Now that all the papers have been signed it’s time for our annual SFI Signing Class Review.
To watch highlights of all the players in the class go our 2017 Commits/Signees page.
Running Back (1)
Wide Receiver (4)
Tight End (1)
Offensive Line (3)
Defensive Line (3)
Outside Linebacker (2)
Inside Linebacker (2)
North Dakota – 4
Minnesota – 8
Colorado – 3
Wisconsin – 3
Illinois – 1
Iowa – 1
California – 1
Washington – 2
- 14 of the commits attended a UND Football camp last summer. Once again, it tells us that they offer the known commodity over a distance player they couldn’t see workout in person.
- Having said that, the staff also worked camps at Wisconsin, Minnesota, Wyoming, Northwestern, and Nebraska. So they saw kids perform in person at those camps, with signee Cameron McKinney being one of them. McKinney recorded the fastest 40 time at the Nebraska camp.
- Quite apparent UND went hard at the upper midwest kids again this year. 16 of the 23 signees came from ND, MN, WI, and IA.
- Far and away the most underrated player in this class is ILB Noah Larson (6’2″-230). He tested very well at UND’s camp last summer and backed it up with a dynamite senior season. Larson’s dad, Scott, played at UND from 1987-90 so that obviously helped UND. Larson ran for 1,572 yards and 15 TD’s this past fall. He is going to be a force at ILB for The Hawks. Larson had a ton of attention given to him by MVFC and G5 teams in the last month of recruiting.
- DE Ezekiel Ott was this years commit that blew up late in the recruiting season. Ott injured his knee at the end of his junior season causing him to miss some camp time last summer. He came back strong and dominated in his senior season leading Caledonia to another state championship. This led to a flood of late offers from the likes of Washington State, UNI and NDSU. However, Ott stuck with UND being they were the first team to offer.
- QB Brock Boltmann progressed very nicely during his senior season. His tape showed the work he put in over the summer. Very quick release, fast, and can make plays with his feet. He is about the same size as current UND QB Keaton Studsrud. Boltmann is a coaches kid, having played for his father, Reed, at Edina HS.
- The UND staff has no issues with “projecting” a new position for a player. An example of that is CB Hayden Blubaugh (6’0″-180) of Grandview HS in Colorado. Blubaugh was a do-everything running back for the Wolves, amassing 1,911 rushing yards and 30 TD’s at the highest level in Colorado. His shiftiness, athleticism and speed translate well to the cornerback position for the the Hawks.
- DL Jalen Morrison is another player that projects well to the nose guard position in UND’s 3-4 defense. Morrison was over-sized running back/defensive end, which we love because it shows how good his feet are and just how good of an overall athlete he is. However, at 6’2″-250, Morrison will be a force down inside for UND. He reminds us a lot of former UND All-American nose guard Mark Callahan (Grand Forks Central), who also played running back in high school.
- As the season went on it was plain to see UND needed to get some smaller, quicker slot receiver types that can make guys miss or blow by somebody downfield. Consider it taken care of. UND signed wide receivers Mikey Greibel, Cameron McKinney, and Israel Adeoti, all of which are speed guys. Those three will join up with Luke Stanley, Noah Wanzek, Travis Toivonen, Demun Mercer, Tim Dulin and Stetson Carr who are all 6’2″-6’5″.
- The offensive line is always a priority, especially with the style of run-first offense that UND employs. They added rugged guard Connor Kruse and tackle Wil Prine. Prine is cut out of the Bryce Blair mold where he might take a few years to get up to size but is a good athlete with good feet. UND loses four offensive lineman after next year.
- An overlooked player in this class that could pay big dividends down the road, much like Brian Labat did for the past four years, is Leif Bungum. He is cut out of the same cloth as Labat but is probably faster/quicker but would need to show is as football savvy as Brian was. Bungum, 6’2-190, could be an outstanding playmaker out in space and off the edge.
- The Colorado Triad had a nice article written about them by the Denver Post. Sound like great kids, very grounded and humble. Exactly what UND wants.
- We believe UND will still be actively seeking OL help via the FBS market. That usually doesn’t get hot until the semester is over because those players many times haven’t made their intentions clear until after spring ball, plus they need to finish out the semester academically. If the right safety/corner pops up they may look into that too but are getting closer with the depth they need at those positions.
- The staff indicated that kicker Brady Leach had the strongest leg of any kicker they saw at their camp. This is backed up by his highlights, which show numerous touchbacks. Leach is the heir apparent to Reid Taubenheim and very well could the starting kicker for 2018.
- Overall, pretty solid class. Got some high-end talent to fill in the holes they had on the field (WR) and added length and increased athleticism across the board. A bit of a smaller class than before but this is recruiting class #4 for Bubba Schweigert so he shouldn’t need to add 30+ guys anymore, unless there is an unusually large senior class, like next years (23 seniors).