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UND football adds 21 on Signing Day - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

UND football adds 21 on Signing Day

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The University of North Dakota football roster grew by 21 on Wednesday as head coach Chris Mussman announced his 2012 signing class along with a trio of preferred walk-ons.

The addition of these players coupled with the team's three January enrollees will provide 24 new players for Mussman to incorporate into the program's first season in the Big Sky Conference.

Position Breakdown (including January enrollees)
Quarterbacks (3); fullbacks (1); running backs (1), offensive linemen (1); tight ends (2); fullback/tight ends (1); wide receivers (3); defensive backs (3); defensive ends (2); defensive linemen (2); linebackers (5).

State Breakdown (including January enrollees; based on hometowns)
Arizona (1); California (1); Illinois (5); Iowa (1); Minnesota (4); Montana (1); Nebraska (2); Nevada (1); North Carolina (1); North Dakota (4); Wisconsin (3).


2012 SIGNEE BIOS
RYAN BARTELS
QB, 6-4, 210
Sycamore, Ill. (Sycamore H.S.)
High School Coach: Joe Ryan

Football Honors and Statistics
HIGH SCHOOL:
Two-time Northern Illinois Big 12 All-Conference honoree and two-time Daily Chronicle All-Area selection ... First team member of All-State Academic Team ... Team Captain as a senior when he completed 65 percent of his passes and threw 14 touchdowns ... Selected to play in the East-West Shrine Game ... Racked up career totals of 955 yards rushing, 3,890 yards passing along with 23 rushing touchdowns and 34 passing scores.

Head Coach Chris Mussman on Bartels:
"Ryan's recruiting story was a little unique in that he actually took his official visit here during the season and had a chance to watch
our game against South Dakota. So, I think being at the Alerus Center for that game and seeing that atmosphere might have had an
impact on his decision. He's a tall quarterback who can make all the throws and we're really glad that he is joining our team this fall."

KEVIN BAYER
FB, 5-10, 245
Mokena, Ill. (Lincoln Way East H.S.)
High School Coach: Rob Zvonar

HIGH SCHOOL: Earned first team All-Southwest Suburban Conference and first team all-area honors as a senior ... Special mention all-state accolades ... Voted as team's Defensive Player of the Year, helping lead his team to a 10-1 record.

Head Coach Chris Mussman on Bayer:
"Kevin has the quintessential fullback body. On his highlight, film he made a lot of plays as a defensive end, so he is used to mixing it up on the line of scrimmage. I also liked the way he finished blocks when he was on the offensive side. He's a thumper."

RYAN CAIN
DB, 6-0, 190
Cedar Rapids, Iowa (Washington H.S.)
High School Coach: Tony Lombardi

HIGH SCHOOL: Earned All-Mississippi Valley Conference honors, all-metro and all-area honors as a senior ... Finished career with more than 160 career tackles, four interceptions and 30 pass breakups ... Earned his school's "Coaches Award" given to the senior who received votes in every category of leadership from his teammates ... As a junior, earned all-conference and all-metro honors.

Head Coach Chris Mussman on Cain
"We've got a couple of connections to Cedar Rapids Washington on our staff and the head coach there just kept telling us we would love the kid. And, sure enough when we got his senior film we were pretty high on him. We were not looking for the type of numbers in the secondary that we did last year, so we wanted to make sure the kids that we got would all be high quality and Ryan definitely fits that bill."

ALEC CARROTHERS
DE, 6-3, 240
Omaha, Neb. (Millard West H.S.)
High School Coach: Kirk Peterson

HIGH SCHOOL: Earned All-District IV honors and second team All-Metro Conference honors ... Named honorable mention Class A All-State as a senior ... Slotted to participate in the Nebraska Shrine Bowl ... Made 40 tackles with four sacks, 10 tackles for a loss and seven pass deflections in final prep season.

Head Coach Chris Mussman on Carrothers
"Alec's recruiting story is kind of unique in that we really did not start recruiting him until mid-December after we finally saw his senior film. I really think we got a steal with this young man. He is a big, physical player who moves very well. He is a high-character kid as well and I see him doing well here. I'm excited that he chose to come to UND."

