Players to Watch: SEMO


Collin Maguire

Iowa State quarterbacks Hunter Dekkers (left) and Brock Purdy (right) talk on the sideline during the Cyclones’ 27-17 loss to No.10 Iowa on Sept. 11.

Iowa State: Hunter Dekkers (QB)

The one player who might have the most to prove on Saturday is none other than the new starting quarterback for the Cyclones. With the departure of all-time great Brock Purdy, Dekkers has big shoes to fill.

Looking leaner and faster than ever, Dekkers will have the opportunity to show the college football world what he brings to the table, both in his arm strength and dual-threat capabilities. Dekkers brings different abilities to the table than Purdy, so the offensive play calling could be much different. This will also be an important game for Dekkers to build the team’s confidence and should set the pace for the season.

Dekkers saw the field during snippets of last season and saw varied success. According to Head Coach Matt Campbell, the most important game for Dekkers from a growth standpoint was against Oklahoma. Dekkers threw an interception late in the game before leading a drive for a touchdown.

The growth Dekkers showed throughout his snaps and over the offseason will be on display against SEMO. It will also be interesting to see how much strength he still has as a runner, even with his leaner frame.

Southeast Missouri State: Geno Hess (RB)

Hess is an elite running back talent and has the opportunity to cement himself as the best running back in SEMO history during his 2022 campaign. He is coming off a strong season, averaging over five yards a carry and 111.6 yards per game. Hess also tacked on 1,116 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns in 2021.

Hess will be chasing the school leaderboards in 2022, as he currently sits sixth all-time in rushing yards and second all-time in rushing touchdowns. There’s a reason Hess was named the Ohio Valley Conference preseason Offensive Player of the Year.

Hess can do some damage to the Iowa State defense if it doesn’t react well to his explosive running. The touchdown monster will be a player to keep an eye on, as there’s a good chance he gets hot throughout the game.