'This doesn't happen at FBS schools:' NDSU becoming O-Line U
NDSU football is on the verge of having three offensive lineman selected in the last three NFL drafts.
FARGO — The offensive line lineage that comes from North Dakota State University football is strong as the Bison look to go three for three on names called in recent NFL drafts.
“They don’t plan on going to the NFL, they just show up, put in the work and the rest of it takes care of itself," said former Bison and current Cincinnati Bengal offensive guard Cordell Volson .
It might not be the plan, but NDSU offensive lineman are becoming common sights in the NFL.
“I remember freshman year at fall camp, Dylan Radunz and I were standing next to each other. Coach (Tim) Polasek, he was our offensive coordinator at the time, came up to us and he's like, 'you guys are gonna play in the NFL, but you got to do all this stuff, right every single day,'” Volson said.
The secret sauce to creating successful linemen? It all starts in the weight room with strength and conditioning coach Jim Kramer.
"We have the best strength coach in the country," Volson said. "Coach Kramer is the best there is. He takes 250-pound North Dakota offensive linemen and turns them into some good football players."
"The offensive players are set up for success because this is a pro-style developmental program from the offensive side of the ball, so the guys are ready," said NDSU offensive coordinator Tyler Roehl.
Take the 2019 offensive line for example: left tackle, Radunz; left guard, Nash Jensen; right guard, Zack Johnson , right tackle, Volson and sixth man Cody Mauch . All NFL caliber players.
"You're going to have potentially five out of six guys in the NFL from an FCS school," Volson said. "You know that doesn't happen at Power Five schools, let alone in the FCS.”
"NDSU is a unique school that the offensive line is the heart and soul of that school," said former Bison offensive tackle and current Tennessee Titans offensive lineman Radunz.
In 2021, Radunz made history becoming the highest offensive lineman drafted out of NDSU in the second round. The year following, his roommate, Volson, heard his name called in the fourth. This week, their best friend and a former teammate, Mauch, could be the third straight lineman to have his name called.
"It's crazy to think that we're going to have two North Dakota guys, born and raised in small town, North Dakota, drafted back-to-back years and playing in the NFL," Volson said.
"Once they step on to an organization's facility, they're ready to go just because they have been prepared for five even some cases six years to play at that level," Roehl said.
NDSU might want to start thinking of re-branding from QBU to O-line U.