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

Radio: 970-AM


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

Jeff would like to dispel the notion he was around when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but he is on his third decade of reporting with Forum Communications. The son of a reporter and an English teacher, and the brother of a reporter, Jeff has worked at the Jamestown Sun, Bismarck Tribune and since 1990 The Forum, where he's covered North Dakota State athletics since 1995.
Jeff has covered all nine of NDSU's Division I FCS national football titles and has written three books: "Horns Up," "North Dakota Tough" and "Covid Kids." He is the radio host of "The Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack" April through August.
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