Sioux set for signing day

GRAND FORKS -- A day after the University of North Dakota's overtime win at South Dakota in late November, Sioux football coaches hit the recruiting trail.

GRAND FORKS -- A day after the University of North Dakota's overtime win at South Dakota in late November, Sioux football coaches hit the recruiting trail.

The trail traveled by UND coaches has been long, one that has taken them to Florida, Texas and California -- the hot spots for all Division I programs. Sioux coaches have covered the usual trails in the Midwest, too.

When UND coach Chris Mussman announces his 2009 football recruits today, it's expected the majority of them again will be from the Midwest.

But the class also is expected to contain a handful of recruits from other parts of the country, which will become more of a common theme as UND continues to build its Division I FCS program.

UND has taken a low-key approach to its 2009 recruiting. Outside of what a handful of football recruiting Web sites have reported, not much information has leaked out of Memorial Stadium regarding the size and makeup of this year's recruiting class.


It's expected the class will contain approximately 20 high school seniors, who will sign their national letters of intent today.

Two of the recruits are believed to be from North Dakota -- Larimore's Karl Hager and Park River's Jay Jelinek.

The Sioux recruited Wisconsin hard, receiving at least five verbal commitments. They have at least five from Minnesota and a couple in Iowa.

UND has landed two California junior-college transfers who already are in school. Connor McKendry, an offensive lineman from Santa Ana College, and Matthew Moody, a linebacker from Cerritos College, will take part in spring drills.

Overall, UND coach Chris Mussman said it's been a fairly typical year on the recruiting trail.

"You have your ups and downs, days where you get beat up pretty good and days when things go your way and you get some momentum," Mussman said.

The class is expected to be heavy on offensive linemen and linebackers.

"The offensive line was a priority for us," Mussman said. "Hopefully, we've addressed that."


The Sioux lost three starters on the offensive line to graduation, including Mitch Braegelmann and Brian Troen -- fixtures on the line for four years.

In past years, the bulk of UND's recruiting basically was wrapped up a week or so before the national signing date.

However, a handful of recruits were on campus last weekend.

"That's something we hadn't done before," Mussman said.

UND's next order of business will be to complete its 2009 schedule.

The Sioux have nine games locked up and are close to signing a contract for a 10th game in November. But UND is having difficulty finding a replacement for Idaho State for the Potato Bowl on Sept. 12.

Idaho State recently exercised a $25,000 buyout clause in its contract with UND, leaving the Sioux looking for a new opponent for the 44th annual Potato Bowl.

The Grand Forks Herald and The Dickinson Press are both owned by Forum Communications Co.

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