FARGO — The Zenzen family has turned into an NCAA Division I pipeline for football players.
Barnesville Trojans senior-to-be Kaden Zenzen verbally committed to North Dakota State this week he announced via Twitter.
“Being around them, it felt right. The coaches were extremely nice,” Zenzen said. “I could tell they were into me. It kind of resembles a family there. It has a great culture and it’s close to home. It’s the perfect fit for me. I knew when they offered me, it would be the right choice.”
Zenzen is the second member of his family to earn a Division I football scholarship, joining older brother Hunter Zenzen, who redshirted this past season with the Iowa State Cyclones.
“It’s awesome to have two D-I players in the family. My brother (Hunter) is super excited,” Kaden said. “When he was going through the same thing, I was there with him the whole time. … I learned a little bit from his recruiting process and it helped me with mine.”
The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Kaden Zenzen is projected to play tight end for the Bison. He played tight end and defensive end for the Trojans during his junior season.
“He’s 6-4 with very long arms, very strong for being that size,” said Barnesville head coach Bryan Strand. “Very powerful.”
Kaden had more than 50 total tackles, and eight receptions with four touchdowns in six games for Barnesville last fall. He’s excited with his potential fit in a Bison offense that uses multiple tight ends in a variety of roles.
“Their offense, I think it fits me,” Kaden said. “I really like blocking for the running backs, but I’m able to go out on a few routes and catch the ball. That’s been a good fit for me all along.”
Strand said he’s happy that Kaden found the right college fit and forged his own path.
“Sometimes it’s a little bit tough when you are sitting in your brother’s shadow,” Strand said. “I was so happy to see that somebody came and they saw his true potential. … Hunter has kind of got all the light up to date. Kaden now is kind of stepping into his own.”
NDSU also recruited Hunter before he chose Iowa State, which is in the Big 12 Conference. Kaden said that gave him a chance to get a look at the Bison before his own recruitment started.
“I’m super excited to have this opportunity,” Kaden said. “I didn’t want to go too far from home. I like the fact that my family is close and if I need help I’ve got them here with me.”
Zenzen is the second tight end prospect the Bison added to the 2022 class this week. Hatton-Northwood's Kelby Azure also committed to NDSU.