The state of South Dakota is best known for Mount Rushmore, the Black Hills and the Badlands. It is not known as a hotbed of college football talent, but 6-foot-7, 290-pound Sioux Falls Roosevelt offensive tackle Grant Schmidt is giving college coaches reasons to head to the Upper Midwest state.
A class of 2015 prospect, Schmidt has already collected scholarship offers from BCS programs Minnesota and Washington State, and is hearing from college programs across the country.
"I have heard from a ton of different schools," Schmidt noted. "There has been a lot from SEC schools, which I am excited about. A lot from Texas A&M, Arkansas, some stuff from Alabama and Auburn, Florida and Florida State. There has been a lot of from the Big Ten.
"I went into this and wasn't going to make location a deciding factor. I just wanted to go to a place where I would get the best education, the best football and where I could see myself at. While it would be nice to go to a school within driving distance, if I find another really good fit it is not a problem."
The two schools Schmidt attended camps at this summer were Big Ten programs, and he had planned to visit several more.
"I actually didn't get out to as many as I wanted to," Schmidt said. "I hit Minnesota's late in July, but when I was at Nebraska in early June I pulled a hamstring running a 40 so I had to cancel the rest of my camps for the next month. That was super-frustrating to me because I had camps planned to Iowa, Iowa State and some of those schools."
Schmidt and a teammate had planned on attending the entire three-day camp at Nebraska, but had to cut the visit short after the injury occurred early on the first day. He did return to Lincoln later in the summer, though.
"I did go back there for their Big Red Weekend," Schmidt said. "It was nice to talk to some of the coaches. They were the first college I actually heard from, and that was almost a year ago. That was kind of a big deal for me because I hadn't heard from any big colleges."
Schmidt was back to health when he attended the Minnesota camp in July, and picked up his second BCS offer from the Gophers after that performance.
"One of the biggest things with the feedback from the coaches was they liked the attention I paid in drills," he said. "I was always trying to work on little things, and they said I was coached up really well. I knew the different kinds of kick-slides and different steps, and they really liked that."
Back at Roosevelt High, Schmidt works with an offensive line coach who has sent several players to the Division I level in the past, and the big South Dakotan has continued to develop his game throughout the summer.
"One of my biggest things is leverage," he said. "I have put on a lot of weight - probably 25-30 pounds - this off-season, and added a lot of strength, but I have been working on a lot of leverage, pad level and technique with run-blocking. That will help me out a lot."
Schmidt has not yet planned out any visits for college games this fall, but would like to make Saturday visits to Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska during the season.