DEVIN COYLE
DB, 5-11, 170
Mandan, N.D. (Mandan H.S.)
High School Coach: Pat O'Brien

HIGH SCHOOL: Named the 2011 Gatorade North Dakota Player of the Year and AAA State Senior Athlete of the Year ... Also named the 2011 AAA WDA Conference Senior Athlete of the Year ... Two-time Mandan Football MVP, two-time AAA all-state honoree and two-time WDA All-Conference selection ... Team Captain as senior ... Led the state in passing yards (1,525), touchdown passes (18) and total offense (1,949 yards) ... Three-time Academic All-State honoree.

Head Coach Chris Mussman on Coyle:
"Well, with Devin we are really looking at one of the most decorated players in the state of North Dakota. He has the potential to play multiple positions, but we will start him out on the defensive side of the ball as a safety. His production during his high school career was off the charts and in my experience those kids usually are high-producers in college as well. We're excited to have him."

MIKE EDWARDS
DL, 6-2, 290
Sun Prairie, Wis. (Sun Prairie H.S.)
High School Coach: Brian Kaminski

HIGH SCHOOL: Earned Wisconsin Football Coaches Association first team and Associated Press second team all-state honors along with All-Big Eight Conference first team honors as a senior ... Named Big Eight Conference Offensive Lineman of the Year ... Voted team MVP and selected to play in the Wisconsin All-Star Game ... Named a finalist for the Joe Thomas Award given annually to the state of Wisconsin's top offensive lineman ... Helped lead team to the state quarterfinals and a 9-3 record ... Team captain.

Head Coach Chris Mussman on Edwards
"Mike's recruiting story really illustrates the importance of camps in this whole process. We had the opportunity to work with him at one of our summer camps at the nose-guard position, which he did not play much of in high school as he was used primarily as an offensive lineman. We loved his athleticism and tenacity and offered him a scholarship at the conclusion of that camp. He committed early in the fall season. So again, you are seeing a kid who really wants to be here and that's important to us. We're glad to have him."

ANTHONY FLETCHER
WR, 6-3, 195
Goodyear, Ariz. (Desert Edge H.S.)
Hometown: Goodyear, Ariz.
High School Coach: Rich Wellbrock

HIGH SCHOOL:
Earned Arizona Football Coaches Association first team Division III all-state honors ... Named Division III Section III West Offensive Player of the Year ... Caught 49 passes for 1,004 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior ... Earned first team Skyline All-Conference honors as a junior and senior ... Finished junior campaign with 56 catches for 652 yards and six touchdowns.

Head Coach Chris Mussman on Fletcher
"Anthony is a big, fast receiver who has been highly productive at a good level of high school football. Like all of the receivers we signed this year, he is a little bigger than some of the receivers our fans have been used to watching us play with over the last couple of years. I think he has excellent potential and is the exact kind of kid we need to continue to recruit as we enter Big Sky competition."

DERRICK GOARD
LB, 6-0, 220
Flossmoor, Ill. (Homewood-Flossmoor H.S.)
High School Coach: Craig Buzea
Junior College Coach: Gary Thomas

BEFORE UND: Registered 39 tackles and a pair of sacks as a sophomore in junior college ... Returned an interception 92 yards for a touchdown against North Dakota School of Sciences.

Head Coach Chris Mussman on Goard:
"With the loss of our two senior linebackers in the middle, Derrick adds to our depth there. We were going to be a little thin at the spot, but we feel he can step into the rotation early and help us right away. We had a good relationship with his high school coaches and they vouched for his character and work ethic, that is really what sold us on him. He is going to bring that blue-collar linebacking mentality for us and fit that mold that we have seen at that position over the years here at UND."

KENNY GOLLADAY
WR, 6-4, 185
Chicago, Ill. (St. Rita of Cascia)
High School Coach: Todd Kuska

HIGH SCHOOL: Earned first team Blue Division All- Catholic League honors as a senior ... Caught 44 passes for 640 yards and nine touchdowns ... Led team to the Class 7A State Semifinals and a 10-3 record during his final prep season.

Head Coach Chris Mussman on Golladay
"Kenny was an under the radar recruit who had a breakout senior season. He's tall, has exceptional speed and really goes up and gets the ball. We feel very fortunate to have landed him."

