Jeff Kolpack covers North Dakota State athletics, the Fargo Marathon and golf for The Forum. His blog can be accessed at www.bisonmedia.areavoices.com. On the radio, Kolpack & Izzo sports talk show runs from 9-11 a.m. every Saturday morning. April through August, the WDAY Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack runs from 8-9 a.m.
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FARGO—The North Dakota State football program made it official with 25 players on Wednesday, Feb. 1, the first day recruits can sign an NCAA letter of intent. That's 25 players who are expected to be on campus in August for the first day of practice. But whether most stick around for a few years is another matter. No head football coach in America stepped to the podium this week with a crystal ball to predict the future 100 percent. Still, the recruiting process can help the odds, said NDSU head coach Chris Klieman.
FARGO—This winter is go time for almost every former college football player who is trying to make an impression with NFL teams. Zack Johnson thought he may have hit the stop sign, only to find out it was more of a yield warning. The North Dakota State graduate tore a ligament in his knee two weeks ago during practice in the East-West Shrine Game, an injury he initially thought included the dreaded anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL. It turns out it was the medial collateral ligament, or MCL.
FARGO—The reason was pretty basic how Mike Gindorff enrolled at Concordia College to play football in the late 1980s. Former Cobber head coach Jim Christopherson was the only coach to pay the young kid from Crosby-Ironton (Minn.) High School any personal recruiting attention. He attended one of Gindorff's baseball games and was the lone coach to make an in-home visit.
FARGO—The check was big, both in its presentational stature and in the amount. The $4.3 million gift from the North Dakota State Team Makers booster club was presented to the athletic department at halftime. On the court, the rally was bigger in terms of putting a cap on NDSU's first run through the Summit League. Trailing by 13 in the second half, the Bison got on the back of senior center Dexter Werner and put enough pieces around him to take an 81-71 men's basketball victory over Oral Roberts before 4,353 fans at Scheels Center at Sanford Health Athletic Complex.
FARGO—North Dakota State is the Summit League leader in defense, allowing the fewest points per game of any of the nine teams. Moreover, in the last two games, the Bison have hit 29 of 47 3-point goals with guard Paul Miller on a 23-of-35 3-point shooting binge. The boys are hot. "I think the guys are playing with a tremendous amount of confidence," said NDSU head coach Dave Richman. "I said from the outset this is a team that has the potential to be better offensively."
FARGO — The North Dakota State 2017 football recruiting class will be unveiled in just under two weeks. For years, after all, the first Wednesday in February has been designated as National Signing Day, the first day recruits can make it official with their letter of intent. But if NCAA legislation continues to move through the proper channels, that may change next year. The NCAA Division I Council, in action taken this week, is recommending approval of a 72-hour mid-December signing date, as well as the February deadline for football.
FARGO — The business side of the National Football League hit former North Dakota State linebacker Kyle Emanuel this week when his San Diego Chargers announced they were moving the franchise to Los Angeles next season. For the fans, bitterness is sure to remain for years. For the players, the next several months will be a mixture of uncertainty and optimism. At least those are the early thoughts of Emanuel.
FARGO—Defensive rebounds were like scalding-hot potatoes for North Dakota State on Thursday night. Trying to get a handle on them looked frustrating at the least and almost next-to-impossible at the most. It was one of several stories within a story in the Summit League men's basketball game with Indiana Purdue-Indianapolis at Scheels Center at Sanford Health Athletic Complex. The most important, of course, was the final outcome and the Bison found another way to win. They actually outscored somebody.
FARGO—The basketball resume of Jared Samuelson is practically off the charts, from leading his high school basketball team to a Nebraska state title to being named the state's Mr. Basketball. The Division I basketball recruiters, however, thought otherwise. As North Dakota State head coach Dave Richman points out, Samuelson doesn't exactly pass the high-major eyeball test. "He's page 397 in the dictionary under 'Division I basketball player,'" Richman said.
FARGO—It appears you can cross North Dakota State head football coach Chris Klieman off the list of reported candidates to be the next head coach at the University of Minnesota. Klieman said Wednesday, Jan. 4, he has not been contacted by the Gophers. NDSU athletic director Matt Larsen also said nobody has contacted him about Klieman. Speculation heightened on Tuesday when ESPN named Klieman as a potential coach the Gophers may target to replace Tracy Claeys, who was fired Tuesday.