North Dakota State Football Unveils 2013 Recruiting Class
Release: February 07, 2013
FARGO, N.D. (AP) -- North Dakota State's campaign for a third straight national football championship began Wednesday when coach Craig Bohl predicted that several members of his next class will play right away.
Bohl unveiled 21 high school players who signed national letters of intent and will receive scholarships to play for the Bison, who are coming off back-to-back titles in the Championship Subdivision.
NDSU returns all but a handful of starters, but Bohl said not all of the newcomers will have to wait to see the field.
"There will be guys out of this group who will not redshirt," Bohl said. "To say which ones right now would be premature. But the ability is there."
Six was a common number in the new group. That's the number of players from the state of Wisconsin who accepted scholarships, the number of new recruits slated to play linebacker, and the number of players who gave verbal commitments to NDSU before last season even started.
"The question everybody is going to ask is how this class ranks compared to other ones," Bohl said. "I think that's great discussion points to talk around a cup of coffee in the morning, but by and large it exceeded our expectation."
In addition to the players from Wisconsin, the Bison inked three from Minnesota, three from Florida, two from North Dakota, two from South Dakota, two from Nebraska, and one each from Illinois, Missouri and Kansas.
Bohl said the Bison did not sign a single player last year from Wisconsin, which has been a hotbed for NDSU recruits since the late 1960s. This year's class includes defensive end Brad Ambrosius, linebacker James Gates, linebacker Alex Hahn, defensive tackle Nick Jacobsen, defensive tackle Grant Morgan and defensive tackle Nathan Tanguay.
Wide receiver Drew Davis, another Wisconsin high school player, agreed to join the team as a so-called preferred walk-on.
"That was off the charts," Bohl said of number of Wisconsin recruits. "These guys are good players.
The two in-state recruits are Jeff Illies, a tight end and linebacker from Lidgerwood, and Jesse Kubik, an offensive lineman from Manning, in the heart of the oil patch. The Bison signed another local player of sorts in running back Chase Morlock, who played across the Red River at Moorhead, Minn.
Morlock was an all-state player and Mr. Football finalist in Minnesota.
"He's a winner, at everything he does," Bohl said of Morlock. "He achieves at a really high level."
Bohl said Bison coaches made linebacker a priority, not only because of need at that position but because linebackers typically make the best special teams players. Two of the recruited linebackers were standouts in major metropolitan areas, Pierre Gee-Tucker in St. Louis and Matt Plank in Kansas City.
Bohl also added a couple of familiar names. Connor Wentz, a tight end from Dunnellon, Fla., is the cousin of NDSU backup quarterback Carson Wentz. Mike Goergen, a preferred walk-on linebacker from Adams, Minn., is related to Troy Goergen, NDSU's senior associate athletic director.