Charlie Flohr was the first recruit for the 2020 South Dakota School of Mines football team ... as the program's new head coach.
Getting a late jump on recruiting for Mines, with his mid-December hire, Flohr quickly turned to recruiter with the help of his staff — new and remaining.
In the long run, he was pleased when his first class was announced Wednesday during National Signing Day.
"I did feel like we were a little late, but our staff had a great plan, and knowing where the direction of our program wanted to go and what we wanted to establish within the first four weeks in trying to find what kids fit at South Dakota Mines," Flohr said.
Flohr brought in Vance Winter as defensive coordinator and Ryan Gent as offensive coordinator and relied heavily on assistant coaches such as Ron Sales, Cody O'Neill, Bo Montgomery, Neil Linhart, Mike McCulley, Levi Suiaunoa and Lonnie Messick, who remained from Zach Tinker's staff.
Flohr said that those remaining coaches did a "phenomenal job" of doing the pre-leg work in regards of identifying prospective players.
"Then myself and the two coaches that came in helped with some of the relationships and expanding of our recruiting areas," he said.
Of the 18 freshman recruits announced Wednesday, half of them are the big guys up front on the offensive and defensive lines. They include Grant Brehmer (OL, 6-6, 275, Council Bluffs, Iowa), Shawn Dean (OL, 604, 264, Arvada, Colo.), Mason Finsterwalder (DL, 6-1, 255, New Underwood-Douglas HS), Trevor Griffin (OL, 6-2, 270, Council Bluffs), Matthew Heilman (603, 255, Pierre), Mason lane (DL, 6-7, 197, Ross Hill, Kan.), Logan Marx (6-5, 220, Limon, Colo.), Kregen Norder (DL, 6-2, 182, Mobridge) and Daunte Robbins (6-1, 235, Aurora, Colo.).
"We really wanted to focus up front, offensive line, defensive line, with our program, and our defense moving into a four-man front in the future," Flohr said. "We knew we had to establish some depth and get more bodies on the defensive side.
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"I felt it went well. We wanted to go and find those long bodies that we could develop and add some mass to."
The other two offensive recruits were quarterback Jake Martinelle (6-0, 180, Scottsdale, Ariz.) and wide receiver Connor Stephenson (6-1, 178, Fort Collins, Colo.).
"I'm really happy for the quarterback," Flohr said. "He's a kid that knew about our school, and when everything got hired and smoothed out from the staff standpoint, he made the decision to come up and obviously had a great visit. He shared the same vision we did in regards to building this program up."
Other defensive positions recruited include: linebacker — Jacob Diaz (6-0, 190, York, Neb.), Trevor Kirking (6-2, 230, Brighton, Colo.) and James lemons (6-0, 210, parker, Colo.), defensive back — Jay Horning (5-9, 183, Boise, Idaho), Makai Obregon (5-11, 185, Surprise, Ariz.) and Kaleb Tischler (6-0, 190, Arvada, Colo.).
Also recruited as an athlete was Isaiah Eastman (5-10, 191, Gilbert, Ariz), little brother of current Hardrocker, sophomore defensive back Adrian Eastman.
Recruiting is never over and Flohr said they look to bring in another eight to 10 players.
"We just fill more needs within our full football team, and just go out and find the best kids that we can," he said.
Flohr, a Gillette, Wyo., native and Dakota State quarterback, said that recruiting athletes for an engineering school is not as difficult as people might think.
"It is a little different, but the people make the place," he said. "Once we kind of had our target kids, we could sell South Dakota Mines. We've got plenty to sell. I couldn't be more happy with the class that we brought in."
With the first phase of recruiting in the books, Flohr said it is now the time to begin concentrating on the current Hardrockers and their quest for improvement. Spring practices begin March 18, but there's plenty to do before then, he said.
"Our big thing is to put more focus on our own team and get them up to speed of regards to the football aspect; the different schemes, different terminology, just get them to continue to work as hard as they can in the weight room and get ready for spring practice," he said.