UND Junior Day and Recruiting Update

  • UND will be hosting their annual Junior Day tomorrow for current juniors in high school that are prospects for the Class of 2016.  We have been able to confirm that the following student-athletes will be on campus tomorrow:
  1. Braedan Hanson – WR – Red River High School
  2. Zak Kuntz – LB – Red River High School
  3. Jamahl Johnson – DL – Prior Lake High School
  4. Zach Sweep – RB-LB – Bismarck Century High School
  5. Ben Bolinske – QB/ATH – Minot High School
  6. Matt Marler – LB – Minot High School
  7. Foster Conzet – LB – Wayzata High School
  8. Braydon Lund – TE-DE – Minot High School
  9. Tyson Lytle – DL – Fargo South High School
  • DL Kemuel Denny of Pike High School in Indianapolis, IN is visiting UND this weekend and indicated he will be signing after his visit.  Denny appears to be somewhat raw and will need time to develop but has a long frame and quick burst of the ball.  At 6’5″-240 he will fit in nicely at the defensive end position.  We had indicated earlier that UND needed another defensive lineman in this class and Denny is it.  We are still not ruling out a FBS transfer along the defensive line as well due to the fact they could use an older player to even out the classes and provide immediate depth.

KD

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Grab Bag of UND Football Stuff

A few updates and thoughts now that the 2015 recruiting season is over (for now):

UND just received a PWO commitment from LB Andre Steiger of Glenbard South High School in Glen Ellyn, IL (western suburb of Chicago).  Steiger. 6’0”-215, shows very good speed and quickness off the ball in his highlights.  We project him as a weakside ILB or possibly a weakside OLB, where he can use his skills off the edge.  Steiger is the 6th LB to join the Class of 2015.

UND still needs another defensive lineman in this class.  All options are on the table as we have seen them offer juco players, along with high school kids.  An FBS transfer is obviously a possibility.  UND signed four last week but need immediate help for 2015.  When more names come available we will update this but we haven’t seen anything new since signing day.

UND now has 3 cornerbacks over 6′-3″ – sophomore Deion Harris and true freshman signees Robert Hilton and Jeremy Webb.

It has been publicized that in 2015 UND will be getting two new sets of Adidas football jerseys/pants, along with the workout gear, etc.  Coach Schweigert is a traditionalist when it comes to uniforms so we are confident they will be green at home and white on the road.  We are also hearing they may be toying around with the idea of a grey helmet in the future.  We assume it would look similar to the helmet they used back in the 60′-70’s.  Love the idea.

 

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Reviewing the Signing Day Class of 2015

Here are our thoughts on the 2015 UND recruiting class now that the dust has settled:

  1. Coach Bubba Schweigert made the state of North Dakota priority #1.  And it showed.  They got 6 of the top 9 kids in the state, with all of them being overall good athletes and also good kids.
  2. UND needs to create the culture that they want in their program with their first couple classes and it was obvious that is what Bubba is doing here.  Last year they signed 17 kids from North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.  This year they signed 15 from North Dakota and Minnesota.
  3. The staff hit up the usual spots again this year.  They went into Michigan to pull two athletes in Iwarri Smith and Tim Dulin and also went down to Kansas/Missouri to get a couple more lineman in Justus Merz and Steve Greer.
  4. Things got pretty interesting with both Merz and Greer.  Indiana State came in and offered both of them.  Northern Iowa, who are notoriously late recruiters, and South Dakota also came in and offered Merz.  UND had to go into protection mode to keep both of them.  Merz (6′-6″-270) is a player we believe was way under the radar for most of the recruiting season.  He only had offers from UND and SDSU during the fall.  He is a very athletic OL who can get out and run like a tight end.
  5. The staff added Colorado this year and it paid off big time with the addition of three players (Bryce Blair, Tyus Carter, & Keenan Poole).
  6. A player that completely flew under the radar was OL Patric Rooney of Benilde St. Margarets in the Cities.  Watch his tape.  The kid is a mauler.  Finishes every block to the whistle.  He has center or guard written all over him.
  7. It was quite obvious that the UND staff wanted to get “taller”.  They added five defensive backs that all go over 6′-2″, with Webb being a 6′-4″ cornerback and Hilton being 6′-3″.  The shortest OL they added was 6′-4″ (Rooney).
  8. UND recruited kids from winning programs.  Bryce Blair & Tyus Carter played for the 5A Colorado state champion Cherry Creek Bruins.  Jeremy Webb played for Stevenson, which won the 8A Illinois state championship with a 14-0 record.  Alex Reed played for perennial juco powerhouse Iowa Western.  Aidan & Tristan Hartness led Fargo Davies to the Class AAA state championship.  Brady Oliveira led Oak Park to a 9-1 record and conference championship.  Adding kids that are used to winning goes a long way to creating the culture they want at UND.
  9. It was obvious that UND’s ability to build relationships from start to finish during the recruiting process was a huge variable in the success of this year’s class (something they didn’t have the luxury of doing last year). Having the opportunity to do so is one thing, capitalizing on those opportunities with the success they had this year is another.  Hats off.

