Having a chip on your shoulder is nothing new in the FCS ranks, but last month North Dakota had to go out and rent extra shoulders to place chips on … because frankly, this program is boiling mad.
As it should be.
It had the strongest case of any FCS school that was left home from the postseason. It was 7-4, played its football in the prestigious Big Sky Conference–and beat FBS Wyoming and a stellar Portland State team. Let’s face it, UND is better than at least a handful of the FBS schools playing in Bowl Games this postseason … but it was left home in the FCS. The program also has a chip on its shoulder because its in-state rival North Dakota State gets a ton of press–a rarity for any school in the FCS. The Bison have hosted ESPN GameDay twice in the past three years, and has won four straight national titles. The thing is … UND is getting pretty darned good too. It has improved step-by-step since moving up in 2011 from Division II–where it won a national championship and a ton of games.
There’s just chips everywhere, who are we kidding? Big-time athlete Evan Holm chimed in.
“When I saw that even with 7 wins and a FBS victory that UND didn’t get in, I was shocked,” Holm told HERO Sports on Monday. “But I know UND will be even better in the future, especially with the addition of the 2016 class.”
FCS recruits tend to have a chip on their shoulders anyway–because they’ve been overlooked by the ‘big boys’. The Fighting Hawks (the new nickname since it was changed from Fighting Sioux) recruit mainly in Big Ten territory–and most of their recruits and the majority their current roster were blown off by the Big Ten. Minnesota and Wisconsin are the big hotbeds.
That’s right, this group can’t wait to help ‘right’ the ‘wrong’.
This current 2016 recruiting class–which added stud offensive lineman Ryan Tobin (6-4/280) of Muskego, Wis. over the weekend–is ready to fight, thus the adjective at the beginning of the nickname. The class is 14 strong and counting. Players like Holm, WR Jake Geier, OL Bennett Helgren and WR Travis Toivonen get a tiny bit of love from the recruiting services, but it still leaves this group hungry.
“I think that so far this has been a great class for UND football,” RB commit and Wisconsin native Isaiah Secrest told HERO Sports. “I feel like we will all care about the success of UND football and will jump at the opportunity to help out in any way. In terms of what I think UND will do in the upcoming years, I think that we will start to form into a great football team that continuously improves and hopefully can win a national championship by the time I’m out of there.”
Secrest likes what he sees in his future blockers, too. Tobin and Helgren are big dudes.
“I met Tobin this past weekend on our official visit and we really got along,” Secrest added. “It’s always a good thing when you’ are able to land a recruit of Tobin’s size and skill level, and I feel he is going to be a great player like all of us can be so long as the work is put in.”
Here’s a look at Secrest’s and Tobin’s future classmates at North Dakota, the recruiting class of 2016 (A HUGE THANK YOU TO SIOUX FOOTBALL INSIDER FOR AN UPDATED LIST …. SOMETHING THE RECRUITING SERVICES APPARENTLY CAN’T DO!)
|WR||Jordan Canady||New Berlin, Wis.||6’2″||175|
|DB||Jeremy Chinn||Fishers, Ind.||6’2″||180|
|TE||Alex Cloyd||Omaha, Neb.||6’4″||230|
|WR||Jake Geier||Andover, Minn.||6’2″||200|
|OL||Bennett Helgren||Edina, Minn.||6’6″||285|
|ATH||Evan Holm||Edina, Minn.||5’11”||170|
|LB||Cameron Hunt||Carmel, Ind.||6’2″||215|
|TE||Noah Mortel||Luck, Wis.||6’6″||248|
|LB||Dijon Murray||Roswell, N.M.||6’0″||225|
|TE||Hunter Pinke||Wishek, N.D.||6’5″||225|
|DB||Tim Ryan||Huntley, Ill.||6’0″||190|
|RB||Isaiah Secrest||Rice Lake, Wis.||5’10”||185|
|OL||Ryan Tobin||Muskego, Wis.||6’4″||280|
|WR||Travis Toivonen||Red Wing, Minn.||6’3″||200|