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Dom Izzo's Missouri Valley/Summit League notebook on Senior Bowl attention and Mad Max is coming back

The Missouri Valley Football Conference always has the Senior Bowl's attention

Dom Izzo's Missouri Valley/Summit League Notebook
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A new college football season is still 12 weeks away, but the evaluation for future draft prospects never stops.

The folks who run the Senior Bowl certainly think so.

Jim Nagy, the executive director of the game, puts out a "Small School Saturday" feature each week on his Twitter account, highlighting players that the game is keeping an eye on for a potential invite for next January.

This weekend, the tweet was filled with Bison and Jackrabbits. North Dakota State's Hunter Luepke, Noah Gindorff and Cody Mauch were featured along with South Dakota State's Jaxon Janke, Garret Greenfield and Zach Heinz.

That's no surprise on Luepke. Nagy told me in April, "there's a fullback up there we have our eye on. What a perfect spot to have a fullback than North Dakota State?"

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Gindorff seems like a logical NFL fit. The Crosby, Minnesota native is 6-6, 266 pound tight end was heading for the draft process this year until breaking his ankle against Southern Illinois in December.

Gindorff decided to use his extra year of eligibility from COVID and will return for a sixth season with the Bison.

As will left tackle Cody Mauch. The Hankinson native has seen his career take off over the last 15 months, where he was inserted into the starting lineup during the spring season and hasn't left. Mauch became a first team all-Valley player in 2021 along with first-team All-American status.

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North Dakota State offensive lineman Cody Mauch, right, slides to signal a first down during the NCAA Division I FCS national championship game Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, in Frisco, Texas.
David Samson / The Forum

I have heard rave reviews about Mauch's play over the last 12 months and even more buzz about his potential at the next level. A big senior season from Mauch and NDSU could be looking at yet another offensive linemen getting drafted next spring.

MAD MAX IS BACK

The deadline for underclassmen to pull out of the NBA Draft was 11:59 pm on June 1st. Oral Roberts standout Max Abmas had everyone sweating.

Abmas announced around 9:30 last Wednesday that he will return for his senior season at ORU. Abmas, the preseason player of the year last season, averaged nearly 23 points a game for a Golden Eagle team that finished third in the Summit League, a year after winning the conference tournament and reaching the Sweet 16.

This is the second straight year Abmas has gone thru the NBA Draft process and decided to return to school. I wonder if his stock will ever be as high as it was last year when he was the darling of the NCAA Tournament and had a huge spotlight on him?

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The Golden Eagles weren't nearly as good this past year with the departure of Kevin Obanor to Texas Tech. Isaac McBride is a rising star, and pairing him and Abmas together likely make ORU the preseason favorites in the Summit.

Consider that SDSU lost Baylor Scheierman to Creighton, and NDSU is completely re-tooling its roster. ORU will be tough to beat in 2023.

BATTLE WITH THE CHAMPS

June and July will be filled with college basketball scheduling news, there is one date we know on the NDSU men's schedule for this coming year.

Head coach Dave Richman told me nearly two years ago when the game with Kansas was scheduled for December of 2020, that the Bison "would get a full guarantee game and in front of a normal crowd in either next year or the year after."

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North Dakota State's Tyree Eady (3) shoots a layup as Kansas Jayhawks guard Christian Braun (2) defends during Saturday's game at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan. Denny Medley / USA TODAY Sports

NDSU will face off with the defending national champions next season. We don't know the date of the game yet, but the Bison and Jayhawks will be meeting up again on the basketball court. NDSU lost to the Jayhawks 65-61 on December 5, 2020.

NERD ALERT

No spoilers will be given here, but if you haven't seen the new Disney Plus show, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you are missing out. For us Star Wars Nerds, this has been 20 years in the making. A new poster came out Monday that has the nerds freaking out.

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Dom Izzo is the Sports Director at WDAY-TV. He began working for WDAY in 2006 as the weekend sports anchor and was promoted to Sports Director in 2010.
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