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Who Would be on the Mount Rushmore of South Dakota Football?

Over the weekend our son Tad was home and like most guys his age (21) he spent quite a bit of time watching the NFL Draft. Since he did, I did.

I admit it fired up quite a few conversations. We’re no experts, but these are a few of the things that we talked about

After Nathan Gerry was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles the conversation was: is Nate the best player to come out of Washington High School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which is where our kids went. Without giving it much thought he said, probably.

The list of kids is pretty impressive. Farnioks and Hermanson are a just two of the names that came to mind. We came up with a pretty solid, probably. 

Which got me thinking, who would I put on the Mt. Rushmore of South Dakota Football?

You have to include Riley Reiff of Parkston (who was drafted by the Detroit Lions and now plays for the Minnesota Vikings); Ben Leber from Vermillion (drafted by the San Diego Chargers, later played for the Vikings); and Chad Greenway from Mt. Vernon (drafted by and played his entire career with the Vikings).

I never did get to see Leber or Greenway play in high school. Friends from the Wagner area did see Greenway play and were obviously impressed. We did make it a point to drive to Wagner to see Riley Reiff play when he was a senior. He was a man among boys.

Another that should be there: Augustana University’s Bryan Schwartz, who was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1995. I believe a knee injury cut his career short, but he should probably be in the conversation too. Crazy good, I’d give him a spot.

I mentioned this list to Jeff Thurn of ESPN 99.1 and he said “what about Adam Vinatieri?” I decided we better make it five carved in granite. So that’s my very unscientific five football players on the Mount Rushmore of South Dakota football.

Back to Gary and the Washington High angle. He was drafted late in the fifth round by the Eagles. His future awaits. We’ll be cheering for Nate to stay healthy and make the team. Tad said, don’t count out Matt Farniok, who will compete for playing time with Nebraska this coming fall. He’ll be one to watch for best Warrior ever. I agreed.

Thousands in South Dakota play football, but only a very select few get to play the game it’s highest level. I congratulate those that are done with their playing careers and those striving to go far.

One other thing came up while we were talking. It doesn’t matter where you come from. If you can play, the NFL will find you.

I’ve most likely left people off this story that should be included. Include them in the Facebook post and thanks ahead of time for sharing this story with your Facebook and Twitter friends.

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