North Dakota State University head football coach CRAIG BOHL announced the signing of 21 high school athletes to National Letters of Intent to play football and continue their education at NDSU. That announcement came today on the first day student-athletes are allowed to sign Letters of Intent. In addition, three high school athletes have been admitted to North Dakota State and are **recruited walk-ons to the program.
The list includes student-athletes from nine different states including North Dakota (2), South Dakota (2), Minnesota (5), Wisconsin (7), Nebraska (2), Illinois (1), Missouri (1), Kansas (1) and Florida (3).
There are 13 defensive players and 11 offensive players.
North Dakota State won the program's second straight NCAA Division I Football Championship with a 39-13 win over Sam Houston State on Jan. 5, 2013, in Frisco, Texas, and also claimed the program's second Missouri Valley Football Conference title. The Bison were 14-1 overall and 7-1 in MVFC.
Here are the bios of the new letter of intent signees:
NORTH DAKOTA (2)
JEFF ILLIES, TE/LB, 6-3, 195, Lidgerwood, N.D. (Lidgerwood H.S.)--Three-time all-state, all-region and all-conference performer for Wyndmere-Lidgerwood High School and head coach Scott Strenge ... Five-year letterwinner, four-year starter for the Warbirds ... Played on the 2010 state championship team and four region champions ... Played tight end, wide receiver, running back, defensive end, linebacker and punter ... Five-year starter on basketball court and is approaching the school's all-time scoring record ... Four-time all-district and all-conference basketball player ... Track and field standout that has placed in the state meet in the 110 and 300 hurdles, high jump and triple jump ... Holds school record in the triple jump ... Plays catcher and pitches on American Legion Baseball team ... Born April 21, 1995 ... Son of Gerry and Janice Illies ... Has two brothers, Brad and Kelly ... Kelly plays football at Valley City State ... Uncle, Ron Becker, played basketball at North Dakota (1972-76) ... Five uncles attended North Dakota State.
JESSE KUBIK, OT, 6-6, 290, Manning, N.D. (Dickinson Trinity H.S.)--All-state offensive lineman for Dickinson Trinity High School and legendary head coach Randy Gordon ... Two-time all-region and all-conference award winner ... Four-year starter at offensive tackle, center, defensive tackle and defensive end ... Earned co-Most Valuable Offensive Lineman at NDSU football camp ... Plays center on the basketball team, leading Dickinson Trinity to the Region 7 championship and fourth place showing at the state tournament ... Competed in the shot put in track and field ... Born August 12, 1994 ... Son of Klayton Kubik, Manning, N.D., and Devonna Kubik, Bismarck, N.D. ... Has four brothers, Lucas, Jacob, Jared and Jamie, and two sisters, Jenny and Amber ... Jacob currently attends NDSU, and Jared and Jenny have graduated.
SOUTH DAKOTA (2)
AUSTIN KUHNERT, OG, 6-4, 300, Sioux Falls, S.D. (Washington H.S.)--First-team all state offensive and defensive lineman for Washington High School and head coach Brian Hermanson ... Selected the 2012 Most Outstanding Lineman at state championship game ... Washington rolled up 42-4 record including a pair of state championships and a state runner-up finish during his career ... Named to the Argus Leader Elite 45, the all-city and all-Greater Dakota Conference teams ... Earned Coca-Cola Unsung Hero honors ... Competes in the shot put and discus in track and field ... Born August 31, 1995 ... Son of Brad Kuhnert, Sioux Falls and Amy DeVries, Sioux Falls ... Has two brothers, Evan Kuhnert and Jonah DeVries.
JARROD TUSZKA, DE, 6-3, 205, Warner, S.D., (Warner H.S.)-- Three-time all-state, all-region and all-conference performer for Warner High School and head coach Tom Kulesa ... Made 91 tackles including seven sacks in earning conference's Defensive MVP honor ... Rushed for 382 yards, caught passes for 382 yards and scored 15 TDs as a senior in leading Warner to a state runner-up finish in the school's first trip to the state playoffs ... Name to the Argus Leader Elite 45 ... Selected to play in the South Dakota All-Star game ... Played linebacker, tight end, wide receiver, running back, punter and placekicker ... Had 100 tackles including four sacks as a junior, while rolling up 809 rushing/receiving yards and seven TDs ... Three-time all-conference and two-time all-area basketball player ... Averaging 15.5 points and 8 rebounds as a senior ... Placed 5th in the 200 meter dash as a junior and 8th in the event as a sophomore ... Born October 11, 1994 ... Son of Mark and Stacy Tuszka ... Has one brother, Derrek ... Father played football at Minnesota-Duluth (1976-79) and had tryouts with the Baltimore Colts, Green Bay Packers and and Minnesota Vikings ... Grandfather, Rhody Tuszka, played football for Minnesota (1954-58).
