Southeast Missouri State University student publication

2019 Redhawk football signing day

Saturday, February 9, 2019
Graphic by Zach Tate ~ Sports Editor

Southeast football coach Tom Matukewicz held a press conference on Feb. 6 announcing the incoming class of players the team recruited for the upcoming season.

Fresh off of a record-setting Redhawks playoff season, Matukewicz thanked all the fans and the players for their support and said without them the team would not have this great of a recruiting class.

Matukewicz said that finding local players was a focal point for him personally. “It’s not like Oprah, where everybody gets a scholarship. This is Division I football, so when I start the process I want to start [locally],” Matukewicz said.

He went on to speak about the four local recruits Southeast signed and how those guys were important to try and reel in as soon as possible in his recruiting process.

Players such as Charleston, Missouri, native Q’naires Anderson, who was one of the top running backs in the Missouri area. Anderson Set the school’s all-time rushing record and led the Bluejays to a SEMO East Conference title for the first time in 22 years.

In the midst of finishing up his thoughts about the local importance of this team, Matukewicz went directly in on the offensive line topic, stating it was crucial they took care of the gaps they’d have to fill. Three starting offensive linemen from the 2018 campaign will not be returning to the team.

The Redhawks certainly focused their attention on filling those gaps as there is currently 14 offensive lineman set to roll into next season, the most of any position recruited.

The fresh offensive linemen are headlined by first-team all-bay lineman Manny Pride, coming in from Laney College. Redhawks also have signed offensive lineman Ja’Chai Baker, who’s coming over from Iowa Western to provide the line with even more experience. He will be participating in spring drills with the team as well.

“One thing that we have to do to take that next step is that our line has to continue to improve. And that’s also in recruiting and so I’m super excited,” Matukewicz said.

Matukewicz spoke about the strength they have on defense with many of their best players returning, but wanting to build and add depth.

He went on to say he felt like it was important and essential to integrate those newer guys so everyone gains a learning experience.

He was also said everyone gets a fair shot to play for a position so it increases competition while bringing out the best in one another at the same time.

Lastly, when asked if the success the Redhawks had in 2018 had an effect on this year's recruitment, Matukewicz said, “I think it definitely had an impact. I still feel like SEMO is a one year wonder,” Matukewicz said. “Only every eight years we have a winning season, but I feel like this next year will be the one to put us over.”

He explained the program has to put together back-to-back winning seasons in order to really keep people on board and believing in this team.

To close out the press conference, Matukewicz reiterated the importance of getting local players invested and the importance this recruiting class has in the team’s success in the future.

He firmly believes the 2019 season will be the most important season in Redhawks football history.