Abdi, Schafer, Curry among 2023 SMSU football commitments

The 45-player class is SMSU’s first under HC Scott Underwood

Photo by Jake McNeill Marshall High School wide receiver Omar Abdi (front center) signs his letter of intent to play Division II football with Southwest Minnesota State University in the fall while surrounded by his family in the Marshall High School gym Wednesday morning. Abdi is also a starting guard for the Tigers’ basketball team.

MARSHALL — Southwest Minnesota State’s football team’s wide receiver corps got a big boost from local high schools on National Signing Day. Marshall’s Omar Abdi, Lakeview’s Greg Schafer, and Westbrook-Walnut Grove’s Kole Curry each signed a letter of intent to compete with the Mustangs in the fall on Wednesday morning.

“We think it’s important to start recruiting in our backyard to start with and move forward from there,” SMSU head coach Scott Underwood said. “You hope to create an interest where they had a chance to come see a game as a sixth, seventh, eighth grader… then foster that relationship all the way to the recruitment of finally being a senior athlete… and then get them to be a part of Mustang football.”

Abdi won’t have to move far for his transition to the next level, as he’ll be playing on Saturdays this fall in the same stadium he played in on Friday nights last fall. He added that the proximity of SMSU to his family and friends was a major factor in his decision.

“It feels good right now, all I’ve got to do is just work on my craft and keep going one step at a time,” Abdi said.

During his senior year with the Tigers, Abdi caught 25 passes for 399 yards and four touchdowns. His ability to help the Tigers’ offense throw the ball downfield was instrumental in the Tigers’ 9-0 start to the season and getting them to the sectional championship against Hutchinson.

Abdi is also a standout guard for the Marshall basketball team. He leads the team in scoring this year but is confident in his decision to pursue basketball as his main sport.

“I just like football better… every time I catch a ball and score a touchdown, it’s a different feeling than making a 3-pointer live in the game,” Abdi said.

Greg Schafer was also a wide receiver on an area football team that went on a spectacular run to start the season.

The Lakeview Lakers started out their season 9-1, including the first win in program history over Minneota, before falling in a rematch against the Vikings in the section championship.

Schafer was an offensive threat in both the run and pass game for the Lakers. He rushed for 526 yards on 57 carries and caught 18 passes for 357 yards on the season. He found the end zone a total of nine times.

Kole Curry was named the District Offensive Player of the year for his efforts with Westbrook-Walnut Grove. While the Chargers went 8-1 on the season, it certainly wasn’t due to Curry’s play.

During his senior year, Curry caught 90 passes and racked up 1,600 all-purpose yards and 15 touchdowns.

Along with Abdi, Schafer, and Curry, the 45-person signing class for the Mustangs included players coming from as far as Arizona.

The class is SMSU’s first under Underwood, who was hired by the program last winter.

“We came in late January over a year ago, so we really had limited time to put together a recruiting class… We were probably shorter than where we need to be with quality and quantity of athletes, so for us building it, all different positions were critical to us.”

The Mustangs went 4-7 under Underwood in his first season as head coach with the program. The mark was a two-win improvement from the team’s record the previous season.

Four wins is the Mustangs’ highest season total since 2018, when they also won four games. SMSU hasn’t eclipsed the six-win mark since 2016.

The Mustangs will begin its regular season on the road against Minot State on Sept. 2 and will play its home opener against Bemidji State on Sept. 9.


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