JUSTIN AXELSON, TE, 6-4, 200, Spring Lake Park, Minn., (Spring Lake Park H.S.)-- Two-time all-North Suburban Conference tight end and defensive end for Spring Lake Park High School and head coach Jeff Schlieff ... Earned St. Paul Pioneer Press all-state honors as a senior ... Caught 18 passes for 245 yards and five TDs ... Made 75 tackles including 10 sacks ... Three-year starter ... Member of three conference (2010-12) and 2011 Section 5A championship teams ... Spring Lake Park compiled a 23-5 record over career ... Center on the basketball court ... Spring Lake Park achieved 23-5 record, were ranked 2nd in the state and were the Section 4AAAA runner-up ... Born February 26, 1995 ... Son of Wallace Axelson, Vadnais Heights, Minn., and Christine Axelson, Spring Lake Park, Minn. ... Father was All-American pitcher for Moorhead State and Spring Lake High School ... Has one brother, Joe, who plays baseball at Southwest State (Minn.).
**MIKE GOERGEN, LB, 6-1, 195, Adams, Minn. (Southland H.S.)--First-team all-conference performer for Southland High School and head coach Shawn Kennedy ... Four-year letterwinner and three-year starter ... Played running back, wide receiver, safety, outside linebacker and punter ... Tied school record for TDs in a game (5) ... Southland reached the Section 1A finals and had a 9-3 record ... Four-year starter on basketball court ... School's all-time scoring leader with over 1,000 points in career ... All-conference selection ... Outfielder for baseball team that advanced to 2012 state tournament ... Born May 30, 1994 ... Son of Dennis and Connie Goergen ... Has one brother, Joe, and one sister, Holly.
CHASE MORLOCK, RB, 6-0, 195, Moorhead, Minn., (Moorhead H.S.)--All-state running back and finalist for Minnesota's Mr. Football for Moorhead High School and former head coach Kevin Feeney, who was a former standout quarterback at North Dakota State ... Named to the 2012 Minnesota Vikings all-state team and Associated Press all-state second team ... Rushed 155 times for 1,820 yards and caught passes for an additional 406 yards ... Set school single-season records with 31 TDs, 2,226 total yards and 11.7 yards per carry average ... Finished prep career with over 5,000 yards and 100-plus tackles ... Played on two section championship teams ... Moorhead had 22-12 record in career, including 10-1 in 2012 ... Three-year starter ... Played running back, linebacker, safety and fullback ... Outstanding wrestler, winning the 2012 state championship at 182-pounds ... Has rolled up a school record 150 wins over six years on the mat ... Eagle Scout ... Three-time academic letterwinner ... Born September 29, 1994 ... Son of Paul and Jean Morlock ... Father wrestled for Concordia College (1982-86) ... Has two brothers, Brett and Lance, and one sister, Cassandra ... Six relatives have attended North Dakota State.
**BENNIE WILSON, FB, 5-10, 235, St. Michael, Minn. (St. Michael-Albertville H.S.)--Two-time all-conference player for St. Michael-Albertville High School and head coach Jared Essler, who was an CoSIDA Academic All-American at NDSU ... Three-year starter at fullback and defensive line ... All-star football nominee ... Academic all-conference selection ... Placed third in the 2010 state wrestling tournament ... Member of the Knights' state Class 3A runner-up team in 2012, earning all-state honors ... Versatile two-year letterwinner in track and field, competing in the shot put, long jump and 100 meter dash ... School record holder in the bench press (355-pounds) ... Born October 21, 1994 ... Son of Bennie and LaToya Wilson ... Has two brothers, Tre V'yon and Christopher, and one sister, Quarnesa ... Uncle, Anthony Scott, played football for Delta State.
ZACK ZIEMER, OT, 6-4, 285, Lakeville, Minn., (Lakeville North H.S.)--All-state offensive lineman for Lakeville North High School and head coach Brian Vossen ... Two-year starter ... Led Lakeville North to Class 6A state runner-up finish and 11-2 record in 2012 and Class 5A section title and 10-1 record in 2011 ... Named to the 2012 Associated Press all-State, American Family Insurance/USA Today all-Minnesota and Minnesapolis Star-Tribune all-Metro first teams ... Honorable mention on 2012 St. Paul Pioneer Press all-state team ... Two-time all-South Suburban Conference selection and member of a pair of conference championship teams ... Three-year letterwinner in lacrosse ... Played goalie and defense ... Born November 8, 1994 ... Son of Jim and Kristie Ziemer ... Has two brothers, Benjamin and Jeremy.
