Linebacker will shun multiple FBS schools and sign with Bison
By Jeff Kolpack
Forum News Service
FARGO — There is no official record for the North Dakota State football recruit over the years who signed a letter of intent with the Bison with the most scholarship offers. Certainly, Luke Weerts will be near the top if not on the top rung.
The linebacker from Batavia, Ill., isn’t even certain the total number of schools that offered him a scholarship.
He was asked if 19 is the number.
“I would say that’s pretty accurate,” Weerts said. “But I really don’t keep track of that.”
With NDSU’s move to Division I athletics 15 years ago has come more competition for players.
Weerts said he will be one of an expected 25 players who will sign with NDSU on national signing day on Wednesday, Dec. 19. The fact NDSU beat several FBS schools for Weerts is mind-blowing to anybody who still remembers the Division II days.
The list of those who offered, according to Rivals.com, includes FBS Kansas State, Cincinnati, Northern Illinois, Massachusetts, Rice, Air Force and Ball State.
“You see the glamour of the FBS schools but NDSU plays in just as big of games and I want to win national championships with players that love to play the game,” Weerts said. “NDSU is a great place for that.”
Kansas State made for an interesting dynamic in that it was the one school where, by his NDSU contract, departing Bison head coach Chris Klieman could have continued to sway. Klieman is forbidden from contacting existing NDSU commitments unless they were previously offered.
Weerts took his official campus visit to NDSU over the weekend and he said he saw Klieman briefly.
“Just to say hi,” he said.
Local players expected to sign with the Bison are Fargo South tight end Dawson Weisenberger and Fargo Davies tight end Jaden Klabo.
Last weekend was Weerts’ fourth trip to Fargo. He sat in the NDSU student section during the 44-21 win over South Dakota State that sends the Bison to the Division I FCS title game in Frisco, Texas on Jan. 5. NDSU plays Eastern Washington.
“I couldn’t hear my own voice,” Weerts said. “It was absolutely nuts. It was insane. I was at the South Dakota State game during the regular season and it was a lot different this time. I couldn’t hear myself.”
The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Weerts comes from a highly successful high school program in Batavia. The Bulldogs won a Illinois Class 7A state title last year and came up short this year losing in the state semifinals and finishing 12-1. It ended a 17-game winning streak.
“I see lot of similarities in Batavia that I do in Fargo,” Weerts said. “The communities back our teams and there are a bunch of people that come out to the games. Batavia is a special place and I felt the same way in Fargo.”
Weerts said the plan for Wednesday is to fax his letter of intent to NDSU in the morning and then have a signing day social at noon in the school cafeteria. Batavia player Michael Jansey is signing with Northwestern.
Weerts said his final three choices were whittled to NDSU, Northern Illinois and Kansas State. He calls Klieman leaving for Kansas State “a little bit of a change” but said he’s fully committed with Matt Entz being named head coach.
Klieman will coach the Bison through Frisco. Entz, however, will handle NDSU’s signing day events.
That will officially end a long process for Weerts.
“It was all a blur at some point,” he said. “You go through summer, fall, winter … all the seasons .. and just feeling every place out. But overall I knew Fargo was the place for me.”
NDSU’s expected signing day class
Jaden Klabo, 6-5, 205, TE, Fargo Davies
Kaden Kuntz, 5-9, 155, WR, Dickinson
Dawson Weisenberger, 6-4, 220, TE, Fargo South
Terrell Hall, 5-11, 175, WR-DB, Winona
Logan Hofstedt, 6-1, 220, RB-LB, Cannon Falls
Eli Mostaert, 6-4, 235, DE-LB, Lakeville North
Will Mostaert, 6-4, 230, DL, Lakeville North
Hunter Poncius, 6-7, 255, OL, Buffalo
Brandon Westberg, 6-4, 290, OL, Cambridge-Isanti
Travis Yohnke, 6-5, 230, TE, Parkers Prairie
Dylan Hendricks, 6-3, 205, LB, Pulaski
Jacob Lippe, 6-2, 185, WR, Port Washington
Jacob Rock, 6-7, 255, OL, Kettle Moraine
Reed Ryan, 6-4, 210, DE, Waukanee
Luke Dwyer, 6-3, 200, OLB, Lake Zurich
Luke Weerts, 6-2, 230, LB, Batavia
Giancarlo Volpentesta, 6-0, 185, WR, Highland Park
Julian Wlodarczyk, 6-2, 190, S, Aurora
Anthony Coleman, 5-10, 170, DB, Johnston
Nicholas Kubitz, 6-2, 190, OLB, Dubuque
Hunter Brozio, 6-0, 210, LB, Victory Christian Academy
Jalen Bussey, 5-8, 155, RB, Tampa Catholic
Griffin Crosa, 6-2, 190, K, Dublin Scioto
Jaren Lewis, 6-1, 210, QB, Columbia Battle
Javier Derrit, 6-3, 270, DT, Overland Park St. Thomas Aquinas