NFL announces complete Scouting Combine list that includes 3 Bison players
North Dakota State has had five players invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in the past two seasons.
FARGO — The NFL announced its complete listing of players invited to the annual NFL Scouting Combine on Wednesday, Feb. 8, and that list included three North Dakota State players.
Bison offensive tackle Cody Mauch , fullback Hunter Luepke and tight end Noah Gindorff are slated to go to Indianapolis for the Combine, which is scheduled for Feb. 28 through March 6. The NFL invited 319 players.
“The NFL shield recognizes the Bison logo and knows that there’s a high level of football being played at NDSU and that the guys who come here get coached at a high level and get developed," said Bison head coach Matt Entz.
Gindorff, Mauch and Luepke all announced they had accepted their Combine invites in January .
“It’s a huge compliment to the program, a huge compliment to the coaches, the former players, anyone who has really been associated with it," Entz added.
The Bison had two players at the Combine last season in wide receiver Christian Watson and offensive lineman Cordell Volson. The Green Bay Packers selected Watson in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft, while the Cincinnati Bengals drafted Volson in the fourth round.
Volson started all season for the Bengals at left guard, including the recent AFC Championship game. Watson had 41 receptions for 611 yards and seven touchdowns. He also rushed for 80 yards and two touchdowns on seven attempts.
Watson made a big splash at the Combine last year with his testing numbers. He posted one of the top 40-yard dash times among wide receivers .
The 6-foot-6, 265-pound Gindorff and 6-foot-1, 236-pound Luepke are likely to be limited with their on-field testing and drills due to injuries. The 6-foot-5, 305-pound Mauch is coming off a strong performance at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. He was named National team practice player of the week for the offensive line .
“It brings a smile to your face," Entz said of Mauch . "He’s such a charismatic young man. The way he’s gone about his business, he’s enjoyed and had fun the entire time he’s been at NDSU. I think you still saw that even during the most selective job interviews you could have.”
Gindorff is coming off a lower-leg injury that required season-ending surgery and Luepke is recovering from shoulder surgery. He missed the final five games of his final season with the Bison due to the shoulder injury.
“The medical evaluations are going to be critical," Entz said. "I think people are going to want to know where they’re at in the rehab process.”
Luepke rushed for 621 yards and nine touchdowns on 98 attempts in 10 games this past season. He also caught 14 passes for 494 yards and four TDs. Gindorff had six catches for 74 yards and a touchdown, playing in three games before his season ended due to injury. Entz said the Combine invite shows how much Gindorff is a valued as a prospect, even though Gindorff only played in a few games this past fall.
“To still have the interest from the NFL is unbelievable and deserving," Entz said. "I think it says a lot about where our program is and what other people think about our program.”
ESPN NFL Draft analyst Matt Miller recently projected the Buffalo Bills to select Mauch late in the first round . ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. has Luepke rated as his top prospect among fullbacks and H-backs for the upcoming NFL Draft, which is scheduled for April 27-29 in Kansas City, Mo.
“It’s exciting," Entz said. "They’re going to be able to live out a dream, all three of these young men from NDSU. We often tell our players you can do anything you want from North Dakota State, going to the NFL is just one of the things you can do.”