Over the years, several great area football players have bypassed Dickinson State for other opportunities at different, sometimes bigger, schools. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it looks like a bad decision.
That, not to mention last week’s 35-7 loss to Carroll College, got me thinking. With the Blue Hawks’ inevitable move to the Frontier Conference, they are going to need to step up recruiting if they ever want to compete with — let alone beat — the Carroll’s of this world they’re venturing into.
While that means getting better players out of Montana, Wyoming and western South Dakota and California junior colleges — all talent pools the Blue Hawks have drawn from in the past — it also means DSU needs to start doing better recruiting right here at home.
Not only does that help on the field, but it gives the team more credibility among the community. Just look at the past few years: Derek Pauley, Luke Steiner, Seth Forster, Jimmy Smith, the Grosz brothers. All locals, all solid players.
With that in mind, below is a list of a area players who could help Dickinson State make the transition to the Frontier Conference, not to mention a few guys I wouldn’t mind watching play football for four more years. Keep in mind I didn’t include a lot of guys from the Bismarck area, though there are some standouts there. I tried to stick closer to home and feature players from Dickinson High, Class 2A’s West Region, Class 1A’s Region 4 and 9-man’s Region 4.
Redshirt ‘em, get ‘em on the field
Dylan Fridrich, LB/RB, Dickinson Trinity: One thing is clear from what I’ve seen out of Frontier Conference teams the past few years, and that is that their linebackers and tailbacks are outstanding athletes, many of whose talent really caught hold when they got to college. (I.E. Carroll running back Chase Demarais) Fridrich, a 6-2, 185-pound athlete, is being courted by a few schools from the tri-state area and said he most recently was contacted by Montana State. Though he has a history of injury and health problems, Fridrich would be a great in-town catch if the Blue Hawks can land him and keep him away from former rival University of Mary, where his older brother plays defensive line.
Tate Harris, Lineman, Killdeer: Harris is a guy tailor-made for the Blue Hawks. He’s 6-2, 250 pounds and a cowboy at heart. He’s the anchor of Killdeer’s line this season and, I’ve been told, would like to stay close to home. In a conference where you need big, tough lineman, Harris fits the mold nicely.
Landon Lechler, Tackle, Beach: It’s common knowledge that Lechler is being wooed by Football Championship Subdivision schools (Montana, Montana State, North Dakota State) and at 6-7, 240 pounds, it’s plain to see why. Lechler moves well, but could definitely use some good college coaching. The last player of his size to come out of this area and end up at a FCS school was a guy named Keith Buckman. Few thought he was going to make it at NDSU. He did OK.
Cameron Morman, RB, New Salem-Almont-Glen Ullin: Listed at 6-foot, 195 pounds, Morman is the kind of tailback that fits right into the Blue Hawks’ system. He’s strong, sturdy and explosive when he gets the opportunity. Heck, the kid is a state champion steer wrestler — which also happens to be why DSU and anybody else who wants Morman might not get him. There’s a good chance he forgoes college football to concentrate on rodeo.
Chad Mosbrucker, WR, Mott-Regent: Divide County co-head coach Nathan Nelson told The Dickinson Press in an interview that the 6-3, 180-pound Mott-Regent receiver could suit up for the Blue Hawks right now and no one would be the wiser. While I wouldn’t go that far, Mosbrucker is shattering former Blue Hawk receiver Clint Grosz’s Wildfire school records and has long made Mott-Regent quarterback McCahen Schweitzer look very good . He has outstanding hands and field awareness, but needs a redshirt year to get up to college speed and strength.
Jordan Strecker, FB/LB, Heart River: Among the Cougars’ stable of running backs, Strecker is the eldest and, in my opinion, the one who has the best chance to make an impact at the next level. Were he to choose DSU, there’s a good chance you’d see Strecker play on both sides of the ball — at least until they figured out where he fits best. He’s 6-2, 215 pounds and is a very good downhill runner. If Strecker adds a little muscle in college, which he undoubtedly will, he could make for a talented fullback in DSU’s system — something they have been lacking for a long, long time.
