Bison finally tap into one of Minnesota's premier high school programs for recruit
FARGO--If you were to ask head coach Mike Grant to write an essay on why his Eden Prairie (Minn.) High School football program is a perennial winner, he may have trouble getting through the first paragraph.Certainly, stability is a principle topi...
FARGO-If you were to ask head coach Mike Grant to write an essay on why his Eden Prairie (Minn.) High School football program is a perennial winner, he may have trouble getting through the first paragraph.
Certainly, stability is a principle topic-Grant has had many of the same assistant coaches for years. And, certainly, you need players. You need good players.
Like center Joe Schreiber, who will sign a letter of intent with North Dakota State on Wednesday, the first of a new NCAA three-day early signing window. The Bison have gotten a lot of players from the Twin Cities over the years-especially in their recent run of NCAA Division I FCS titles-but Schreiber is the first big get in the D-I era from Eden Prairie.
The last major contributor was defensive end Jamel Thomas, who finished his career in 2003-the last year of NDSU's Division II schedule. Recruiting, Grant said, is a strange business.
He'll tell you NDSU in past seasons has missed on a couple of prospects. But he'll also tell you the major Division I schools like the University of Minnesota missed on Schreiber.
"He developed from his sophomore to senior year into a true Division I player that Minnesota and everybody else is missing on," Grant said. "They recruit so early now and decide on linemen really early. Most do it based on being 6-foot-7 or 6-foot-6 or whatever their requirements are. At Eden Prairie, which is not unlike North Dakota State, we just like great players."
Schreiber is 6-3 who went from 220 pounds as a sophomore to 245 as a junior to his current 285, Grant said. He said Schreiber could have had his pick of FCS schools, but no FBS programs offered.
"Iowa and Minnesota come in and say we already have our linemen," Grant said. "I guarantee half their linemen will never play for them even though they're all three-star or four-star kids."
The Eagles have played in 13 large-school state title games under Grant since 1996 winning an uncanny 11 of them. They beat Minnetonka 38-17 in this year's championship despite being without five starters, including Gophers recruit Benny Sapp III.
Asked how his program got to that point and Grant, the son of legendary Minnesota Vikings coach Bud Grant, said he couldn't pinpoint the answer.
"People ask me and I don't have a clue," he said. "We don't always have the best kids or the most talent but we play the best. One of our guards we recruited out of the marching band, a drummer in the marching band. He finally made a commitment his senior year. Kids come in and they expect to win and they play with great confidence."
NDSU has also offered Eden Prairie linebacker Antonio Montero, who was named the state's Mr. Football. Grant said Montero is undecided, with Wisconsin and Illinois showing some consideration. He's not big at 5-foot-11 and 215 pounds.
"But he just makes play after play," Grant said. "Recruiting is a crapshoot, I have no idea how anybody makes a decision anymore."
What: WDAY Signing Day Special
When: 8-10 a.m. Wednesday
Who: Dom Izzo, Jeff Kolpack, Jay Bartley
Here are some of the players who are expected to sign NCAA letters of intent with North Dakota State on Wednesday, the first of three days recruits can sign early:
North Dakota Bartholomew Ogbu, 6-6, 205, DE, Bismarck Shiloh
Dylan Evans, 6-4, 240, DL, Williston
Jake Kava, 6-3, 215, LB, Fargo Shanley
Jake Kubas, 6-4, 250, OL, Dickinson Trinity
Mark Stumpf, 6-2, 195, Bismarck High
Jaydn Ewing, 6-3, 230, DE, TE, Watford City
Minnesota James Kaczor, 6-0, 190, S, St. Cloud Tech
Mitchell Kartes, 6-0, 200, DB, St. Michael-Albertville
Trey Lance, 6-3, 195, QB, Marshall
Samuel Moore, 6-5, 235, DE, Verndale
Joe Schreiber, 6-3, 285, C, Eden Prairie
Phoenix Sproles, 6-0, 175, WR, Robbinsdale Cooper
Wisconsin Jackson Enz, 6-1, 190, DB, Big Foot
Hunter Luepke, 6-1, 210, FB, Spencer
D.J. Stewart, 6-0, 175, RB, Kimberly
Iowa Saybein Clark, 6-1, 195, RB, Sioux City Heelan
Bryan Nohava, 6-5, 265, OL, LeMars Gehlen Catholic
Illinois Destin Talbert, 6-1, 165, WR, Hinsdale South
Missouri Jalen Sundell, 6-5, 250, OL, Maryville
Kansas Jayden Price, 6-0, 175, DB, Mulvane
Florida Tony Pierce, 6-2, 218, LB, Auburndale