FARGO -- Dillon Radunz may be the best player on the Bison football roster that you don't know.
Such is life as an offensive lineman. Radunz is the starting left tackle, the blind side to Easton Stick and Trey Lance. He's been so good, he'll likely be named an All-American next week.
"He's one of the most athletic lineman we see all year. Dillon continues to have great confidence in himself, never gets high or too low." head coach Matt Entz said.
Football was always a part of life for Radunz. It was something that he and his dad bonded over when he was a kid.
"It was kind of pressed on you young, I still loved it cause it was something you did with your dad." Radunz said.
Radunz had to deal with something more difficult than a defensive lineman charging at him. His dad, Jeff, passed away in 2010 when Dillon was just 12 years old.
"I almost had to step up to be the man of the house, which was difficult since I was still in middle school. I dealt with it with football cause it was a big thing, playing football was a dream for us, playing for the high school team and winning state championships was a big deal." Radunz said.
Radunz helped Becker to a state title in 2015. He had committed to NDSU that summer and when signing day came in 2016, his dad was with him.
"Being able to sign, being able to play D-1, it was a big thing in trying to make my dad proud." Radunz said.
Radunz has constant reminders of his dad. He got a tatoo on his right shoulder to honor his dad, along with the serenity prayer as his dad battled alcoholism. He also has a pregame ritual to connect with his dad.
"I'm down on a knee, talking to my dad, kind of look up and try to imagine in the stands and feel his presence there somewhere."
All the while Radunz has turned into one of the best offensive linemen in the country. The accolades are nice, but there's one thing he wants to hear more than anything.
"I want to hear those words, hey I'm proud of you. "
Dillon will get some company next year. His younger brother Nick, who has played at North Dakota State College of Science, will sign with the Bison on Wednesday.
Radunz and the Bison face Illinois State in the FCS quarterfinals Saturday at 11 am inside Gate City Bank at the Fargodome.