FARGO — Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy announced in early October that North Dakota State offensive tackle Dillon Radunz was the first player invited to the well-known college all-star game for top NFL prospects.
Nagy recently talked with Bison head coach Matt Entz and offensive line coach AJ Blazek about Radunz and his strengths as a player. The video was posted on the “Senior Bowl Web Content” YouTube channel.
“Watching tape over the summer looking at this 2021 class, he was head and shoulders when it comes to the finish and the toughness and just wearing on guys, like he was way up there,” Nagy said of evaluating Radunz.
The Senior Bowl is scheduled for Jan. 30 in Mobile, Ala. Former Bison quarterback Carson Wentz also played in the Senior Bowl and that helped him get selected No. 2 overall by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Radunz is hoping to become the next NDSU offensive lineman to earn a spot with an NFL team. Former Bison offensive tackle Billy Turner is a starting guard for the Green Bay Packers, while former NDSU offensive tackle Joe Haeg plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“We saw this young man was going to be the next in a long line of really good offensive linemen that have come through NDSU,” Entz said.
The 6-foot-6, 299-pound Radunz, from Becker, Minn., made 32 consecutive starts for the Bison at left tackle, including against Central Arkansas on Oct. 3, his final game at NDSU. NDSU was 32-0 during that stretch.
The All-American anchored the Bison offensive line during the 2018 and 2019 seasons that both ended with NCAA Division I FCS national championships.
“He’s going to be able to run, he has the height, has the length, but the thing he has is from the shoulders up,” Entz said. “Unbelievably intelligent young man.”
Blazek, who coached at Rutgers prior to NDSU, was asked to compare Radunz to former Rutgers and Ohio State offensive lineman Jonah Jackson, who now starts for the Detroit Lions. Blazek coached Jackson at Rutgers.
“I think the biggest thing, both guys, are guys that are very passionate players. They’re big-time practice players. They don’t miss practice, they don’t get sore, they don’t miss reps,” Blazek said. “Both of those guys live football. It’s what their daily routine is built around. … There’s a reason that they’re really successful, they both detail the heck out of their game.”
Entz was the Bison defensive coordinator when Radunz entered the program. Radunz was initially recruited to NDSU as a defensive lineman.
“I saw a big, long athlete that I thought could be a really, really good 3-technique (defensive tackle) for us,” Entz said. “It just worked out that he became (an offensive) tackle for us.”
Nagy said he was impressed with how Radunz finished off plays and continued to block downfield. Blazek said Radunz strived to improve that part of his game throughout his college career.
“As he got older, he knew that was something that he had to hang his hat on and really check the boxes,” Blazek said. “He wanted to take all the doubt out of their mind.”
Entz said the Bison run offensive schemes that are similar to concepts used in the NFL. He thinks that will also help Radunz make the transition to the pro game. Last May, Nagy tweeted out that Radunz was a legitimate top-100 prospect for the upcoming NFL Draft.
“Watching NDSU tape is great because it’s such apples to apples,” Nagy said of the Bison using NFL offensive concepts and schemes. “It makes for a really easy comparison for us.”
Nagy told Entz near the end of the video: “We love getting your guys, we know what we’re getting, we know the league likes them, too.”