Brenden Begeman flashes ability in loaded SDSU backfield during spring game performance

Apr. 17—BROOKINGS — Brenden Begeman, South Dakota's all-time leading prep rusher for both single-season and career yardage, culminated a productive spring by making a big splash at the South Dakota State spring game.

For a running back listed at 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds, blazing speed isn't necessarily Begeman's calling card, but the redshirt freshman from Selby had more than enough to break away for a 70-yard touchdown late in the contest.

Begeman's improvement during his relatively short time with the program has drawn enthusiastic praise from the SDSU coaching staff.

"I'm proud of him. He's taken jumps, huge jumps," said SDSU head coach Jimmy Rogers following the spring game. "He competes on special teams and is a really serious kid who tries to get better. He's done a great job because he's made a large jump from where he started to where he's at."

"That kid just keeps getting better. He shows up every day, works really hard and doesn't say much at all," said offensive coordinator Ryan Olson. "The cool thing has been to see Brenden apply what we've done in drills and group work out here (in live action)."


Though redshirts are allowed to play up to four games during the regular season and maintain the year of eligibility, Begeman did not see the field for the Jackrabbits during the 2023 season. During his prep career for Herreid/Selby Area, Begeman amassed 6,807 rushing yards, including 2,976 yards in just his senior season, both of which are South Dakota high school football records.

SDSU's running back room is deep. The Jackrabbits have a pair of established veterans in the backfield with Amar Johnson and Angel Johnson, who figure to get the bulk of the carries come the fall. Behind them, Begeman is battling for positioning on the depth chart with fellow redshirt freshman Kirby Vorhees and sophomore Isaac Kracl. A pair of talents from the 2024 recruiting class are also set to join the team this summer in Maxwell Woods (Carver, Minnesota) and Quinton Renfro (Joplin, Missouri).

But if Begeman continues on his current trajectory, he could well carve out a role during his redshirt freshman campaign.

"Based on his performance this spring and his growth, I would not feel bad about him being on the field," Olson said.