VERMILLION, S.D. | Despite the fact that he was recruited as a linebacker, Trevor Bouma’s days at that position at the University of South Dakota numbered exactly zero.
“I actually thought I was coming in as a linebacker, but when I got here Coach (Wesley) Beschorner told me to go with the offense,” Bouma said. “I wasn’t mad at all, I just accepted things and tried to get better. Playing running back, though, is definitely more comfortable.”
Bouma, a 5-foot-11, 210-pound dynamo, was dominant at the high school level, becoming the all-time leading rusher in Le Mars Gehlen Catholic history with 5,725 yards.
In his senior season alone, he rambled for 2,696 yards and 42 touchdowns, finishing second in the state in rushing.
He chose South Dakota, apparently content to put his ball carrying days behind him.
Beschorner, USD’s associate head coach and offensive coordinator, had other ideas.
“I recruited Trevor because I wanted Trevor,” said Beschorner, a record-setting quarterback at USD. “I saw him at a high school camp and there’s something about him that he has.
“He has a true enthusiastic approach to the game of football. He is physical, he is talented, he has quick feet and better than good speed. Trevor has a lot of innate abilities to play football. He’s a hard worker and has been that way his whole life. I think this comes pretty easy to him.”
Whatever position he played, Bouma had already decided to redshirt his first season at USD. Last fall, he was named Offensive Scout Player of the Year.
“It was tough (not playing) but coming in I knew I was going to redshirt,” Bouma said. “So I was just focused on making our defense better and trying to make the squad in spring ball.”
South Dakota Coach Joe Glenn began touting Bouma and fellow redshirt freshman Jordan Roberts last spring. Roberts, from Sheridan, Wyo., is a virtual clone of Bouma who put up similar prep numbers en route to 2012 Wyoming Gatorade Player of the Year honors, amassing 6,000 yards and scoring 70 touchdowns.
Glenn, in fact, dubbed the duo the “Bruise Brothers” during spring practice.
Because of an unfortunate injury to incumbent starter Jasper Sanders, Bouma and Roberts will get their chance to shine sooner than anticipated.
Sanders suffered a broken wrist while lifting weights this summer and will miss the entire season, paving the way for the redshirt freshmen.
“There is no question how talented this guy (Bouma) is, he is tough, he just needs some experience” said Glenn, entering his second season as USD coach. “He’ll just get better and better and he’s one of those backs that the more you feed him the better he gets.”
Bouma, though, realizes he still hasn’t had an official carry in a college football game.
“This isn’t Class A Iowa football anymore,” said Bouma, who was named most valuable player in the Iowa Shrine Bowl in his final prep contest. “These dudes are faster and bigger, but I think I’ve adjusted real well in the past year and gotten comfortable with what’s going on and the speed of the game.”
Because of Bouma and Roberts’ styles, the Coyotes will employ a more north-to-south rushing attack this season.
“Losing a guy like Jasper, who is going to be a senior, that hurts,” said Beschorner. “We don’t know exactly where it’s at, but those two guys have gotten a lot of reps and we brought in (freshman) Khorey Kilgore. Those three guys are doing a really good job, it’s just a matter of them being consistent all the time.
“Any time you’re that young the consistency isn’t always there all the time. But there’s a toughness factor that they have, the physicality that they have, that they can make up with as far as the consistency.”
Bouma’s first collegiate carry will come on Aug. 31 at home against UC-Davis.
“After Jasper got hurt, Jordan and I just felt like we needed to step up for the team,” Bouma said. “I think we’ve been building confidence up in fall ball and I think we can make a difference on this team.”