Bison hold on to recruiting class after a week of change
FARGO — North Dakota State named Matt Entz as the next Bison head football coach on Monday, Dec. 17, effective after the NCAA Division I FCS national title game Jan. 5 in Frisco, Texas. The reality is Entz had two days to prove himself.
It ultimately was his job to retain NDSU’s 25 verbal commitments for Wednesday’s first day of the NCAA early signing period.
“Personally, I took it as a challenge,” Entz said. He considered keeping the recruiting class together his first test as head coach.
His batting average was .960. The Bison signed 24 of the commitments and quickly quelled any sting of losing quarterback Jaren Lewis from Columbia, Mo., by signing Iowa State transfer quarterback Zeb Noland.
That includes holding off other schools who were trying to take advantage of Kansas State naming Chris Klieman its head coach last week. Klieman will return to Fargo on Thursday and coach the Bison through Frisco.
“It is unique when other schools are trying to get in the door or making phone calls,” Entz said. “I guess apparently they’re not comfortable with the kids they have committed so they have to come and try to find ours. It probably speaks volumes to quality of the kids we have who are committed here today.”
Bison defensive like coach Nick Goeser, speaking on 970 WDAY-AM radio on Wednesday morning, Dec. 19, said one unnamed Missouri Valley Football Conference school called one of NDSU’s verbal commitments every night for five straight days.
“When coaching change happens, there’s blood in the water,” Goeser said. “It’s been a hard week and we’ve had to battle but I’m telling you the assistant coaches and coach Entz have done a great job. Some kids have doubt in their minds, who is going to be their leader or who is going to be their assistant coach, but I give these kids credit, they stuck with us.”
That includes the two tight ends from Fargo. Fargo Davies’ Jaden Klabo and Fargo South’s Dawson Weisenberger both signed on Wednesday morning. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton defensive tackle Bryce Anderson will walk on.
Klabo is the nephew of former Bison standout Chuck Klabo, the niece of former Bison basketball player Leah Summerville (Klabo) and the grandson of Bison basketball great Brad Klabo.
“The Klabo name is familiar,” Entz said. “Chuck Klabo is a good friend of mine and it’s good to see the legacy.”
Jaden Klabo and Weisenberger join Dickinson Trinity speedster Kaden Kuntz as the North Dakota recruits. The Bison landed eight from Minnesota, four each from Wisconsin and Illinois, two from Iowa and one each from Florida, Kansas and Ohio.
Perhaps the position group strength of the class is linebacker, where NDSU signed Luke Dwyer from Lake Zurich, Ill., Luke Weerts from Batavia, Ill., Dylan Hendricks from Pulaski, Wis., and Nick Kubitz from Dubuque, Iowa. Weerts and Dwyer had multiple FBS offers and Hendricks was the Wisconsin Offensive Player of the Year, but will switch to defense.
The Bison also landed the Wisconsin Defensive Player of the Year in defensive end Reed Ryan from Waunakee High School. He had 80 tackles, 37 for lost yardage, and 18 quarterback sacks. He has more than 100 career wins in wrestling.
They got the Kansas Defensive Player of the Year in defensive tackle Javier Derritt from St. Thomas Aquinas High School of Overland Park, a team that went 13-0 and won a state title.
In Minnesota, offensive lineman Brandon Westberg from Cambridge-Isanti was one of eight “Mr. Football” finalists.
“Everyone knows the competition for Mr. Football,” Entz said. “It’s not very often an offensive lineman is listed as Mr. Football. It’s like an offensive or defensive lineman attending the Heisman ceremony.”
Twins Eli and Will Mostaert, both defensive linemen, led Lakeville North to an unbeaten state championship.
“Good luck in telling them apart,” Entz said. “I’ve figured it out a little bit.”
NDSU’s signing day class
Jaden Klabo, 6-5, 214, TE, Fargo Davies
Kaden Kuntz, 5-8, 155, WR, Dickinson Trinity
Dawson Weisenberger, 6-3, 216, TE, Fargo South
Bryce Anderson, 6-2, 246, DT, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton
Terrell Hall, 5-10, 187, CB, Winona
Logan Hofstedt, 6-0, 230, FB, Cannon Falls
Eli Mostaert, 6-2, 247, DE, Lakeville North
Will Mostaert, 6-2, 233, DL, Lakeville North
Hunter Poncius, 6-7, 247, OL, Buffalo
Brandon Westberg, 6-3, 260, OL, Cambridge-Isanti
Travis Yohnke, 6-3, 244, TE, Parkers Prairie
Dylan Hendricks, 6-2, 218, LB, Pulaski
Jacob Lippe, 6-2, 187, WR, Port Washington
Jacob Rock, 6-6, 249, OL, Kettle Moraine
Reed Ryan, 6-2, 227, DE, Waukanee
Lucas Dwyer, 6-2, 200, LB, Lake Zurich
Luke Weerts, 6-1, 227, LB, Batavia
Giancarlo Volpentesta, 6-0, 175, S, Highland Park
Julian Wlodarczyk, 6-2, 190, S, Aurora
Anthony Coleman, 5-9, 176, CB, Johnston
Nick Kubitz, 6-2, 197, LB, Dubuque
Jalen Bussey, 5-5, 150, RB, Tampa Catholic
Griffin Crosa, 6-0, 160, K-P, Dublin Scioto
Javier Derrit, 6-1, 292, DT, Overland Park St. Thomas Aquinas