DEVON HALL
DE, 6-3, 245
La Mirada, Calif. (La Mirada H.S.)
High School Coach: Mike Moschetti

HIGH SCHOOL: Earned first team All-Suburban League honors ... Voted Newcomer of the Year in the Suburban League as a senior ... Voted team's Defensive MVP after registering 55 tackles, five sacks, four forced fumbles and nine pass deflections in his final prep season ... Helped team post a 5-1 league record and 8-5 mark overall as a senior.

Head Coach Chris Mussman on Hall:
"Devon will be a good addition to our program. He is talented and has a really good upside for a kid who has not been playing football as long as a lot of the other players that we recruited. I was also really impressed by his demeanor when he came on the official visit. He is an impressive person and an impressive athlete."

BRADEN HANSON
QB, 6-6, 220
Charlotte, N.C. (Latin H.S.)
High School Coach: Larry McNulty
College Coach: Everett Withers

BEFORE UND: Saw action in six games in a reserve role for North Carolina as a redshirt junior ... Completed 9-of-16 passes for 185 yards on the season ... Went 7-for-13 for 86 yards in contest vs. North Carolina State ... Also played in three games as a redshirt freshman ... Named the Gatorade Player of the Year in North Carolina coming out of Charlotte's Latin High School in 2007 ... Played in the Under Armour All-American Game following his senior season in which he led Latin to its second straight North Carolina Independent School's state crown ... In his final two prep seasons, threw for 5,623 yards and 81 touchdowns.

Head Coach Chris Mussman on Hanson:
"We're excited to have Braden on board and to be able to work with him this spring. He is a big, tall, strong-armed kid. We are excited to see how he can help us next fall. He's a FBS transfer that wanted an opportunity to play and that was his biggest decision in transferring here. He's going to be in competition with the other guys we have in the program, but he has the chance to earn the starting job and that's what he wanted."

JOEL ISENBERGER
OL, 6-4, 285
Cottage Grove, Wis. (Monona Grove H.S.)
High School Coach: Michael Stassi

HIGH SCHOOL:
Earned first team All-Badger South Conference honors ... Named to the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association All-Region team ... Finalist for the Joe Thomas Award given annually to Wisconsin's top senior offensive lineman ... Led team to a 10-1 record ... Also earned first team All-Badger South Conference honors as a junior.

Head Coach Chris Mussman on Isenberger:
"He is definitely one of the bigger offensive lineman we have recruited over the past couple of years. He moves his feet well and I really like how he finishes his blocks. He plays nasty, which is how you want an O-lineman to play. He is another kid that I was really impressed with when he came up to see us on his official visit. He treated it like a job interview. He's going to be a good fit with our program."

DAN KONOWALSKI
DB, 5-11, 170
Brookfield, Wis. (Waukesha West H.S.)
High School Coach: Steve Rux

HIGH SCHOOL: Earned first team All-Big Eight Conference honors as a senior ... Team captain ... Voted defensive backfield MVP by his teammates ... Recorded 52 tackles, two interceptions, eight pass breakups and recovered two fumbles during his senior season ... Two-year starter that helped lead his team to a state title as a junior and a 10-1 record and league title as a senior.

Head coach Chris Mussman on Konowalski
"The first thing you notice about Dan when you watch him on film is that he is constantly around the football. He changes direction
exceptionally well, tackles well in the open field and finishes plays the way you would like to see them finished. He has good size for a
corner and we are really excited about getting him up here in our program."

BRIAN LABAT
LB, 6-2, 205
Detroit Lakes, Minn. (Detroit Lakes H.S.)
High School Coach: Flint Motschenbacher

HIGH SCHOOL: Earned first team Heart O'Lakes All-Conference honors as a senior ... Named the Heart O'Lakes Conference most valuable linebacker ... Also earned first team all-conference and all-section honors as a junior.

Head Coach Chris Mussman on Labat:
"Brian is another player from Detroit Lakes that we have been aware of for a long time. We've had a chance to watch him over the years at our camps and 7-on-7 tournaments. He has good size, good athleticism, and great intangibles. He's a high-character kid who likes to play football the old-fashioned way. We see him playing linebacker for us, but he is physical enough to also play fullback."

