Take away one team beating the other in the annual Black Hills Brawl and today might be the most exciting day of the year for the South Dakota School of Mines and Black Hills State University football coaching staffs.
It’s National Signing Day.
Both programs will take advantage of technology and social media to proudly display their recruits for the 2018 season. Some of those high school (or junior college) stars will step right in and others will be the future of the programs.
Go back to the signing days of the last two or three years and you will see both current lineups dotted with players on the field doing what the respective head coaches — Zach Tinker for Mines and John Reiners for BHSU — were hoping and predicting they would do.
“It’s always an exciting time to unveil your signing class,” said Reiners on Tuesday. “You get to see what the future is and what your program holds. I know that every team in America looks forward to this day like we do. Our coaches work really hard to find the best prospects and we’re excited about this year’s class.”
Both Black Hills State and Mines will share their signings to the public, first online and then with news conferences later in the day. Tinker will talk about his new boys at 3 p.m. in the Christensen Hall of Fame Room in the King Center, and Reiners will do the same at 5:30 p.m. at the Joy Center, just south of Lyle Hare Stadium.
For the fifth straight year, Mines will provide an “all-access" live streaming broadcast on Facebook Live from 9 a.m.-noon. Tinker and the rest of football coaching staff will be offering a behind-the-scenes look as the they receive each 2018 prospective student's letter of intent.
An interactive web page will also be available at www.gorockers.com, which will give Hardrocker fans information about all the new recruits as well as news articles, the new 2018 schedule and video highlights.
"As a football staff, we love to interact with our fans as much as we can, and what better way to accomplish that than with an all-access internet pass," Tinker said. "Our coaching staff has worked very hard to bring in some talented athletes to our program. National Signing Day is a time when we get to see all that hard work pay off."
Up in Spearfish, the Jacket coaching staff will be active on social media, with the signings posted as they come in on bhsuathletics.com, as well as Twitter. A special landing page will be available and updated as each student-athlete signs their National Letter of Intent.
At 5 p.m. BHSU fans are invited to the Joy (Proctor) Krautschun Alumni/Foundation Welcome Center for a social gathering. At 5:30 p.m., Reiners will address the media and fans to officially announce the Yellow Jacket signees.
Of course, the Hardrocker and Jacket rivals to the south — Chadron State College — will also announce their new recruits as Jay Long’s squad looks to improve on last season’s 6-5 mark. A list of new signees and videos will be on display today at www.chadroneagles.com.
There are nine Rapid City area athletes on the Chadron State spring football roster, and expect more to be announced today.
Both South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota have big days planned today to announce the respective 2019 classes.
Wednesday is basically a celebration of the hard work by the coaching staffs and the players who also work to sell their program to the prospects.
“Afterwards you take a deep breath and say, ’Now we’re on to spring ball,’” Reiners said. “But (signing day) is really a time to celebrate with your team.”
Area high schools get into the act
Wednesday is also a big day for the local high schools as some scattered signings will be done around the area.
St. Thomas More will showcase six of its student-athletes signing letters of intent to play football at 2 p.m., while at 3:30 p.m., Stevens will celebrate the signing of seven student-athletes in football, baseball and soccer.
Rapid City Central will also have three student-athletes sign with a ceremony at 4 p.m. at the Activities Center of the high school.
Also up in Spearfish, three Spartan student-athletes will sign their letters of intent at 2 p.m.
Other area schools will have some scattered signings today and in the future.
Today is a celebration of the future for the student-athletes and their programs. The hard work and talent is on display, and for many of them, it’s just the beginning.
Smiles all around.