FARGO — Luke LaCilento said an opposing player in the Pioneer Football League told him to choose North Dakota State as his next college destination.
"We were playing Presbyterian and a guy on their team says, 'Hey, 73, I see you got an offer from NDSU. You gotta go there,'" LaCilento said. "NDSU has quite the reputation."
That was LaCilento's uniform number at the University of San Diego, where he played three years.
The offensive lineman took the Presbyterian player's advice and will, indeed, play his final two seasons for the Bison. The graduate transfer announced his commitment to NDSU on Twitter on Tuesday, May 4.
He is the fourth transfer to commit to NDSU for the fall of 2021. LaCilento joins running back TaMerik Williams (Southern Methodist), quarterback Quincy Patterson III (Virginia Tech) and tight end Gabe Lloyd (Wisconsin).
"Why NDSU? Because of the way they treat their linemen," said LaCilento, a 6-foot-3, 305-pound guard who can also play center. "It's a winning program just like USD. They also run an offense similar to USD, so I feel like I'm familiar with it and I can get up there in June and get to work at earning some PT (playing time)."
LaCilento had about 35 offers from Football Bowl Subdivision and Football Championship Subdivision schools. He had late offers from Group of Five FBS programs Texas State, Louisiana-Monroe, Appalachian State and Charlotte.
NDSU offered in March and LaCilento and his family paid for a trip to Fargo for the Bison's playoff game against Eastern Washington in late April so they could see the Fargodome and NDSU's campus. He was accepted into the school's MBA program.
"That was exciting. When I talked to (offensive line) Coach (Dan) Larson, he told me they call the offensive line 'the Rams.' I don't know many college football programs that have nicknames for their offensive lines," LaCilento said. "They treat their linemen well. That's pretty cool."
NDSU and San Diego have a playoff history. The teams played at the Fargodome in 2016 and 2017, both comfortable Bison victories. LaCilento's first year with the Toreros was 2018, when he played in five games as a true freshman.
"I have a lot of friends who played in those games. They would tell me, 'You have to go there, you have to go there. It's awesome,'" LaCilento said.
The Corona, Calif., native started 12 games for the Toreros as a sophomore in 2019 and played five games this spring.