Moody still a redshirt, but ready if neededFARGO — Those late nights studying the North Dakota State playbook may pay off for Nate Moody, sooner than expected. The receiver from Dickinson is in position to become a rarity in the Bison football program: a walkon playing as a true freshman.
By: Jeff Kolpack, Forum Communications Co.
FARGO — Those late nights studying the North Dakota State playbook may pay off for Nate Moody, sooner than expected. The receiver from Dickinson is in position to become a rarity in the Bison football program: a walkon playing as a true freshman.
It’s never happened in at least this decade and it’s possible it may not have happened in the 1990s, either.
“I’d love to get a shot,” Moody said.
The current plan is to redshirt him, said receivers coach Kenni Burns. Yet, Moody has been told to be ready to play in case of an injury or a player not performing well, Burns said.
And if that were the case, making it even more of an oddity is the entire freshman class, scholarship or walkon, may be redshirted. But depth isn’t a luxury at receiver, especially this week when junior Reed Duchscher — a starter coming out of spring practice — quit the team.
The top five are senior Warren Holloway, sophomores Ryan Smith and Cooper Wahlo and redshirt freshmen Zach Vraa and Trevor Gebhart.
“It would be good to have another body ready,” Burns said. “He has great hands and it seems like he understands the game really well.”
It wasn’t easy understanding the playbook. Moody and his roommate, fellow freshman walkon receiver Brandon Chrest from Cavalier, spent some late nights quizzing each other on the plays. It was a trying three weeks for Moody, who admitted to being overwhelmed at times.
“Mentally, it was hard and demanding,” Moody said. “Just the lack of sleep. Early mornings and late nights and meetings all day. It’s good to see how far you can push yourself.”
The 6-foot-1, 184-pound Moody, the son of former Dickinson State head volleyball coach and NAIA Hall of Fame member Dave Moody, was an all-state player at Dickinson High. He had 42 receptions for 654 yards and 11 touchdowns.
He impressed the Bison coaches with his performance at the team’s summer camp. Burns said NDSU considered a scholarship offer, but didn’t pull the trigger.
“But if he keeps along this pace he’ll be a scholarship player before we know it,” Burns said.
Moody had no scholarship offers from NCAA Division II schools and the only other real opportunities were a walkon invitation at South Dakota State or a scholarship at Dickinson State.
“I wanted to play Division I football,” Moody said.
Kolpack is a sports reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.