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Football brings in solid 2011 class
Nathan Krug
Antelope Staff

Coaches says move to MIAA was No. 1 pitch

Signing day has come and gone for another year, and with the move to the Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletic Association, UNK was able to put together a great group of football recruits.

“I’m very excited about this year’s class. It’s a class that has a fair amount of talent and good speed,” said head coach Darrel Morris, who last fall completed his 11th season as the head coach of the Lopers.

This year, Morris was able to use some of the same tactics that the MIAA had used against UNK for years. “The MIAA turned out to be a relatively easy sell. It was easy to show kids coming on campus for a visit that this was a MIAA venue and let the pictures speak for themselves. So it was an easy sell for us,” Morris said.

Morris was able to pull recruits from seven different states including two new states from which the Lopers haven’t recruited in the past: Nevada and Texas. Recruiting also pulled players out of the usual pipeline states such as California and Nebraska.

Some of the top names of the signing class include Rickey Minyard out of Thousand Oaks, Calif. Minyard, a running back and linebacker, was three-time all-league and twice voted to most outstanding back on his high school team. Another name that stands out is Ricky Trinidad from Trinity, Fla. Trinidad was named all conference in 2010 despite playing in only three games because of a knee injury. In his junior year, he ran for 1,389 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Another recruit that caught Morris’ eye was Shad Bride, who transferred to UNK at the start of the semester. Bride spent the past two years playing at Northern Arizona University, which competes in Division 1-AA. In his high school career, Bride ran for 5,750 yards and earned a state record 105 touchdowns— all while guiding his school to two state championships. “I feel he’s going to be a phenomenal player for us. He’ll be a guy that can take Rustin Dring’s place when he graduates,” Morris said.

As usual, UNK had a hard time battling with recruits considering walking on to the University of Nebraska, but Morris knows you can’t win them all.

“You don’t get them all. You’re always going to lose some. Tyson Broekmeier walked on at UNL, and we tried to get him pretty hard. There were some kids that we targeted in the state of Nebraska that we felt could win in our league and the league that were going into, and they choose to go someplace else.”

Although national signing day is over, UNK is still looking for a few position players. “We are still looking for a few defensive tackles and a defensive end, but it’s a situation where we are trying to meet the needs that we have and I think we did,” Morris said.


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