Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.



Former Bison Shepherd stands out in another pro football league; more inside Izzo's Notebook

Darrius Shepherd is making the most of another opportunity in the XFL.

Darrius Shepherd XFL
Former North Dakota State wide receiver Darrius Shepherd is standing out for the St. Louis Battlehawks of the XFL. Courtesy - WDAY Sports

As we enter what some may consider a quiet period for the main sports we cover in this area; football and basketball, the action is really set to start.

I will have a weekly notebook to pass along some items that may not garner a full story or some things I'm hearing that would like to pass along. Look for it on Sundays and Mondays over the next few months.

SHEP STANDING OUT - Former North Dakota State wide receiver Darrius Shepherd is doing it again. Shepherd, playing for the St. Louis Battlehawks, in his home state of Missouri, has tore things up over the last two weeks. Shepherd caught a touchdown pass in the Battlehawks game last week against Arlington, then followed that up with a 80-yard kickoff return Saturday night against the D.C. Defenders.

League owner Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson even gave Shepherd a shoutout on Twitter, saying; "We applied some innovative rules to our XFL kickoffs - heck of a return from D- Shep!! Great to see."

This is the second straight season where Shepherd has stood out in a spring league. Last summer, Shepherd had 27 receptions for 323 yards and a touchdown for the New Jersey Generals of the United States Football League. Shepherd's play there earned him a training camp invite from the Denver Broncos.


Shepherd has played in 14 career games in the NFL, all with the Green Bay Packers from 2018-19, with six career receptions. Shepherd is ranked second all-time in receptions and yards in NDSU history, he finished with 20 career touchdowns, which is good for sixth all-time. St. Louis plays Las Vegas Saturday night at 6 on FX and ESPN Plus.

BOARD LANDS A NEW TEAM - One of Shepherd's former teammates has a new home.

Former Bison standout linebacker Chris Board signed a two-years, $6.7 million deal with the New England Patriots. Board spent the 2022 season with the Detroit Lions, registering 21 tackles and a forced fumble. Patriots head coach and legend Bill Belichick had high praise for Board before New England's game with Detroit this past season saying; " he's the best special teams player we’ll play against all year. He’s a great player.”

No wonder Belichick wanted to make sure Board was part of his team. Board rose to NFL prominence on special teams with the Ravens, earning a spot on the team after signing a free agent contract in the spring of 2018. He quickly became one of John Harbaugh's favorite players while in Baltimore, all the while becoming a special teams ace.

Board excelled in special teams at NDSU as well, racking up 10 special teams tackles during his senior season of 2017.

PRO DAY COMING UP: NDSU will hold its annual Pro Day on Wednesday, March 29 inside the NoDak Insurance Football Performance Complex, the first big event for the new practice facility. The Bison will have nine participants during Pro Day, highlighted by Cody Mauch, Hunter Luepke and Noah Gindorff. Luepke and Gindorff each were at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis last month, Gindorff was limited to the bench press as he recovers from a second ankle surgery. Luepke had shoulder surgery in early January, he told me right before the surgery he was hopeful to have "another pro day" in mid-to-late April. Luepke told the media at the Combine he would do some drills during NDSU's Pro Day.

ON THE MOVE?: The Bison women's basketball season came to an end Friday night with a 96-57 loss to Oregon, wrapping up the most successful Division 1 season the team has had with a mark of 18-12. Head coach Jory Collins is rightfully excited about the future, with conference first-team selection Heaven Hamling returning for a fifth year. With freshman of the year Elle Evans in the fold, that's a dynamite 1-2 punch for NDSU to build around. 6-3 forward Marwa Bedziri redshirted this season, but is one to watch as offseason workouts begin. Collins believes Bedziri can be another difference maker for the Bison next year. I do expect a couple of departures via the transfer portal over the next couple of weeks, but nothing to the extent of what NDSU saw last year, when five players departed.

SCHEDULING, SCHEDULING, SCHEDULING: One of my favorite offseason topics between basketball and football is who is playing who?


Collins told me a couple of weeks ago on Hot Mic that NDSU had games at least verbally agreed to with TCU and New Mexico for next season. Each have pulled out now for next year. The Bison will make a return trip to Minneapolis to play Minnesota as part of a 1 for 2 agreement with the Gophers. NDSU beat Minnesota at the SHAC last November.

Dave Richman's team started the season playing two teams who played one another in the NCAA Tournament; Arkansas and Kansas. The Bison have one guaranteed opponent for next season in Portland. That's a return of home and home, NDSU won 67-62 in Portland.

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.
What To Read Next
Get Local