Biggest “Gets”

Elijah Grady – He is a great overall athlete for such a big man (6’5″-290).  We think he can be a top flight tackle/guard for UND in a few years.  The transition from 9-man to FCS ball will take a little time.
Troy Hansen – At 6’4″, Hansen is the big, athletic linebacker that UND needs on the inside.  We see him playing the weakside ILB position for UND and being a sideline to sideline threat, but he has the flexibility to play all over where they need him to.  Could be scary by the time he bulks up in the weight room.
Steve Greer – The 6′-2″-280 pound interior defensive lineman projects at the noseguard spot in the 3-4.  While we have said all along that he is an effort and lunchpail type of player, he may surprise some people with his play-making ability.  If he can do it mentally, we feel he has potential to be in the rotation and on the field in week 1.  The “fit” at UND has a lot to do with why we are high on him.
Justus Merz – He is a fast, nimble OL who can pull and get out in front of the play with ease.  Merz should hopefully be a cornerstone of the OL in a couple years.
Tim Dulin – Tall (6′-4″), skinny, can run and will go up and get the ball.  UND needs height at the WR in the worst way and Dulin can provide it.  He will need time in the weight room but certainly has the frame.
Iwarri Smith – We aren’t quite sure whether he fits best on offense or defense, but the coaches have to love the ability to play him wherever it works best for the team.  This product from Michigan had a standing PWO offer from Oregon and is a natural runner on the track who clocked a 10.8 100 meter dash.

Steals/Diamonds in the Rough

Bryce Blair – Maybe the “under the radar” steal of the class, in our opinion.  Didn’t appear to have a whole lot going on with other FCS schools (Georgetown, UNC and D2 offers), but UND stumbled upon him presumably while watching film of Cherry Creek teammate Tyus Carter.  An ass-kicking mauler who needs some time to develop, Blair has high, long-term upside if his body and technique develop under the tutelage of Coach Knauf.
Jade Lawrence – It sounds as thought the Moorhead High School product will start out at OLB, where UND coaches like him best.  However, if need be, Lawrence has the ability to be able to play RB in the Big Sky.  Regardless of where he plays, we think Lawrence and his athleticism are highly underrated.
Carl Engwall – Given how we saw Drew Greely and Brandon Dranka contribute and develop this year as true freshman  at DE (something we didn’t see coming), we feel Engwall fits the same type of mold.  A 1st Team All-State selection , Engwall surprisingly did not have many other suitors after committing early in September to Coach Bubba Schweigert.  We think he’s a perfect fit to play the 5-technique at UND.
Patric Rooney – How this kid didn’t have multiple FCS offers is beyond us.  Rooney attended UND’s camp as a junior and hurt his knee while there.  After a succesful rehab stint and senior season, his senior film looked very impressive.  Rooney is definitely a candidate to be a 3 or 4 year starter at guard or center.  We love his tenacity at the point of attack in the running game.
Jeremy Webb - Anytime you can get a 6’4″ corner who can run and played at the highest level of Illinois football (8A) for the (undefeated) state champion, you take him.  He’s rough, but with some development, could be a game changer (see Deion Harris).

