FARGO - Gabe Lloyd thought the phone call wouldn't happen.

"Honestly I didn't know if I would hear from NDSU. I said to myself, 'It's going to be the first school or not at all.' They might be a little upset from my senior year."

Lloyd did receive a call from North Dakota State. And the next part of his college football journey is in front of him.

Lloyd will transfer from the University of Wisconsin and finish his collegiate career in Fargo. The 6-4, 220-pound tight end played in 21 career games for the Badgers, mostly on special teams. He missed the entire 2019 season with a stress fracture in his foot.

Gabe Lloyd will transfer from Wisconsin to North Dakota State for this football season. (Wisconsin Athletics)
Gabe Lloyd will transfer from Wisconsin to North Dakota State for this football season. (Wisconsin Athletics)

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"It was just time to go somewhere else and give myself a fresh start."

Lloyd graduated from Wisconsin earlier this month and with the NCAA giving athletes an extra year of eligibility, he decided to enter the NCAA Transfer Portal in February. Almost immediately Lloyd heard back from NDSU offensive coordinator Tyler Roehl.

Roehl originally recruited Lloyd out of Northeast Wisconsin Lutheran High School in Green Bay in 2015. Lloyd actually gave his verbal commitment to the Bison for the Class of 2016. But a couple of days before Signing Day, Lloyd de-committed after he received a preferred walk-on offer from Wisconsin.

"I don't regret that decision at all. I got to experience Wisconsin culture and Big Ten football."

Lloyd's injury battles in 2019 and 2020 opened his eyes to look elsewhere. NDSU seemed a natural fit and not only because of their previous relationship.

Lloyd's dad, Doug, is an NDSU Hall of Famer. He was a part of the 1980s Bison dynasty that won three national titles. Doug set a single game school record with 239 rushing yards against South Dakota in 1988.

"I took a picture in my dad's helmet and sent to it Coach Roehl two weeks ago. My dad is extremely excited, too, to go back to games and see friends in Fargo."

As for Gabe, it's an opportunity to actually live out on a missed chance.

"Not too often do you get a second chance. I'm presented at the same school five years after not talking to them for five years."