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North Dakota State Bison Nate Moody to end college career with chance at fifth FCS title

Nate Moody hasn't done the things he's set out to do in his college football career.The North Dakota State senior and Dickinson High School graduate feels like, though he's been a part of four FCS championship teams, there's still more he could h...

C.J. Smith of North Dakota State carries the Dakota Marker after the defeat of South Dakota State in their football game Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, in Brookings, S.D.Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
Nate Moody of North Dakota State pulls in a long pass early in the second quarter against South Dakota State during their football game Oct. 3 in Brookings, S.D. (FNS Photo by Michael Vosburg)

Nate Moody hasn’t done the things he’s set out to do in his college football career.
The North Dakota State senior and Dickinson High School graduate feels like, though he’s been a part of four FCS championship teams, there’s still more he could have done - more potential for him to show.
Moody will have one more shot at meeting that potential when No. 3-seeded NDSU takes on the University of Montana at 1:30 p.m. today in the second round of the FCS playoffs at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome.
“I know it’s going to end here,” Moody said of this season. “I really have no idea what it’s going to be like afterwards.”
Moody, a wide receiver, has caught 37 passes for 373 yards and two touchdowns in his career.
“That’s probably the one thing that’s going to bug me in time after football,” Moody said. “I know I didn’t accomplish as much on the field as I could have and I have the potential to.”
But according to teammates and coaches, he’s done plenty for the Bison (9-2) since he arrived in Fargo in 2011.
In fact, through his dedication in offseasons and practices, Moody has earned the reputation of one of the hardest workers at NDSU.

“He works extremely hard on his craft every day,” Bison head coach Chris Klieman said. “He’s just one of those typical blue-collar, North Dakota kids for us who has had a very productive year.”
In his senior season, Moody has caught six passes for 89 yards, including a 30-yard reception in a 28-7 win over South Dakota State, when he had 44 receiving yards on the day, second on the team only to fellow senior Zach Vraa’s 51.
“He’s been a big part of our offense and an excellent wide receiver who probably doesn’t get the notoriety with a lot of the catches that Vraa or RJ (Urzendowski) does,” Klieman said. “He does good things blocking and making third-down catches for us. He’s had a really productive year, and I’m glad he’s been able to finish his career after having a knee injury the year before.”
That knee injury kept Moody from playing most of last season. Though he contemplated turning in his jersey for good, Moody applied for a medical hardship and earned another year of eligibility.
The most challenging part of recovery, Moody said, was mentally rebounding from his knee procedure last season and having to rehabilitate from the same injury twice.
But his work ethic shined through in his path back to the field - a work ethic, he said, that was established since his days playing football in Dickinson as a youth.
“I’ve just been trying to make the most out of the times I’ve been on the field,” Moody said. “I have in some instances and haven’t in others, but I’m really excited I came back and got to spend this time with my friends and the guys I came in with. That’s been the best part of it.”
Senior presence
Klieman said Moody has been fairly vital in bringing along younger wide receivers.
“He and Zach Vraa, being seniors to help RJ, Darrius Shepherd and all those young guys who just continue to grow in our system and learn more about our system, and conduct yourself on and off the field the Bison way,” Klieman said. “He’s been very instrumental in helping those young guys’ development.”
That stability has come in handy, as NDSU went through a quarterback transition midseason when senior Carson Wentz suffered a wrist injury and the Bison turned to redshirt freshman Easton Stick.
Junior Bison wide receiver Eric Perkins, who rooms with Moody during road trips, said Moody has been a big help to himself and other youngsters.
“He’s always staying positive,” Perkins said. “Me being a walk-on, he’s really helped me come along and know that you’ve got to work harder than everybody else to get where you want to be.”
When on those road trips, Perkins and Moody find themselves doing homework in the hotels just about every time.
Moody received the Missouri Valley Football Conference Academic Excellence Award in 2013 and made the MVFC honor roll each season from 2011-14.
A hard worker in practice, a leader on the field and a laidback guy off, Perkins said he has only one complaint about Moody.
He snores - a lot.
But that’s something Perkins can work through.
“People like Nate are good for football teams and keep everybody together,” Perkins said. “Nate’s a good guy and everybody likes him. It’s good having guys like Nate on the team.”
Life after football
Whether NDSU wins a fifth consecutive FCS title or loses to Montana in its playoff opener today, Moody knows it will be a major life transition when he’s done with college football.
After all, he’s played with his class all of his adult life.
“A lot of these guys I’m going to go out with here are some of my best friends,” Moody said. “I don’t see that ending when we graduate.”
Moody will graduate with a double major in finance and economics this month and has applied for jobs already. He is also strongly considering graduate school for economics as well.
“I know I have a place in some area,” Moody said. “If I wasn’t looking at a couple jobs or didn’t have grad school in line, then yeah, I can see where it gets nerve-racking. But I know I have a place here.”
One thing he could certainly squeeze into his resume is four-time champion. But employers might not take that seriously. If he adds “work ethic” under his strengths, he has references.
Moody, however, said that hard work has him exhausted. If he had to the opportunity to play college football all over again, he said there’s no way he would do it.
Still, he doesn’t regret any choices along the way.
“Once you’re in the grind, it’s a different story,” Moody said. “But I couldn’t have made a better decision.”

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