FARGO — Hatton-Northwood (N.D.) Thunder senior-to-be Kelby Azure travels around 200 miles round trip a few times a week for offseason workouts. That’s been part of his routine the past few summers.

That dedication was rewarded with multiple NCAA Division I offers for football, including one from North Dakota State. Azure committed to the Bison on Tuesday, July 6.

“The coaching staff and the culture they have there and it’s close to home as well, so family,” Azure said were the main reasons for his decision. “I feel more like a person there rather than just a number going in.”

The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Azure also had FCS offers from the University of North Dakota and Dartmouth. He had an FBS offer from Army. UND is a Missouri Valley Football Conference member along with NDSU. Dartmouth is an Ivy League member.

“It’s definitely a relief off my shoulders,” Azure said. “I feel good now.”

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Hatton-Northwood's Kelby Azure has committed to play football for North Dakota State. Cory Erickson / Hillsboro Banner
Hatton-Northwood's Kelby Azure has committed to play football for North Dakota State. Cory Erickson / Hillsboro Banner

Azure has played offensive and defensive line during his career at Hatton-Northwood and also fullback and linebacker during his junior season. He expects to play tight end for the Bison, but could end up playing on the offensive line depending how much weight he can add to his frame.

Azure said he likes that NDSU runs an offensive scheme that often uses multiple tight ends.

“They run double tight ends a lot,” he said. “They are a run (first) team and I like the blocking aspect of it.”

Azure, who lives in Portland, N.D., attends school in Northwood where his father is the superintendent. He does training sessions with former North Dakota State wide receiver Elliott Belquist in New Rockford, N.D., which is around 100 miles from Azure’s home. Belquist is the father of UND freshman receiver Bo Belquist.

Azure’s grandparents live in New Rockford so he can also visit family when he’s in New Rockford for training.

“The growth I’ve gotten for my speed and strength and all aspects has come from him and I give him a lot of credit,” Azure said of Elliott Belquist. “They’ve got a good (training) program.”

Azure said he attended football camps this summer at NDSU, UND and South Dakota State and recently had a workout at the University of Nebraska.

Azure is the second known verbal commitment from the state of North Dakota for NDSU’s 2022 recruiting class, joining Velva’s Kaden Chadwick.

“I had all the information I needed so I thought why wait and I got it done before my senior season,” Azure said. "NDSU is a great fit for me."