BRAD AMBROSIUS, DE, 6-5, 235, De Pere, Wis., (West De Pere H.S.)--All-state defensive end and tight end for West De Pere High School and head coach Bill Turnquist ... Two-time all-region, all-Green Bay area and all-conference performer ... Recorded 191 tackles, 19 passes defended, 15 sacks, 11 forced fumbles and two interceptions during career ... Member of the 2010 and 2011 state championship teams ... West De Pere was ranked No. 1 and rolled to 46-1 record during his prep career ... Three-year starter ... 2012 conference Defensive Player of the Year ... Honorable mention all-state in 2011 ... Part of defense that set single-season records for sacks, least points allowed and fewest rushing yards against ... Two-year starter on the basketball court, earning honorable mention all-conference in 2011 ... Born October 15, 1994 ... Son of David and Diana Ambrosius.
**DREW DAVIS, WR, 6-3, 200, Eau Claire, Wis. (Memorial H.S.)--First-team all-conference, all-city and all-West wide receiver and outside linebacker for Eau Claire Memorial High School and head coach Paul Kling ... Invited to play in the Wisconsin High School All-Star game ... Three-year starter ... Enjoyed record-breaking season with 82 receptions for 1,372 yards and 15 TDs as a senior ... Memorial made three straight playoff appearances ... Three-year starter at first base and outfield on baseball diamond ... Hit .350 with four home runs as a junior, earning honorable mention all-conference ... Born May 21, 1994 ... Son of Todd and Diann Davis ... Has one brother, Jake.
JAMES GATES, LB, 6-0, 200, Menomonie, Wis. (Menomonie H.S.)--Two-time all-state, all-region and all-conference all-state performer for Menomonie High School and head coach Joe Labuda ... Three-year letterwinner and two-year starter at tight end and outside linebacker ... Set a school record with 30 sacks ... Menomonie went 18-4 over his last seasons, winning conference title and reaching the state playoff semifinals in 2011 ... Three-year letterwinner and two-year starter in both basketball and baseball ... Born June 8, 1994 ... Son of Kelly and Sally Gates ... Has two sisters, Jennifer and Christine.
ALEX HAHN, LB, 6-1, 215, Oak Creek, Wis. (Oak Creek H.S.)--All-state and all-region outside linebacker for Oak Creek High School and head coach Mike Bartholomew ... First-team all-Southeastern Conference and earned SEC Defensive Player of the Year ... Recorded 57 tackles including 36 solos, five tackles for loss, four sacks, four forced fumbles, blocked four kicks and had three pass deflections as a senior ... Oak Creek won the SEC championshp and advanced to the state playoffs ... National powerlifter, qualifying for the Worlds competition ... Set new national deadlift record at 600 pounds ... Two-year letterwinner in track and field, competing in the long jump with a best effort of 21-feet, 3-inches in the event ... Born April 15, 1994 ... Son of Becky Rutherford ... Lives with his aunt and legal guardian Michelle Hahn and uncle Stephen Porter ... Has one sister, Alisha Fox.
NICK JACOBSEN, DT, 6-3, 275, Prescott, Wis. (Prescott H.S.)--All-state, all-region and all-conference performer on both the offensive and defensive line during his for Prescott High School and head coach Matt Smith ... 2012 Associated Press second-team defensive line pick ... Same high school as former Bison safety and NFL player Nick Schommer ... Recorded 86 tackles including 20 solos, five sacks, a forced fumble and fumble recovery during his senior year to earn Middle Border Conference Player of the Year honors ... Prescott advanced to the state playoff quarterfinals last season ... Named to 2012 St. Paul Pioneer Press team ... Earned all-conference second team placekicker honors ... Two-time all-conference second team selection on the basketball court as Prescott went 18-5 and won the regional championship in 2011-12 ... Three-year letterwinner in the shot put and discus, earning all-conference in 2012 ... ... Born January 10, 1995 ... Son of Curtis and Lisa Jacobsen ... Has one brother, Nate, and one sister, Courtney ... Two cousins attended North Dakota State.
GRANT MORGAN, DT, 6-4, 265, Oshkosh, Wis. (Oshkosh North H.S.)--All-Northwestern Area, all-region and all-conference performer for Oshkosh North High School and head coach Chris Kujawa ... Three-year starter ... Played defensive end, defensive tackle, offensive tackle and tight end for the Spartans ... Honorable mention on 2012 Wisconsin Football Coaches Association (WFCA) all-state team ... Led team to state playoff appearance ... Set school record in the 300 yard shuttle run (48-seconds) in his weight class ... Two-year letterwinner in the shot put and discus for Oshkosh North ... Born January 30, 1995 ... Son of Joel and Jennifer Morgan ... Has three sisters, Amanda, Allison and Annika.