LUKE MATHEWSON
TE, 6-5, 235
Libertyville, Ill. (Libertyville H.S.)
High School Coach: Randy Kuceyeski

HIGH SCHOOL: Named first team All-North Suburban Conference and first team Daily Herald and Pioneer Press all-area ... Team captain as a senior and junior becoming first player in school history to hold that honor.

Head Coach Chris Mussman on Mathewson
"Tight end was a pretty important position for us this year, so I'm really glad that we were able to sign two. The thing that really stood out about Luke was his character. His father is a pastor and Luke is going to be a great addition not only to our program, but also to the Grand Forks community. On the football field he is relentless and can really run well for a player his size."

JOE MOLLBERG
QB, 6-2, 195
Detroit Lakes, Minn. (Detroit Lakes H.S.)
High School Coach: Flint Motschenbacher

HIGH SCHOOL: Named first team All-Heart O'Lakes Conference, first team all-section and honorable mention all-state as a senior ... Minnesota Vikings All-Star team honoree ... Team Captain as a senior ... Finished career as the all-time career passing leader at Detroit Lakes and and top five in scoring ... Earned first team all-section honors and honorable mention all-state honors as a junior.

Head Coach Chris Mussman on Mollberg:
"Joe is a kid that we have been recruiting for a long time. He is one of the top athletes in the state of Minnesota and we feel that he can come in here and really help our program. He is a very gifted athlete and we've had a lot of great kids come to us over the years out of Detroit Lakes. We couldn't be happier that he has chosen to attend the University of North Dakota."

TUCKER NORDBY
TE, 6-4, 245
Harvey, N.D. (Harvey H.S.)
High School Coach: Brad Sandy

HIGH SCHOOL: Named first team all-state and all-region as a senior ... Team Captain as a senior ... selected to the All-Minot Daily team ... Will participate in both the MonDak Bowl and the North Dakota Shrine Game ... Caught 16 passes for 350 yards and four touchdowns and added 61 tackles, one interception and two sacks on defense during senior season ... Named first team all-region and second team all-state as a junior.

Head Coach Chris Mussman on Nordby:
"We have had Tucker in our camps for the past couple of years and it was pretty evident after his sophomore year that he would be one of the top players in the state by the time he was a senior. He has the size and athleticism to play a couple of positions, but we see him being a tight end for us. He runs well and is a physical blocker at the point of attack."

ZACH OLIVER
WR, 6-3, 190
Omaha, Neb. (Harry A. Burke H.S.)
High School Coach: Paul Limongi

HIGH SCHOOL:
Earned first team Nebraska Super State and World Herald All-State honors as a senior ... Also named all-metro and the "Metro Receiver of the Year" ... Caught 52 passes for 989 yards and 11 touchdowns during final prep season, leading team to the state championship game.

Head Coach Chris Mussman on Oliver:
"Zach is another kid we had the chance to work with in person at our camps. We were looking for bigger receivers this year and Zach fits that mold at six-foot-three. I was really impressed when I watched his film on how he goes up to get the ball and how he finishes plays hard. He comes from an outstanding program in Omaha who were the state runner-ups and he will help our program as we enter the Big Sky."

TAJ RICH, JR.
LB, 6-2, 215
Minneapolis, Minn. (Robbinsdale Cooper H.S.)
High School Coach: Willie Howard

HIGH SCHOOL: Earned All-North Suburban Conference honors as a senior after leading team with 131 tackles ... Voted team defensive MVP ... Team captain as a senior ... Also led team in tackles as a junior with 120, including 10 tackles for a loss, en route to earning All-North Suburban Conference honors ... Earned All-Minneapolis honors as a sophomore.

Head Coach Chris Mussman on Rich:
"Taj is a kid who we offered after seeing his junior film. We are really looking for those lightning fast kids to play outside linebacker for us in our scheme and when we looked at Taj's junior film we saw everything we needed to see. He actually committed to us before his senior year even started, so that says a lot about his desire to be here and we're excited about having him."

