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Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum Communications Co. North Dakota State quarterback Brock Jensen, right, hands off to Sam Ojuri, left, during the fourth quarter in the FCS quarterfinals against Lehigh University on Saturday at Fargodome.

NDSU's playoff not benefiting it in recruiting

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FARGO -- The regular season ended on Nov. 19 and North Dakota State is still playing football. The Division I Football Championship Subdivision playoffs do have a buzz about it.

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One of them is not recruiting.

While other FCS coaches are on the road Monday through Friday visiting recruiting prospects, most of the Bison coaches are in their offices drawing up game plans and working toward Saturday's opponent, Georgia Southern.

"It's tough for a lot of different reasons," said Tim Polasek, NDSU's assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. "No. 1, I feel like we're losing a relationship you might have established because now other coaches are in there. Coaches are getting into the schools and getting to know these kids better and we're back here."

The perception that winning automatically draws in players is not always true, said head coach Craig Bohl. He only has to go back two years for the perfect example: the Bison finished 3-8, yet had one of their best recruiting classes ever.

NDSU has been able to schedule some recruiting visits at the Fargodome to coincide with the playoff games. Packed houses and a 12-1 record can never hurt.

Bohl said he's been on the road a little bit recruiting. NDSU's latest known offer is wide receiver Carey Woods from Bemidji, Minn., who has yet to make a decision.

"But we owe it to this program, to these seniors, to do everything we can to take this team as far as it can go," Bohl said. "We also owe it to this program so we're doing the best with the resources we have to keep winning and recruiting."

NDSU has seven known verbal commitments, the last of which was safety Bo Liekus of Bellevue, Neb., in late November. It's not any different from last year when the Bison had about seven verbals this time of the year.

The recruiting situation isn't quite as testy at Georgia Southern. Eagles head coach Jeff Monken said earlier this week that there is plenty of time in January to get necessary work done. He cites kids being on the bubble of major conference schools and that they wouldn't commit now anyway.

"I think having a successful program benefits recruiting more than anything," he said. "Having the opportunity to be in the playoffs and in the final four and national TV probably does more for us in recruiting than going into a high school or a kids' home.

"It's way more than a fair tradeoff being in the playoffs."

Kolpack is a sports reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead,

which is owned by

Forum Communications Co.

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