Bison add mix of prep, transfer players including another Zenzen from Barnesville
North Dakota State announces addition of 10 players during NCAA National Signing Day
FARGO — Considering the impact of the NCAA transfer portal in the last few years and the advent of the early signing period in December, North Dakota State unveiled a familiar mix of recruits on Wednesday.
The Bison signed six high school players and welcomed four transfers to campus on the traditional National Signing Day. The latter includes Hunter Zenzen from Barnesville, Minn., who started his career as a linebacker at Iowa State but ended up playing more defensive end.
That will be his fit at NDSU.
“We recruited him initially as a linebacker out of high school but out of high school he wasn’t 250 (pounds) either,” said NDSU head coach Matt Entz. “We feel like where he can help us sooner is at d-end. We feel like that will be the quickest transition for him.”
NDSU was one of the final picks for Zenzen during the high school recruiting process. He’ll join his younger brother Kaden Zenzen, who will be a redshirt freshman tight end next season. Hunter has two years of eligibility remaining.
“We’re excited to have him and the Zenzen family become even a bigger part of our program,” Entz said. “He’s a big, physical kid who has played a little bit. I think his best football is ahead of him.”
NDSU got another Power Five transfer in offensive guard Isaac Zatechka (6-foot-3, 271 pounds) from Missouri. The Bison recruited Zatechka out of high school in Elkhorn, Neb. Entz expects him to provide immediate depth in the interior positions.
Minnesota State Moorhead linebacker and West Fargo Sheyenne graduate Marcus Gulley is making the move from Division II to FCS. The 6-2, 225-pound Gulley had 81 tackles for the Dragons last season and has three seasons of eligibility remaining.
“He’s already fit in tremendously with our personnel and with our other players,” Entz said. “It will be interesting to see how we can utilize him on defense because if you watch his film, a very explosive athlete and a guy who has some position flexibility.”
Marcus Sheppard, a cornerback from Bowling Green, is expected to compete for a role in a Bison secondary that lost most of its production from last season.
The high school players in the class are cornerback Termaine Turner (5-10, 175) from Lake Gibson, Fla., tight end Dylan Klancher from Crosby, Minn., offensive lineman AJ Heins (6-3, 290) from New Salem, N.D., linebacker Carter Kriewaldt (6-2, 190) from Freedom, Wis., safety Brady Wavrunek (6-0, 195) from Sioux City, Iowa and kicker Eli Ozick from Liberty, Mo.
The nine players join the 20 that were signed during the NCAA’s early signing period in December. Wavrunek’s father played for Entz when he was an assistant coach at Wayne State (Neb.).
Heins is also a two-time state wrestling champion. Turner initially contacted NDSU with his interest and is from the same high school as NDSU fullback and long snapper Hunter Brozio.
Ozick will be the third kicker on the Bison roster joining veteran Griffin Crosa and true freshman Drew Klein. Ozick, a former elite soccer player who was on national club teams that played in Florida and California, joined the football team for the first year last fall. He made 9 of 11 field goals and all 33 of his PAT attempts at Liberty High School. Only eight of his 50 kickoffs were returned.
“I think he was approached by his high school (football) coaches, why don’t you start kicking part-time for football?” Entz said. “We’ll work around soccer. All of a sudden I think you saw a young man who saw his opportunities continue to grow and decided to take that route.”