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NDSU wide receiver Sproles to leave team

Phoenix Sproles has played in just four games this season for the Bison.

North Dakota State's Phoenix Sproles touches a bounced ball after an incomplete pass against Missouri State during their football game Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, in Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
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FARGO - Phoenix Sproles has played his last down for the North Dakota State football team.

Sproles announced Monday night on Twitter that he will redshirt this season with the intention to enter the transfer portal.

"There's nothing like Bison Nation and that's what makes this decision very, very hard. I will be redshirting the rest of this season and will enter the transfer portal looking for a different opportunity." Sproles wrote in a tweet.

"After long talks with my family and prayers to God, I know this is the right decision for me. Everyone has their own path and this is mine."

He's no longer listed on the roster on the team's website. Sproles has been limited to just four games this season, with three receptions for 29 yards.


He missed games against South Dakota and South Dakota State with a hamstring injury.

Head coach Matt Entz had no comment on Sproles decision to leave the team.

It's been a rocky road for the 6-0, 188 pound Sproles on the field over the last few years with the Bison. He was limited to just one game during the 2020 season, playing in the fall game against Central Arkansas.

He missed the entire spring 2021 season with an injury.

Sproles returned for the entire fall season in 2021 and was named a team captain. Sproles played in all 15 games, finishing with 20 receptions for 284 yards and two touchdowns, including a 75-yard catch against South Dakota in the regular season finale.

North Dakota State's Phoenix Sproles breaks loose against Towson at Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson, Maryland, on Saturday, Sept. 18. David Samson / The Forum

Sproles has been one of the most visible athletes on the NDSU campus; he was the first football player to earn a name, image and likeness deal in the summer of 2021. He was also asked to be a part of the City of Fargo's marketing campaign to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.

Sproles made a splash in his sophomore season in 2019, paired with former quarterback Trey Lance. Sproles caught a 47-yard over-the-shoulder touchdown grab from Lance at Target Field that was a season highlight.

Sproles capped that season with a 38-yard touchdown run in the national championship win against James Madison. He finished that season with 33 catches for 541 yards and two touchdowns and added another two scores on the ground.


North Dakota State's Phoenix Sproles sits up after scoring a touchdown against Missouri State during their football game Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, in Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
Forum Communications Co.

With the new NCAA transfer windows, Sproles can enter the transfer portal beginning on November 21st, the day after the FCS Playoff field is selected. He has 45 days to enter the portal from there, or can enter from May 1-15.

Sproles comes from a highly touted football family. His cousin is former NFL standout Darren Sproles. His brother, Jaxon Howard, is considered the top high school football recruit in Minnesota. Howard announced in July his commitment to LSU.

With Sproles' departure, that leaves NDSU wide receivers with experience in Zach Mathis, Jake Lippe, DJ Hart, Raja Nelson and Braylon Henderson.

The Bison return to the field October 29th against Illinois State.

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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