenamin family.”