One common theme for this year’s group of UND seniors is the adversity they worked through and overcame throughout their careers: Position changes (multiple times by some), a coaching change, the transition to D1, and some down times in terms of the success of the team on the field. This group has been through a lot.
Most of these guys selflessly hung in there and stuck around for the program when things were in doubt during the coaching staff change, while they watched others around them leave. This group defines the pride and commitment that exists in the UND Football program.
For all of that, we say “thank you, seniors” and good luck in your future endeavors off the field.
74 Devin Barton (Carrington, N.D.): Considered a project out of high school by many, Barton was a depth guy his first couple years. Then, this North Dakota product became an anchor at left tackle the last two years and really was one of the more sure things they had up front.
40 Baylee Carr (Hazen, N.D.): Another home grown in-state player with good leadership qualities who logged a lot of plays from the safety position. Made a mark on special teams early in his career as well and started at safety essentially the last 2 1/2 seasons. Ended 2014 as the third leading tackler on the team with 68.
91 Spencer Cummings (White Bear Lake, Minn.): Really started to hit his stride after being asked to move to noseguard this year. Almost seemed like a natural fit at the position and maybe should have been there all along. Was a difference maker in the run defense in the second half of the season.
96 Berto Espinoza (Reno, Nev.): Transferred to UND last year from Feather River CC in CA and played consistently all year adding nice depth to a depleted defensive line. Had 14 tackles on the year.
2 Jer Garman (Marion, Iowa): Garman controversially had his redshirt pulled and had a slow start to his career due to being behind on the depth chart and being in a pass happy offense. Commitment and diligence paid off for Iowa native this year as he was the featured back in the 2nd half of the season that made the UND ground game formidable. In his last 5 games, Garman rushed for 741 yards (175, 235, 137, 92, 102) – an avg of 148 yards per game – and set career marks in 4 out of those 5. The senior seemed to hit his stride to close the season.
69 Ben Henson (Buffalo, Minn.): Played defensive line early in his career and then was asked to play guard this year when injuries hit and filled in admirably. Another selfless player you want on your team. Henson was a bit undersized at 6’1″-290 but he was probably the most passionate player on the team and a key member of the program.
44 Alex Hickel (Grand Forks, N.D.): The hometown Red River High School grad added valuable depth to the OLB position for 3 years. Hickel got bogged down on the depth chart this year but stuck it out and kept contributing the entire year in whichever manner was asked.
1 Tyrhe Ivery (Garland, Texas): Started strong early in his career and will probably be remembered most by his game against South Dakota as a freshman. Led the stunning comeback victory against South Dakota at the Alerus that clinched the Great West Conference title and got Ed Meirkort fired at USD. Ivery finished that game with 2 TDs and was clutch down the stretch. Another guy that was asked to move across the ball a couple times, Ivery played corner and WR during the 2nd part of his career.
7 R.J. McGill (Phoenix, Ariz.): McGill had his redshirt pulled and was an early contributor during his freshman and sophomore seasons. After blowing his ACL and redshirting, McGill came back again only to have the same season-ending injury occur this year. Would have been a difference-maker this season based on experience alone at the position.
50 Alex Nelson (Minot, N.D.): A backup linebacker who joined the team in 2012 after spending his freshman year as a student at UND.
30 Dwayne Pecosky (Commerce City, Colo.): Came to UND as a center, moved to defensive line, and then finished his career as a fullback, Pecosky defined the role of “team player” by moving around whenever asked by 2 different coaching staffs. These types of players are the backbone of any program.
52 Ben Peters (Chandler, Ariz.): A highly-touted recruit out of high school, Peters was a solid player at linebacker on the 2 deep for four years. This year Peters did a nice job at ILB collecting 38 tackles and logging consistent game reps all season.
15 Garret Reineke (Thompson, N.D.): UND found this diamond in the rough 7 miles down I-29 late in the recruiting cycle and was essentially a signing day surprise nobody knew about. Five years later, Reineke came out of nowhere for his senior campaign and was a leading playmaker on a vastly improved UND defense. He finished with 34 total tackles, 9.5 TFLs , 5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles.
39 Adam Shaugabay (Warroad, Minn.): A solid, serviceable backup for most of his career, Shaugabay found a role as a short yardage runner and was a good, physical change of pace back.
25 Alex Tillman (Houston, Texas): All you need to know about this young man is that he transferred in from FBS program Houston for his final season of eligibility and in a blink of an eye, was named team captain in his short tenure as a senior at UND. Outside of his evident character qualities, he brought stability to a position of dire need and was a big play guy with a TD on an interception return that sealed a win and a punt return for 92 yards for a TD.