NATHAN TANGUAY, DT, 6-4, 255, Mukwonago, Wis. (Mukwonago H.S.)--All-state, all-region and all-conference defensive lineman for Mukwonago High School and head coach Clay Iverson ... Selected the Classic 8 Conference Defensive Player of the Year after racking up 85 tackles including a school record 22 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks ... Led Mukwonago to second place conference finish and state playoff appearance ... Ranked fifth among defensive lineman by WHS Sports ... Three-year starter ... Played defensive end, tight end and long snapper ... Honorable mention all-state player on the basketball court, earning all-area and all-conference honors ... Two-year track and field letterwinner in the shot put ... Born October 4, 1994 ... Son of Brian and Dolly Tanguay ... Has two brothers, Josh and Nick.
NICK DELUCA, LB, 6-3, 240, Omaha, Neb. (Millard North H.S.)--Two-time first-team Class A all-state and Super State linebacker for Millard North High School and head coach Fred Petito ... Had 103 tackles including 81 solos, 13 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks in leading Millard North to the 2012 state championship and 13-0 record ... Member of the 11-2 state title team in 2010 ... Two-time all-conference and all-metro first team pick ... Three-year letterwinner, two-year starter who also played fullback and tight end ... Earned second team all-state honors at catcher for Millard North baseball team ... His former Little League football team named an award after him "The DeLuca" ... Born January 27, 1995 ... Son of Michael DeLuca, Omaha, Neb., and Chery DeLuca, Omaha, Neb.
TYLER WRICE, WR, 5-7, 160, Papillion, Neb. (Papillion LaVista H.S.)--Two-time all-district player for Papillion LaVista High School and head coach Jeff Govier ... Three-year starter at wide receiver and defensive back ... Also returned kicks ... Earned all-area honors as a senior ... Rolled up over 1,000 all-purpose yards in both 2011 and 2012, scoring 19 touchdowns ... Had three career interceptions ... Papillion LaVista advanced to the state playoffs three times including the semifinals in 2011 ... Honorable mention on all-state team twice ... Three-year letterwinner in track and field, competing in the 100 meter dash and on 400 meter relay team ... Born June 11, 1995 ... Son of Trampis and Jonna Wrice ... Has one brother, Jakon, and one sister, Brooklyn ... Father played cornerback for Nebraska (1992-95) ... Cousin, Antwan Blake, played football for the University of Texas-El Paso and is currently a cornerback with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
PIERRE GEE-TUCKER, LB, 6-0, 205, Belleville, Mo. (Belleville West H.S.)--All-state, all-metro and all-conference linebacker for Belleville West High School and head coach Cameron Pettus ... Selected the 2012 Metro East Player of the Year after recording 90 tackles including 19 tackles for loss and 10 sacks with nine passes defended, four fumble recoveries and two interceptions ... Scored twice on defense ... Sparked defense that ranked No. 1 in conference ... Named the Defensive MVP in the Illinois vs. Missouri All-Star game ... Earned St. Louis All-American honors ... Led Belleville West to playoff appearance ... Academic all-conference ... Four-year letterwinner in track and field ... All-conference performer in the discus ... Member of track and field team that ranked 23rd nationally and placed third at state meet ... Born September 21, 1994 ... Son of Pierre Tucker, Belleville, and Kim Crumer, Belleville ... Has two brothers, Lavante Smith and Carter Crumer ... Three sisters, Taylor Gonzalos, Piahje Tucker and Raena Crumer.
COLE DAVIS, QB, 6-3, 185, Kearney, Mo. (Kearney H.S.)-- All-district quarterback for Kearney High School and head coach Greg Jones ... Named to KKWK Radio All-Star team as a senior ... Passed for school record 347 yards vs. Park Hill (9-2-12) ... Three-year letterwinner and two-year starter with 15-7 record including a district and regional championship in 2011 ... Passed for 1,744 yards, 21 TDs and six interceptions as a senior ... Had 3,144 career passing yards with 34 TDs and seven interceptions ... Rushed for eight TDs ... All-conference second team pick in 2011 ... Three-year starter on baseball diamond, earning all-conference honors on league championship team in 2012 ... Four-year academic award winner with 3.9 GPA ... Born Sept. 13, 1994 ... Son of Mark and Christine Davis ... Has three brothers, Luke, Zack and Jess ... Father went to Nebraska on football scholarship, played baseball at NU from 1982-85 and played professional baseball in Minnesota Twins and St. Louis Cardinals organizations from 1985-88.