Good potential, could develop well
Andreas Holm RB-WR, Divide County: Holm is 6-2, 190 pounds and has grown up in a good football program. The Maroons don’t pass a whole heck of a lot, but when they do, they go to this guy. In the 9-man, Region 4 championship game victory over Central McLean on Friday night, he had 113 yards rushing and 151 receiving while scoring 2 TD. He has done much of the same all season.
Grady Houghton, RB/LB, Killdeer: Houghton was lost for the season with a knee injury a few weeks ago, and the Cowboys are missing the 6-2, 200-pound senior dearly — especially on defense. When I saw Houghton on the sidelines while covering Killdeer’s game against Heart River, he looked like a coach. Former DSU safety Phil Leck is the Cowboys’ assistant coach, so the Blue Hawks have an helping hand there. If Houghton comes back healthy and wants to play college football, I see him as a Jason Kraft-like linebacker.
Jamie Kuntz, LB, Dickinson High: Kuntz has been the motor for the Midgets this season. While not extremely big, Kuntz gets every last bit out of his 6-foot, 205-pound frame and has come up with some big hits throughout the season. He could develop nicely at a place like DSU, known for getting everything and more out of its linebackers.
Preston Tescher, QB, and Alex Herold, Lineman, Bismarck St. Mary’s: Tescher (6-1, 185 pounds) is a dual-threat quarterback with a good track record for the Saints and fits the style of QB that DSU likes. Herold had nine sacks last year but was injured in the Saints’ season opener. They proceeded to lose five straight without him (and a few others linemen, from what I’m told). He’s back now probably belongs in the top group.
Vance Volesky, LB, Dickinson High: Volesky is a guy who plays with a lot of heart. One of the few seniors on Dickinson High’s team, he does good things with his size (6-4, 215), but needs to get stronger and faster to have an impact at the next level.
Give ‘em a chance, see what happens
Jake Hardy, RB/LB, Beach: A month ago, I might have put the 6-foot, 190-pound Beach quarterback in the top list. But, a bad knee injury means his chances of playing college football are up in the air. Hardy would have to move to running back or linebacker at a place like DSU, but could fare well at either if his knee heels well.
Christian Olson, WR, Trinity: Olson is a skinny receiver at 6-3, 175 pounds. But, in the open field, he has outstanding speed and has proven over the past two seasons that he can go up and catch a pass with the best of them. Olson would need to live in the weight room for a couple seasons and stock up on protein powder. But if he did, he has a chance to contribute at the next level.
Austy Sadowsky, QB/DB, Killdeer: The 6-1, 180-pound Sadowsky is a smart athlete who would work well as a college defensive back. Plus, it’s easy to trust a program like Killdeer.
Juniors who will definitely play college ball
Brock Pittsley, Lineman, Killdeer: If I’m a college coach, I’m putting in lots of work to get this kid. The 6-1, 270-pound junior has, as one Heart River fan put it, “a neck like a Hereford bull.” He plays like a bull, too. He’s tough, gritty and plays with a lot of heart, as we all saw during the Region 7 basketball tournament last February.
Stetson Carr, QB, Hazen: He is a big reason why the Bison are undefeated and will take the No. 1 seed from Region 4 in the Class 1A playoffs. At 6-1, 185 pounds, he has decent size. His passing has been solid when he’s been called upon to do so, and he has proven he can move the chains with the ball in his hands — a trait Biesiot loves in his quarterbacks.
Seth Ewoniuk, RB, Heart River: He may be small, but guess what? So were about 1,000 other overlooked running backs from small towns. Chase Reynolds, anyone? While I’m not by any means comparing Ewoniuk to Reynolds, the 5-foot-8 sparkplug has done great things for the Cougars over the past two years thanks to great coaching from Dave Hendrickson, a former college coach.
Stephen Kristy, TE/LB, Hettinger-Scranton: He is 6-foot-3, 190 pounds and plays much bigger than that. Kristy has been one of his team’s top players since last season and likely isn’t done growing. I’m curious to see how big he gets and if he gets much stronger over the next year and a half. If he does, he’ll be a nice get for some North or South Dakota school.