Instant Impact (candidates to contribute early)

Steve Greer(See Above)
Kevin Camy – We know transfers are obvious guys to be on the field, but he has the size and ability to start immediately.  Camy will probably be fighting for a starting spot at one of the tackle positions this spring and next fall.  We hope he allows UND the flexibility to move Sean Meehan down inside, where he is more of a natural fit and where we believe he can be most effective.
Clive Georges – If The University of Arizona transfer isn’t on the field for 1-back sets, it will be a huge disappointment given where he’s coming from and his athletic ability.  We feel with him being here for spring ball, that it should be a no-brainer.  At minimum, looking forward to him being a top 3 WR, immediately.  At best, we hope he’s a go-to guy week 1 for UND’s starting QB.
John Santiago – This dynamic slot guy brings an element to the UND offense that is currently missing on the roster.  We feel it’s 60/40 that he plays immediately.  His ability, or lack thereof, to returns punts/kicks could be the deciding factor on pulling his shirt.
Brady Oliveira – While not a homerun hitter, Oliveira brings another running dimension that will be different than what we are used to seeing in UND’s backfield recently.  He is a between-the-tackles, physical style runner that will be a nice complement to the position group immediately.  We will see how he progresses mentally in fall camp.
Jawon Johnson - Big, physical safety at 6’2″-210.  By all reports he is the same size as current UND safety Cole Reyes.  Johnson should have the ability to step in and play immediately as an every down safety.
Justus Merz – Already a machine in the weight room, at 6′-6″ Merz is an immediate candidate for the 2-deep at tackle, given the lack of depth at both spots.  It takes but one play of his highlights to see his ability to move and run around on the field.  We love his potential from jump street.

Biggest “misses” (guys that UND went after and visited, but went elsewhere)
Decxavier Kelly-Martin (Illinois State)
Grady Higgins (Boston College)
Cole Karcz (NDSU)
Bryson McCabe (Montana State)
Keith Key (Ohio University)
Richard King (Colorado St.)

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Signing Day Chat

Since it’s signing day and hope springs eternal on this day every year, we figured we would live it up a bit longer with a comment chat session.  We do not have the capabilities to live chat like the big dogs over at the Herald so we need to do it through comments.

Fire away with any comments/questions you may have and we will give our best answer/thoughts right back!

 

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UND Class of 2015 – Signing Day

Here is your UND Football Class of 2015.  For more in-depth coverage go to UNDSports.com.  They will have all the info you could possibly want on each and every recruit.  We will continue on with individual recruit writeups as the week goes on past signing day.

Live interactive chat/comment session coming up at 2pm!

Here’s the breakdown by state so far:

#RollTribe

Below is the breakdown by position.  We are confident these will be their starting positions come fall camp:

Quarterback (2)

1.  Brad Heidlebaugh – QB (ND)

2.  Aidan Hartness – QB (ND) (PWO)

Running Back (3)

1.  Brady Oliveira – RB (MB)

2.  Ja’Won Arrington – RB (AL)

3.  Austin Gordon – RB (MN) (PWO)

Fullback (0)

1.  None

Wide Receiver (6)

1.  Carter Blackwell – WR (ND)

2.  John Santiago – WR (MN)

3.  Clive Georges – WR (AZ)

4.  Alex Reed – WR (IA)

5.  Tim Dulin – WR (MI)

6.  Tristan Hartness – WR (ND) (PWO)

Tight End (1)

1.  Luke Keller – TE (ND) (PWO)

Offensive Line (6)

1.  Elijah Grady – OL (ND)

2.  Zack Williams – OL (MB)

3.  Justus Merz – OL (KS)

4.  Patric Rooney – OG (MN)

5.  Kevin Camy – OL – (CA)

6.  Bryce Blair – OL – (CO)

Defensive Line (4)

1.  Carl Engwall – DL (MN)

2.  Steve Greer – NG (MO)

3.  Logan Alm – NG (MN) (PWO)

4.  Ted Nelson – DL (MN) (PWO)

Outside Linebacker (3)

1.  Mason Bennett – OLB (MB)

2.  Jade Lawrence – OLB (MN)

3.  Keelan Poole – OLB (CO)

Inside Linebacker (3)