MATT PLANK, LB, 6-2, 215, Gardner, Kan. (Gardner Edgerton H.S.)--Two-time all-state linebacker for Gardner Edgerton High School and head coach Marvin Diener and Kris Henry ... Finalist for the 2012 Buck Buchanan Award ... Three-year starter ... Played middle linebacker, offensive tackle, tight end and running back during career ... Selected to play in the 2013 Kansas Shrine Bowl, East vs. West All-Star game ... Named the 2012 Eastern Kansas League Defensive Player of the Year ... Earned all-state honors from the Wichita Eagle and Topeka Capitol Journal as a junior and senior ... Two-time all-EKL first team selection, second team as sophomore ... Recorded 104 tackles including 66 solos, eight tackles for loss and six sacks with a pair of fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and an interception as a senior to lead Gardner Edgerton to the state playoff quarterfinals ... Member of three district championship teams, twice reaching the state playoff semifinals ... As a junior, credited with 127 tackles including 76 solos, 11 tackles for loss and seven sacks with three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and two interceptions ... Finished career with 319 tackles, 28 tackles for loss, 16 sacks, six fumble recoveries, six forced fumbles and three interceptions ... Two-year starter on basketball court ... Played guard, forward and center ... Member of 2010 state semifinalist basketball team ... Born October 25, 1994 ... Son of Jeffery Plank, Gardner, Kan., and Tania Plank, Olathe, Kan. ... Father played football for Coffeyville CC and Arkansas State ... Mother played basketball at Arkansas State ... Uncle, Greg Plank, played football for Kansas State.
CHRIS BOARD, DB, 6-0, 200, Orlando, Fla. (Timber Creek H.S.)--Second team all-state safety for Timber Creek High School and head coach Jim Buckridge ... Selected to all-metro and all-district first team after leading Wolves to 10-3 record and second round of the playoffs ... Finished senior year with 109 tackles including 97 solos ... Picked off four passes and had eight passes defended ... Born July 23, 1995 ... Son of Sherman Board, Orlando, Fla., and Torvia Young, Memphis, Tenn. ... Has two brothers, Elijah and Joshua ... Mother and father ran track at Southeast Missouri State.
LEO EUGENE DEMPSEY III (TRE), DB, 5-11, 165, Lakeland, Fla. (Lakeland H.S.)--Three-year starter at defensive back for Lakeland High School and head coach Bill Castle ... Finished with 70 tackles, 10 pass breakups and four interceptions in helping Lakeland to 9-2 record as a senior ... Played on defense that allowed 7.4 points per game in 2012 ... Selected to play in Central Florida All-Star East vs. West game ... Finished career with 160 tackles and six interceptions ... Born March 2, 1995 ... Son of Leo and Fel Dempsey.
CONNOR WENTZ, TE, 6-3, 240, Dunnellon, Fla. (Dunnellon H.S.)--Two-time all-county tight end for Dunnellon High School and head coach Frank Beasley ... Selected to play in the All-Star Florida vs. Georgia War of the Borders ... Four-year letterwinner and three-year starter for the Tigers, who claimed a pair of district championships ... Also played on defensive line ... Finished career with 38 receptions for 528 yards and four TDs ... Four-time academic all-county selection ... Four-year starter at pitcher and first base on baseball diamond ... Four-time all-county pick ... Hit .392 with a 1.62 earned run average as freshman, had .442 batting average and 2.17 ERA as a sophomore and hit .365 as a junior ... Dunnellon has reached the Final Four and claimed a pair of district baseball titles ... Born September 9, 1994 ... Son of Bruce and Angelia Wentz ... Has one brother, Jordan Stiehl ... Father played football at Jamestown (1981-85) ... Uncle, Doug Wentz, played football at Northern State ... Cousin, Zach Wentz, was a two-time Academic All-American in baseball at North Dakota State ... Cousin, Carson Wentz, will be a sophomore quarterback at NDSU.
**Student-athletes have been admitted to North Dakota State and are recruited walk-ons to the program.
Here are five additional **recruited walk-ons:
ISAIAH FRANDSEN, WR, 6-2, 195, Barron, Wis. (Barron H.S.)
DANIEL HAUGEN, FB, 6-2, 220, Argyle, Minn. (Stephen Argyle H.S.)
KEENAN HODENFIELD, DB, 5-11, 160, Ray, N.D. (Ray H.S.)
BRYCE MESSNER, OL, 6-3, 250, McVille, N.D. (Dakota Prairie H.S.)
JACOB PETERSON, RB, 5-9, 160, St. Cloud, Minn. (St. Cloud Tech)