SEWARD, Neb. – It’s been a whirlwind since Patrick Daberkow was named the 10th head coach in the history of the Concordia University football program on Dec. 9. Daberkow and new coordinators Thomas Byrd (offensive) and Corby Osten (defensive) and graduate assistant Wes Coomes have collaborated on a 2017 recruiting class that will continue to take shape beyond Wednesday’s National Signing Day.
The current group set to join the program this fall includes 13 Nebraska natives, four athletes from The Lone Star State, three high school seniors from Kansas and one apiece from Arizona and Colorado.
“We already have a lot of what we were looking to get as far as some depth at key positions,” Daberkow said. “We have guys who can come in and develop into all-conference type of players. We have needs at the offensive skill positions and, up front, we’re going to try and bolster the offensive line in this class. Defensively, we feel really good about a lot of the guys we’re bringing in.
“We like what’s going on in recruiting, but also what’s going on in the weight room. We want to be a substance over style program.”
The uncertainty surrounding the coaching staff created some challenges, but Daberkow and his new brain trust hit the ground running.
“As soon as I got the job, Coach Osten and I got after it,” Daberkow said. “We had some home visits that first week. Then adding Coach Byrd has really helped as far as recruiting offensive players. Everyone wants to know who their coordinator is going to be. He started in the second week of January. We were a little late, but what we’ve been able to do in this recruiting class is really exciting. We’ve won on a lot of good, local talent.”
The Bulldogs have gained traction in states outside of Nebraska such as California and Texas in recent recruiting cycles. Byrd also brings plenty of recruiting experience in those states in addition to others such as Arizona. Osten has maintained strong ties with Texas. He previously spent time as a coach and teacher at Lutheran South Academy in Houston.
The list of recruits will keep growing throughout the spring and summer. Says Daberkow, “We’ll still be recruiting after signing day and we’re excited about guys we’re talking to that haven’t made decisions yet. Signing day is just a benchmark.”
SirZavious Broussard | RB | 6-1 | 180 | LV Hightower HS | Fresno, Texas
Kayle Carlson | LB | 5-10 | 190 | Malcolm HS | Lincoln, Neb.
Zach Christensen | OL | 6-3 | 225 | Adams Central HS | Hastings, Neb.
Chase Cornman | DL | 6-3 | 250 | Cypress Ranch HS | Cypress, Texas
Caydren Cox | LB | 6-0 | 188 | Beloit Senior HS | Beloit, Kan.
Trevor Dey | WR | 6-2 | 190 | Centennial HS | Gresham, Neb.
Cade DiGiovanni | OL | 6-5 | 235 | North Platte HS | North Platte, Neb.
Riley Freeland | RB | 5-9 | 160 | Montrose HS | Montrose, Colo.
Tucker Gartner | DL | 6-0 | 220 | Giltner HS | Giltner, Neb.
Chase Hammons | DL | 6-1 | 210 | Columbus HS | Columbus, Neb.
Keegan Hornung | OL | 6-1 | 260 | Williams Field HS | Chandler, Ariz.
Tate Janssen | K | 5-10 | 175 | Lakeview HS | Columbus, Neb.
Blake Lankford | DL | 6-0 | 250 | Lutheran North HS | Houston, Texas
Lane Napier | ATH | 6-0 | 190 | Aquinas HS | Bruno, Neb.
Treyton Nienhueser | DL | 6-2 | 215 | Cross County HS | Stromsburg, Neb.
Jorge Ochoa | LB | 5-11 | 205 | West Brook Senior HS | Beaumont, Texas
Daniel Royuk | OLB | 6-1 | 180 | St. Paul Lutheran HS | Seward, Neb.
Andrew Schuller | OL | 6-3 | 250 | High Plains HS | Central City, Neb.
Braden Stewart | WR | 6-4 | 175 | Nickerson HS | Sterling, Kan.
Chevy Stout | LB | 5-10 | 190 | Northwest HS | Grand Island, Neb.
Stirling Tonniges | LB | 5-11 | 190 | Ord HS | Ericson, Neb.
Caleb Ubel | LB | 5-9 | 180 | Wamego HS | Wamego, Kan.