The next series in the offseason coverage of the North Dakota State football team focuses on several breakthrough players for the 2019 season.
Linebacker is a position that will be under constant scrutiny from NDSU head coach Matt Entz in fall camp. He'll have his eyes on sophomore Jackson Hankey, who was listed as the starting middle linebacker during spring ball. Hankey played in fourteen games last season, registering 27 tackles and one sack in mostly mop-up duty. With the graduations of Levi Jordheim and Dan Marlette, the opportunity exists for Hankey to be a starter.
Hankey hails from Park River, North Dakota, where he helped led the Aggies to two state championships in 2014 and 2015. He was also a tremendous baseball player for a team that has had plenty of success. He came to Fargo with little fanfare, but may copy the route of Jordheim and get on the feel.
Hankey is 6'1, 223 pounds, which is good size for the linebacker position. His quickness will be tested in the middle by some of the outstanding running backs and tight ends that play in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. This is not locked up by Hankey to be the guy when the season begins August 31st, but he has a good head start to be the starter when the Bison kick off in 2019.