FARGO — North Dakota State lost one senior standout offensive tackle for the Missouri Valley Football Conference spring season when Dillon Radunz announced he was going to begin training for the NFL. The Bison, however, are not going to lose the other.
Cordell Volson is coming back.
The NDSU right tackle said Tuesday he didn’t want to look back in 20 years and regret not playing out his senior year.
“It was kind of a tough decision but it really wasn’t,” Volson said. “I’m going to come back and play because this place has done so much for me and I want to continue to give back as much as I can.”
Radunz is projected as a high-round draft pick, which differs from Volson who is considered a late round or free agent-type guy. The fact Radunz is coming back for the lone fall game, Oct. 3 against Central Arkansas at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome, is a “testament to the type of guy and teammate he is,” Volson said.
“This game really doesn’t affect him and his future,” Volson said, “but he’s a Bison and wants to go out the right way and do it with the guys he came in with.”
It’s been an emotional up-and-down last month for the Bison offensive line. They began fall camp in early August with the intention of playing as much of a fall season as the COVID-19 pandemic would allow.
That was sliced when the Valley postponed its fall season to the spring. NDSU had hopes of landing at least three non-conference games, but that also got axed only to resume practice when the Central Arkansas game was announced.
The 6-foot-7, 313-pound Volson, from Balfour, N.D., is the younger brother of former Bison standout center Tanner Volson, who made the New York Giants practice squad last year. Cordell was a first team all-Missouri Valley pick last year in his first year as a starter.
He said the opportunity to put more games on videotape this spring and to continue to work with strength and conditioning coach Jim Kramer were other reasons for returning next spring.
“As a kid growing up, your biggest goal is to play in the NFL and that’s definitely a goal of mine,” Volson said. “But I figured why not spend more time with coach Kramer? He’s the best in the business. And I might as well be around my teammates, guys who are going to push each other every day. I figured the best place for me to develop is right here.”
He said he would be open to moving to left tackle after Radunz leaves if that’s something the coaching staff feels would be the right thing to do. It’s already been part of the conversation.
“But if they think it’s better to groom someone else at that position, then that’s what it’s about,” Volson said.
Volson returning means NDSU will have returning starters next spring at three of the five starting spots with senior center Karson Schoening and left guard Nash Jensen. A handful of players are in contention to move into the other two spots.
Volson, for one, said he’s looking forward to being that senior leader that guys like Zack Johnson and Landon Lechler were when he was a young player.
“Teach them the way we do things around here and keep this train rolling,” Volson said.