SEMO football to rebuild with latest recruits

Southeast Missouri State football coach Tom Matukewicz lines up with his senior players to lead the Redhawks onto the field prior to their 2019 FCS Playoff game against Illinois State at Houck Stadium.
Tyler Graef ~ Tgraef@semissourian.com

From a player’s perspective, a positive of being in the Southeast Missouri State football program is that the Redhawk coaches take an equal opportunity approach to dispersing playing time.

If a new student-athlete beats out a veteran, well, that is just how it goes. That is good news for the 30 new Redhawks that comprise the 2020 signing class.

“It’s a good group,” Southeast recruiting coordinator and wide receiver coach Justin Drudik said.

Southeast signed 16 players in December during the early signing period and will add 14 more today.

Southeast lost 15 players off its 2019 two-deep depth chart, including nine on the defensive side of the ball.

To remedy that dilemma, the Redhawks brought in 11 junior college athletes, who according to Drudik, need to be ready to compete immediately.

“Every junior college kid has two years, basically, to play,” Drudik explained, “so they have to be ready to go quickly.”

“We filled a lot of holes quickly with junior college kids. We did really, really well in junior college transfer guys.”

In December, the Redhawks added eight junior college players, each of whom have already enrolled and are immersed in the Southeast off-season program. Two of those athletes are wide receivers (Pervis Frazier, Eat Mississippi Community College; and Johnny King, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M), which Drudik has high hopes for.

“I needed a couple of immediate impact guys,” Drudik said, “and a couple of guys to grow.”

King is a 6-foot-4 athlete out of Florida and had 18 receptions for 198 yards in five games last fall.

“King is tall and athletic,” Drudik said. “He can run and go high point a football. We do need to still work on routes and stuff like that.”

Pervis was a very productive pass-catcher for East Mississippi.

He caught 51 balls last fall for over 500 yards and a score.

“Pervis has a lot of football experience,” Drudik said. “He comes from a good program (East Mississippi) and is a great kid. He works hard and is a good team guy.”

Drudik will also get to work with freshman Terrell Jester (Griffin (Ga.) High School), who signed in December, as well as Luke Schwepker (Calloway County (Ky.) High School).

Schwepker is the son of current Murray State volleyball coach, David Schwepker, who is a Southeast alumnus, as well as a former assistant coach.

“High school wise,” Drudik said, “some of these guys have to develop. They’re not immediate impact-type of guys. But they are good. They are very good high school players.

“They’ll do good things for us.”

Following today, Drudik and the rest of the Southeast coaches will be able to take a breath – sort of. However, the evaluation of current high school juniors gets underway “today,” according to Drudik.

“We’ll host a Junior Day sometime this spring,” Drudik said. “We’ll do (evaluation) camps this summer and we’ll have coaches at (other program’s) camps. We will start pushing for commitments starting in the summer a little bit for guys who want to commit that early.”

Here is a list of Redhawk signees today:

• Phillip Wilder, OL, Mt. Zion HS (Ga.)

• Braden Higgins, OL, Du Quoin HS (Ill.)

• AJ Laux, Higley HS (Ariz.)

• Luke Schwepker, WR, Calloway County HS (Ky.)

• Markell Ware, DL, Cross Creek HS (Ga.)

• Micah Fann, OLB, Nashville Christian HS

• Keilyn Tyus, OLB, Lamar County HS (Ga.)

• Dony’e Taylor, Defensive athlete, Cape Central HS

• Jaylen Dobson, DB, Ben Davis HS (Ind.)

• Cameron Powell, DB, Christian Brothers HS

• Jenson Walker, LS, Holly HS (Mich.)

• Josepha Siatini, OL, East Los Angeles JC

• Jerome Afe, TE, Fort Hays State

• James Sackie, DL, Lackawanna JC (Penn.)

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