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South Dakota State signs nine football players on national signing day

South Dakota State head football coach Jimmy Rogers announced the addition of nine new student-athletes to the Jackrabbit football program Wednesday, which marked the first day of the February signing period. The latest additions join a group of 16 high school standouts who committed in December.

The lone high school standout to sign a National Letter of Intent Wednesday was running back Kirby Vorhees. A native of Lutz, Florida, Vorhees posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons at Steinbrenner High School, gaining 1,075 yards as a junior and 1,015 yards as a senior.

A 5-foot-10, 195-pounder, Vorhees was a two-time all-conference selection who also was invited to play in the Florida Athletic Coaches Association North-South All-Star Classic. An Honor Roll student, he plans to major in business economics.

Joining the Jackrabbit football program as transfers are defensive end Blake Peterson and cornerback Cody Cotton.

Peterson, a 6-foot-4, 255-pound defensive end, returns to his home state as a graduate transfer from Iowa State. The Beresford High School product played in 28 games over the past three years for the Cyclones and will have two seasons of eligibility remaining. He tallied 21 tackles and two sacks during his Iowa State career as he also saw action on special teams.

A three-time Academic All-Big 12 honoree, Peterson graduated from Iowa State with a bachelor’s degree in business management and plans to pursue an advanced degree in animal science at SDSU. He will be a second-generation Jackrabbit as his father, Brandon, lettered at SDSU from 1997-99.

Cotton, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound cornerback, made his collegiate debut this past fall at Upper Iowa University, where he led the team with three interceptions and ranked second on the squad with eight pass breakups. A native of Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, Cotton also contributed 35 total tackles (27 solo) in 10 games.

Previously, Cotton was an all-state performer as a running back at Union Grove High School. He plans to pursue a degree in construction management.

Another addition to the Jackrabbit roster this spring is linebacker Andrew Gustad, who enrolled at SDSU last fall after a highly decorated career at Gayville-Volin High School. A three-time all-conference honoree, as well as an all-state selection in 2021, Gustad tallied 114 total tackles, including 18 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks as a prep senior.

Rounding out the 2023 recruiting class are five other high school standouts who have been accepted for admission to South Dakota State University and plan to compete for the Jackrabbits. Those commitments include:

  • Jack Amer, 6-3, 215, quarterback, Gilbert, Arizona;
  • Noah Atherton, 6-6, 280, offensive lineman, Longmont, Colorado;
  • Beau Giblin, 6-1, 185, safety, Sioux Falls;
  • Cole Jarrett, 6-2, 285, offensive lineman, Papillion, Nebraska, and
  • Ian Mutchler, 6-4, 285, offensive lineman, Morton, Illinois.

Amer received honorable mention all-Premier Region accolades as a dual-threat quarterback his senior season at Perry High School. He plans to major in communications with an emphasis in broadcast journalism.

Atherton earned all-conference honors twice at Longmont High School and was an all-state selection during the 2022 season. Also an academic all-state honoree, he plans to major in precision agriculture.

Giblin helped lead the defensive unit for a Sioux Falls Jefferson team that won the Class AAA state title this past fall. Individually, the two-time team captain totaled 60 tackles with five interceptions — two of which he returned for touchdowns — in earning all-state recognition and a place on the Sioux Falls Argus Leader Elite 45 in 2022.

A member of the National Honor Society, Giblin plans to seek a degree in business.

Jarrett started every game the past three seasons for a Creighton Prep program that reached the state semifinals in 2022. He was a second-team all-Metro honoree, as well as an honorable mention all-state selection, this past fall.

Also an academic all-Metro honoree, Jarrett intends to major in business.

Mutchler received all-conference and all-area accolades two times and also was an honorable mention all-state pick this past fall for Morton High School. An academic all-state honoree, Mutchler intends to major in computer science.

South Dakota State claimed its first-ever national title in football during the 2022 season, defeating archrival North Dakota State in the Football Championship Subdivision title game, 45-24, in Frisco, Texas. The Jackrabbits ended the season with a 14-1 overall record while also claiming the Missouri Valley Football Conference championship.