JARED TUILAGI
LB, 6-2, 220
Henderson, Nev. (Liberty H.S.)
High School Coach: Rich Muraco

HIGH SCHOOL: Earned first team All-Southeast Division honors and was an All-Sunrise Region selection as both a linebacker and tight end ... Named second team All-Nevada as a tight end ... Team captain as a senior ... Voted Defensive MVP by his teammates after registering 63 tackles, three interceptions, eight sacks, six forced fumbles ... Added 11 receptions for 310 yards and five touchdowns on offense ... Led team to back-to-back Sunrise Region titles and was a four-year starter during his prep career.

Head Coach Chris Mussman on Tuilagi:
"Jared is a kid who we had been recruiting since he was a junior, but we did not get him on campus until the last weekend available. We were impressed by his quickness and physicality on defense and linebacker was a big point of emphasis in this year's recruiting class. He is another kid who is an outstanding student. I really liked the way he conducted himself on the official visit and we expect him to play a lot of football for us during his time here."

KODEE VARNER
RB, 6-0, 175
Baker, Mont. (Baker H.S.)
High School Coach: Dave Breitbach

HIGH SCHOOL: Earned first team Southern 3B All-Conference honors as a running back, defensive back and return specialist ... Also earned Class 3B all-state honors as a senior ... Named Team's MVP ... Team captain as a senior ... Invited to participate in the Montana Class B All-Star Game, the MonDak Bowl and the East-West Shrine Game ... Named first team All-Southern 3B Conference as a return specialist, second team All-Southern 3B Conference as a running back and was named his Team's Offensive MVP as a junior.

Head Coach Chris Mussman on Varner:
"Kodee is from the same hometown as our offensive coordinator (Greg Breitbach). So, we had an inside scoop on recruiting him. He is a kid that does a lot of things well on film. Also, I really like small town kids that play multiple sports and Kodee fits that mold. I feel like those kids improve the most when they come to college and play one sport and lift weights year-round. We are not sure whether Kodee is going to play running back or safety, but he definitely has the ability to do both."

TANNER VESLEDAHL
6-3, 225, TE/FB
Mott, N.D. (Mott Regent H.S.)
High School Coach: Ron Benson

HIGH SCHOOL: Earned first team WRC All-Conference and first team 9-Man all-state honors as a senior ... Voted team's Defensive MVP after registering 153 tackles ... Offensively, rushed for 588 yards and nine touchdowns and also added 508 receiving yards ... As a junior, named first team all-conference, all-region and voted team's Special Teams MVP.

Head Coach Chris Mussman on Vesledahl:
"Tanner is another big body type that you just cannot find enough of. He has committed to walking on here and it's important to me that we get as many North Dakota kids as we can. I believe that they are the heart of our program. We will start him on the offensive side of the football either at tight end or possibly fullback."

JAKE WATSON
LB, 6-2, 200
Mandan, N.D. (Mandan H.S.)
High School Coach: Pat O'Brien

HIGH SCHOOL: Earned all-region and AAA all-state honors ... Voted Defensive MVP by his teammates ... Team captain as a senior ... Registered 90 tackles, two sacks, one interception and added 12 receptions for 277 yards and four touchdowns.

Head Coach Chris Mussman on Watson:
"Jake really impressed our linebackers' coach at our camp this past summer. He is one of the top football players in the state and he has the right frame to play linebacker for us. We have had a lot of good players come from Mandan over the years, so we are glad to have another one joining our program this fall. I expect him to do well here."

E.J. WELCH
DL, 6-2, 285
Biwabik, Minn. (Mesabi East H.S./Mesabi Range C.C.)
High School Coach: Steve Grams
Junior College Coach: Dan Lind

BEFORE UND: Earned NJCAA honorable mention All-America honors as a sophomore ... Registered 62 tackles, including 36 solo stops and six sacks last season ... As a freshman, posted 29 tackles and four more sacks ... Also recovered four fumbles.

Head Coach Chris Mussman on Welch:
"E.J. will add an immediate presence for us along the defensive line. He can play either the end or nose tackle spot and that was an important piece for us. We needed to address the depth at that spot. He is an explosive kid and relatively local, having growing up on the Iron Range, so we are really excited for him to be a part of the program."

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