1.  Donnell Rodgers – ILB (MN)

2.  Troy Hansen – ILB (AB)

Safety (4)

1.  Zach Arnell – S (CA)

2.  Jawon Johnson – S (NM)

3.  Tanner Palmborg – S (MN) (PWO)

4.  Awarri Smith – S (MI)

Cornerback (3)

1.  Tyus Carter – CB (CO)

2.  Robert Hilton – CB (CA)

3.  Jeremy Webb – CB (IL)

 

We will have a full writeup and reaction tomorrow morning once all the paperwork has been processed and the ink has dried.   Relevant comments and discussion are welcome!

 

 

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UND 2015 Recruiting – Signing Day Week

As near as we can tell, Coach Bubba Schweigert and his staff should be about done with recruiting as far as the official 2015 recruiting calendar goes.

By our math they are sitting at 26 scholarship commitments and 6 preferred-walk on commitments.  That means they can sign five more players for the 2015 season, if they are so inclined.  A team can only sign 30 players in one recruiting season.

The one player we are waiting to hear something on is LB Troy Hansen of Canada Prep.  He visited UND in December and was waiting on word from the University of California about a scholarship, but we haven’t heard or read anything concrete on his decision.  Per reports, he was offered a grey shirt or PWO by Cal (not sure which).  While it is probably a coin flip chance, we are hoping he will be signing with UND, but it appears we will have to wait until Wednesday to know for sure.  He would definitely be a nice cherry on top of this solid 2015 signing day class.  Inside linebacker is still a position of need right now when breaking down this class (below).

UND may also still be in the market for a transfer defensive lineman in the next few months – a player that would start with the team come summer time.  If it is an FBS transfer it would be announced in May.

Signing Day is on Wednesday, February 4th.  UND will be holding their annual Signing Day Party at the Alerus Center, Ballroom 5 on Wednesday night at 5:30 pm.

 

Quarterback (2)

1.  Brad Heidlebaugh – QB (ND)

2.  Aidan Hartness – QB (ND) (PWO)

Running Back (3)

1.  Brady Oliveira – RB (MB)

2.  Ja’Won Arrington – RB (UAB)

3.  Austin Gordon – RB (MN) (PWO)

Fullback (0)

1.  None

Wide Receiver (6)

1.  Carter Blackwell – WR (ND)

2.  John Santiago – WR (MN)

3.  Clive Georges – WR (Arizona-FBS)

4.  Alex Reed – WR (Iowa Western-J)

5.  Tim Dulin – WR (MI)

6.  Tristan Hartness – WR (ND) (PWO)

Tight End (1)

1.  Luke Keller – TE (ND) (PWO)

Offensive Line (6)

1.  Elijah Grady –  (ND)

2.  Zack Williams – OL (MB)

3.  Justus Merz – OL (KS)

4.  Patric Rooney – OG (MN)

5.  Kevin Camy – OL – (Butte CC)

6.  Bryce Blair – OL – (CO)

Defensive Line (3)

1.  Carl Engwall – DL (MN)

2.  Steve Greer – NG (MO)

3.  Logan Alm – NG (MN) (PWO)

Outside Linebacker (3)

1.  Mason Bennett – OLB (MB)

2.  Jade Lawrence – OLB (MN)

3.  Keelan Poole – OLB (CO)

Inside Linebacker (1)

1.  Donnell Rodgers – ILB (MN)

Safety (4)

1.  Zach Arnell – S (Santa Barbara CC)

2.  Jawon Johnson – S (New Mexico Military JC)

3.  Tanner Palmborg – S (MN) (PWO)

4.  Awarri Smith – S (MI – could also be a RB)

Cornerback (3)

1.  Tyus Carter – CB (CO)

2.  Robert Hilton – CB (CA)

3.  Jeremy Webb – CB (IL)

 

 

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Final Recruiting Weekend – 2015

We believe UND is holding their final recruiting weekend of the 2015 season tomorrow, January 31st.  However, due to them having an “almost” full class already, we doubt their will be many visitors.

