McFeely blog: Bison offer San Diego offensive lineman in transfer portal

NDSU coach Entz following through on indication Bison might be more active for transfers

Luke LaCilento. University of San Diego photo

FARGO — North Dakota State coach Matt Entz indicated prior to the spring football season the Bison might be more active in signing transfers than they have been historically. He is following through.

NDSU has made an offer to University of San Diego offensive lineman Luke LaCilenta, who will be a graduate transfer. LaCilento made the offer public on his Twitter account.

LaCilento is a 6-foot-3, 305-pound guard. His Twitter account indicates he can also play center. The Corona, Calif., native started 12 games for the Toreros as a sophomore in 2019. He was named all-Pioneer Football League preseason first team in 2020 by Phil Steele's College Football Preview before USD's season was called off.

He's played in USD's two spring games and will join a new program for the fall season. LaCilento will graduate from USD this spring and is a junior in eligibility. That means he will be a junior again in the fall because of the NCAA granting a "free" year because of the pandemic, so the school to which he transfers could have him for two seasons if he chooses.


LaCilento hasn't made a decision yet, but he has the post indicating the NDSU offer pinned to the top of his Twitter timeline. Since enterting the NCAA transfer portal in December, he's also received offers from South Dakota, Western Illinois, Southern Illinois, Indiana State, Eastern Kentucky, Abilene Christian, Eastern Illinois, St. Francis, Lamar, Duquense and Gardner-Webb.

Entz said in a Missouri Valley Football Conference coaches call in February that NDSU would likely take more transfers than it has in the past because the Bison lost several players to the NFL Draft, transfers and opt-outs between the fall and spring Football Championship Subdivision seasons.


  • McFeely: Bison could rely on more transfers as rules evolve, FBS schools poach FCS in 'free agency' The ever-increasing mobility of players is a growing issue in FCS, where top teams are worried about losing players to bigger programs
  • McFeely blog: As expected, more transfers the new reality for Bison football Two players this week indicate they'll transfers, with likely more to come
  • Bison land defensive end transfer from Minnesota State Mankato Bismarck High School graduate Brayden Thomas had 11.5 sacks for Mavericks in 2019
  • McFeely: Bison transfer QB says 'Why wouldn't you want to play there?' North Dakota State transfer quarterback from Virginia Tech says move 'just made sense'

"There could be the potential down the road that we may have to take a few transfers," Entz said. "Every time you lose a young man, unfortunately, you don't want to replace him with a freshman or you're never going to have any veteran feel to your football team."
NDSU historically has taken few transfers, instead building the dominant program in FCS through high school recruiting. But between players leaving the program and, since the spring season began, injuries, Entz is plugging holes on his roster with transfers.

Last fall, NDSU signed ex-Minnesota State Mankato defensive end Brayden Thomas and former Virginia Tech quarterback Quincy Patterson. Thomas is eligible and playing this spring. Patterson is not eligible this spring, but will be in the running to be the Bison's starting QB next fall.

Tight end Gabe Lloyd of Wisconsin and running back TaMerik Williams of Southern Methodist have also announced on Twitter they'd transfer to the Bison. They will be eligible to play in the fall.

It's not surprising NDSU is seeking help on the offensive line. After left tackle Dillon Radunz declared for the NFL Draft and center Karson Schoening opted out of playing, the Bison were left short in that position group. NDSU's line struggled its first two games before coaches moved some players and began playing a few true freshmen.


The Bison's blocking has been better the past three games, particularly in Saturday's 34-13 drubbing of North Dakota at the Fargodome in which NDSU rushed for a season-high 316 yards.

NDSU is also short of running backs after senior-to-be Adam Cofield transferred to Western Kentucky before the spring season, junior Seth Wilson suffered a knee injury in the spring opener and sophomore Kobe Johnson appeared to suffer a serious leg injury against UND.

Mike McFeely is a columnist for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He began working for The Forum in the 1980s while he was a student studying journalism at Minnesota State University Moorhead. He's been with The Forum full time since 1990, minus a six-year hiatus when he hosted a local radio talk-show.
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