FARGO - The first of June was celebrated not only because it's the beginning of what is a brief summer season in Fargo, but it also was a return to some normalcy in college football.
Monday ended the "dead period" in Division I college football recruiting, which has been the norm since March of 2020. College campuses have been closed off to recruits and coaches prohibited from going to watch games. That all ended Monday, which according to some, will signal the busiest June in college football history.
"I know it's going to be extremely busy. I look at our calendar and there's not a whole lot of room for anything else." Bison head coach Matt Entz said. "There's going to be a lot of evaluation going on it's part of the process, but this is a lot better than March 2020."
Entz said that NDSU was hosting 12 players on campus Monday. That signals the first time the Bison or any other college football team has been able to do that since March of 2020 when the NCAA instituted a mandatory dead period for recruiting. No on campus visits or attending games. All recruiting became virtual, which led to NDSU and all teams filling out their classes for 2021 on Zoom.
But that also led to no coaches seeing any upcoming seniors play in actual games this past fall in person. To coincide with no camps and no visits, it leads to plenty of questions.
"For the 12 guys we have campus today (Monday) this would be the fourth or fifth visit and they would be ramping up for decision making time at the end of June. A lot of these young men have been on campus before but just couldn't have anything to do with football. Athletic departments were in a dead period." Entz said.
NDSU has usually racked up commitments right after its three day camp in late June. Those are scheduled for June 18th-20th and the 25th thru the 27th. Currently the Bison do not have any commitments for the Class of 2022.
"We're trying to push all of our top recruits to come to camp because we want to see competition. Being out there in t-shirts and shorts is fine, but I want to know leadership and fit and it's not able to attain that in a one-hour visit."
The Bison have three transfers that are set to officially join the roster this summer. Tight end Gabe Lloyd from Wisconsin, running back Temerik Williams from SMU and San Diego offensive lineman Luke LaCilento. Entz says the transfer portal requires constant attention.
"We put the same amount of time to recruit these transfers as a high school kid. We were very strategic on how we go about offering kids."
KLABO, RADUNZ LEAVE TEAM
Two players with familiar last names are no longer part of the Bison football team. Tight end Jaden Klabo and offensive lineman Nick Radunz each have departed because of personal reasons. Radunz tweeted out "having the opportunity to play at NDSU has been a blessing. I not only wish the absolute best for the program but also every player, coach, and fan."
I will be stepping away from NDSU and entering the transfer portal. Having the opportunity to play at NDSU has been a blessing. I not only wish the absolute best for the program but also every player, coach, and fan. I am excited for what God has planned for me.— Nick Radunz (@Nick_Radunz) June 1, 2021
Radunz dressed for the Central Arkansas game in October but did not see playing time. Klabo did not play in the spring and played in two games in his true freshman season of 2019 against Western Illinois and South Dakota.
The entire Bison football roster is back in Fargo beginning on Monday. The incoming Class of 2021 will be in Fargo on June 13th to begin summer workouts according to Entz. Entz added that freshman runninbg back Dominic Gonnella will be back in Fargo shortly after July 4th. Gonnella left right after the spring football season to go play minor league baseball in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization.
Entz added that freshman offensive lineman Grey Zabel should be ready for the start of fall camp. Zabel suffered a serious leg injury in the regular season finale against South Dakota State and missed the two playoff games. Entz compared the Zabel injury to a similar injury that tight end Josh Babicz suffered in spring football in 2018.