One visitor we have confirmed is DB Jeremy Webb of Stevenson HS in Lincolnshire, IL.  He appears to be another tall, rangy defensive back that UND is transitioning to.

I would think that there would be 1-2 other preferred walk-on candidates that are coming in.  UND does already has five PWO’s in Luke Keller, Aidan & Tristan Hartness, Tanner Palmborg, and Logan Alm, who just recently committed.  Plus they have the mid-year walk-ons in Oscar Nevermann, Sawyer Knick, and Trent Galkoski.  The latter three are only guaranteed a spot in spring ball, however, not fall camp.

Once again, we will try to update this if we come across any other official visitors.

UPDATE:  Austin Gordon of Wayzata, MN is visiting UND, we believe.

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Verbal Commit 2015 – Jade Lawrence

Name:  JADE LAWRENCE

School:  Moorhead High School – Moorhead, MN (Coach Kevin Feeney)

Vitals:  OLB/RB (#2)  6’0″ – 195 lbs

We believe it has been a while since a Moorhead High prep athlete has committed to play football at UND, but Bubba Schweigert secured one with Jade Lawrence back on December 14th.

Lawrence is a dynamic player on film, with the overwhelming majority of his highlights coming on offense.  He shows great vision in traffic and is able to drop his hips and make a defender miss on cuts in the open field.  His 1,384 yards rushing on just 135 carries yielded a staggering 10.2 yards per carry average to go with his 27 total TDs (25 rushing).  The Minnesota Vikings named Lawrence as one of 30 players to their annual 2014 All-State Team.

While we believe he best projects as an OLB on defense at UND, there is no question that if need be, he would be able to be a more than serviceable running back against FCS defenses.  Lawrence has the speed to go along with a power running element that will translate to the FCS level.

Hudl Highlights

http://forumpreps.areavoices.com/files/2014/08/Jade-Lawrence.jpg

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Verbal Commit 2015 – Brad Heidlebaugh

Name:  BRAD HEIDLEBAUGH

School:  Rugby High School, Rugby, North Dakota. (Coach Scott Grochow)

Vitals:  Quarterback (#7)  6’5″ – 200 lbs

Brad Heidlebaugh is the first quarterback and the 3rd North Dakota commitment to the UND class of 2015.

In his senior season as the Panthers quarterback, Heidlebaugh amassed 2,266 yards of total offense as a true dual-threat QB.  We honestly know more about Heidlebaugh’s basketball prowess due to his playing on TV but do not know much about his football skills.  We did not see any Hudl or Youtube highlights.

We do know that Heidlebaugh is an excellent all-around athlete with great leaping ability.  He was a two-time Class A First-Team All-State quarterback for the Panthers.  He was also First-Team All-State in basketball, where he is one of the current favorites for the Mr. Basketball award.  In track, Heidlebaugh finished 2nd in the triple jump at the 2014 state track meet and 5th in the long jump.  There is something to say for recruiting ‘multi-sport’ athletes and Heidlebaugh is the definition of that term.

It’s safe to say that Heidlebaugh could play multiple positions for UND, based on need, etc.  A flex TE/H-back type would be one, along with WR or even outside linebacker.  However, he is going to be a QB at UND and that is the position where we hope he succeeds.

 

 

 

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Recruiting Weekend Recap 1-24-15 (Updated)

We believe that UND has come very close to sweeping the board after last week’s recruiting weekend.  The only visitor that we know of who has not committed is LB Keelan Poole of Grandview HS in Colorado.  Keelan Poole has committed to UND.

This brings UND’s current recruiting class to 26 scholarship verbal commitments and 4 preferred walk-on commitments.

The following players committed to UND Football this past weekend:

Maybe it is us being hyper-sensitive based on the Momoh situation with Wyoming, but we are paying close attention to UND’s commitments in Michigan & Colorado this week.  A school like Wyoming, who is obviously scrambling like crazy late in the process (based on their offers and locations they are recruiting in), is one to watch.  They have offered a bunch of Michigan kids in the past week, basically trying to get any kid they can to fill out their recruiting class.  Hopefully, UND’s relationship building and time they put in with their recruits, showing they truly wanted them at UND, will shine through.

 

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