Bison football gets commitments from Bismarck and Farmington, Minn., pass catchers

Farmington wide receiver Eli Green has verbally committed to play football at North Dakota State. Jace Frederick / St. Paul Pioneer Press

FARGO — Farmington (Minn.) High School wide receiver Elijah Green said the coronavirus pandemic caused him to cancel more than 10 visits during his recruiting process.

The 5-foot-11, 190-pound senior, however, did get the chance to visit North Dakota State twice during his junior season. Those visits stuck with Green, who verbally committed to play football for the Bison earlier this week.

“I was able to get out and visit NDSU and a couple other schools before the pandemic happened,” Green said. “No place stood out like NDSU did.”

Green said he also received offers from other Missouri Valley Football Conference schools, including Northern Iowa, South Dakota and South Dakota State, along with Northern Illinois and St. Thomas. He’s headed to NDSU as a preferred walk-on.

“I’m willing to take that opportunity and confident in going to NDSU and doing what I do and working hard and earning a scholarship,” Green said. “It’s a relief to be done and to have made a confident decision.”


(NOTE: Green interview starts at 1:01:30)

Green said COVID-19 made the recruiting landscape a challenge because he couldn’t make official visits during his senior season. He also had scholarship offers pulled back with programs uncertain how many seniors may return next season due to the eligibility waiver the NCAA has granted due to the pandemic.

Green caught 22 passes for 369 yards and five touchdowns in six games during his senior season with the Tigers. The Star Tribune and KARE 11 both named Green to their All-Metro first-team offenses this fall. Farmington finished its pandemic-shortened season with a 5-1 overall record.

The early signing period for Division I football starts on Dec. 16 and runs through Dec. 18. Green said he felt comfortable making the decision a couple weeks before the early signing window.

“I didn’t want to rush the decision because I knew who my main schools were,” Green said. “I wanted to get all the information from them and not rush my decision.”


Green expects to play wide receiver at NDSU, but would be open to be moved to defensive back if needed. Green added Bison head coach Matt Entz likes his receiving skills and ability to play special teams.

“What he really likes about me is my versatility and my athleticism,” Green said.

Green made a game-day visit to NDSU during his junior season that left an impression.

“That was great,” Green said. “The atmosphere was insane. It was very loud in the Fargodome.”

Green said the Bison tradition and culture were also reasons he picked NDSU.

He was also impressed that Bison quarterback Trey Lance recently declared for the NFL Draft after playing one game this fall during his sophomore season. Lance is projected by multiple draft experts to be a high first-round selection.

“They’re doing something right and they are being very successful,” Green said. “It shows when they have players do that, and just the success they have.”


Bismarck High School tight end Jack Steckler has verbally committed to play football at North Dakota State. Will Kincaid / Bismarck Tribune

The Bison also added another pass catcher earlier this week, getting a commitment from Bismarck High School senior Jack Steckler. Steckler had 22 catches for 233 yards and two touchdowns in his final season with the Demons.

"Growing up in North Dakota it's your dream to play for North Dakota State," Steckler said. "I really liked the coaches, I liked the campus and it just feels like family there."

The 6-foot-5, 210-pound Steckler, a preferred walk-on, is projected to play tight end at NDSU. He played in wide receiver and tight end roles for the Demons. He was named to the North Dakota Class 3A first-team all-state squad at tight end. NDSU has an offense that at times uses multiple tight ends.

"That was part of the decision, too," Steckler said. "You see them play with three tight ends, two tight ends, one tight end, they get those guys involved with the running game and the passing game and they make big plays."

Bismarck advanced to 3A state semifinals and finished the season with a 7-2 record. Steckler said he also received a preferred walk-on offer from the University of North Dakota.

Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.
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