Even from the small town of Towner, TGU lineman Luke Bacon's skills on the football field were enough to attract the attention of two-time defending FCS National Champion North Dakota State University.
The 6-foot-5, 250-pound rising senior verbally committed to the Division I Bison in mid-July and will join the NDSU program beginning in the 2014-15 season, Bacon confirmed Wednesday.
"I was overjoyed," Bacon said. "It was a goal of mine to play at a big college and was fortunate enough that NDSU offered."
Bacon said NDSU coach Craig Bohl visited with TGU coach Scott Thorson in the spring. Bacon had the opportunity to talk with Bohl and Bison offensive line coach Scott Fuchs during an NDSU team camp in mid-June. Although not definite, the plan is for Bacon to play on the offensive line.
The first-team all-state selection will get a year to observe the game as he will redshirt during his freshman season.
"The redshirt year will be nice," Bacon said. "I'll get adjusted. Coming from a little school where you have 25 players on a team to NDSU, it's going to be an adjustment, but I'm ready for it."
Bacon said he had brief discussions with the University of Minnesota and Division II Bemidji State.
In three years with the Titans, Bacon accumulated 181 tackles, 4.5 sacks, six forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Bacon led TGU last year with 100 total tackles.
"He's an exceptional kid to coach," Thorson said. "He's not only a talented kid, but he has all the tools. He's a good person and a good student and a real coachable kid. He's a leader and that's the best part about him. He's willing to lead and help out the younger kids. He leads by example."
Thorson begins his 16th season as the Titans' head coach and said Bacon is the first Division I recruit he's coached. He said it wasn't just exciting for himself as a coach, but for the small community as well.
The Titans are 22-9 with Bacon on the roster and advanced to the playoffs each year. Last season, TGU won its first region title since 2003 and advanced to the state semifinals.
Bacon wasn't the only verbal commitment NDSU received for the 2014-15 season Wednesday. Drake-Anamoose senior tight end-defensive end Tanner Volson will join Bacon on the Bison roster.
Volson led the Raiders with 11.5 sacks in seven games and compiled 65 total tackles last season. The 6-5, 250-pound rising senior also contributed 335 yards rushing and seven touchdowns.
Before they become teammates on the football field, Bacon and Volson will be foes once more. TGU opens the regular season at home against Drake-Anamoose on Aug. 27.
Mike Kraft covers hockey and Class B high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft23_MDN.