SMSU FOOTBALL: Mustangs open spring drills under new head coach Scott Underwood

MARSHALL — The Southwest Minnesota State University football program, under the direction of first-year head coach Scott Underwood, opened spring practice on Monday in preparation for the 2022 season.

Underwood, who was named the 11th head coach in program history on Jan. 7, welcomes 75 players on the spring roster with 35 returning letter winners, including five starters on offense and five on defense from last season’s squad that finished 2-9. The roster includes nine seniors, 11 juniors, 25 sophomores and 30 redshirt freshmen.

Underwood comes to SMSU after serving as head coach at St. Cloud State University for 12 seasons (2008-19), which included 10 winning seasons and three NCAA playoff appearances.

The Mustangs are scheduled to practice four times a week over the course of three and a half weeks with a total of 15 practices/scrimmages. Spring practice concludes on Friday, April 15, with the annual Spring Game starting at 6 p.m.

The SMSU offense returns its leading rusher and top three receivers from last season. Senior running back Jesse Sherwood ran for 787 yards and a team-high six touchdowns, while senior wide receiver Zeke Robinson led the team in receptions (24), receiving yards (276) and touchdowns (3). Sophomore receivers BJ Phillips and Keilan Smith both caught 18 passes for a combined 436 yards and one touchdown.

The SMSU defense will be led by senior linebacker Onte Burns, a two-time first team All-NSIC South honoree and 2019 third team All-American. He is a three-year starter and has led the NSIC in tackles the past two seasons with a combined 214 stops.

SMSU will also welcome nearly 20 players–who signed during the national signing period in February–who will join the roster when fall camp opens in early August.

The Mustangs open the 2022 regular season on Thursday, Sept. 1, at Minnesota Duluth. SMSU will face Concordia-St. Paul for the home opener and Ag Bowl on Saturday, Sept. 10.

Tentative 2022 Spring Practice Schedule

Monday, March 21

Thursday, March 24

Friday, March 25

Saturday, March 26

Monday, March 28

Wednesday, March 30

Friday, April 1

Saturday, April 2

Monday, April 4

Wednesday, April 6

Friday, April 8

Saturday, April 9

Monday, April 11

Wednesday, April 13

Friday, April 15 6 p.m. (spring game)

— Content courtesy of SMSU Athletic Communications


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