More depth at cornerback expected for '08

It was just two months ago when the rule for the North Dakota State cornerbacks was don't get hurt. There was nobody with experience on the depth chart after John Richardson, Nate Agbetola and David Earl.

It was just two months ago when the rule for the North Dakota State cornerbacks was don't get hurt. There was nobody with experience on the depth chart after John Richardson, Nate Agbetola and David Earl.

That's changed for two reasons: Derrius Colvin and Richard Bowman are healing from season-ending injuries, and Courtney Mitchell has returned to school.

"It will be drastically different next year," said NDSU head coach Craig Bohl. "We'll have a little more depth."

More bodies in the defensive backfield are essential with more and more teams going to a spread offense. The Bison faced several teams last season that put three or four wide receivers into a pattern.

Earl graduated, but Richardson and Agbetola will be back for their senior seasons.


Colvin, who will be a sophomore, redshirted last year to recover from a knee injury.

"He had a big upside before his injury," Bohl said.

Bowman had successful surgery to relieve a spinal condition. Mitchell, who left the team after last spring for personal reasons, has enrolled this semester and will compete in spring football.

He was a backup in 2006, returning one interception for a touchdown at Georgia Southern.

Freshman Daniel Eaves, who made a bid to play as a true freshman before getting hurt in fall practice, will enter his redshirt freshman season.

That's six cornerbacks in all.

"We had some difficulty when people spread us out," Bohl said. "We struggled to a certain degree. As college football changes, we need some guys on the back end who can run."

The Bison are also bolstering their depth at safety. Freshman Chris Bigley, who missed last season with a knee injury, will switch from cornerback to safety. Moreover, Melvin Thomas, who was part of the 2007 recruiting class but did not meet NCAA academic certification standards, has enrolled this semester. He'll probably be a strong safety.


"That's a position that takes a little more than corner," Bohl said, when asked about the prospects of Thomas playing right away. "I think it will be a little hard for him."

Bohl said he's not expecting to sign any junior college transfers, although the staff is still on the lookout for a defensive tackle.

NDSU will hire a new assistant coach to replace wide receivers coach Reggie Moore soon, Bohl said. Moore took a similar position at UCLA.

Bohl said he's completed informal interviews and expects to bring two or three candidates on campus. He's hoping to make a hire within two weeks.

Bison add Austin Peay to schedule

North Dakota State will have something next year that it hasn't had in the last two seasons: six home football games.

The Bison and Austin Peay will open the season Thursday, Aug. 28, at the Fargodome. It is the 10th game on NDSU's slate, with the possibility for two more. That means NDSU may get a seventh home game, something it hasn't had since 2000.

"It's a wait-and-see," said NDSU athletic director Gene Taylor.


Taylor said NDSU's next task is to schedule a game at a Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) program.

The Governors, from Clarksville, Tenn., went 7-4 last year and finished third in the Ohio Valley Conference behind Eastern Kentucky and Eastern Illinois. NDSU's guarantee, which includes airfare, adds up to about $100,000, Taylor said.

The Bison still have open dates on Sept. 13 and Sept. 27.

- Jeff Kolpack

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack's NDSU media blog can be found at More depth at cornerback expected for '08 Jeff Kolpack 20080115

Jeff would like to dispel the notion he was around when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but he is on his third decade of reporting with Forum Communications. The son of a reporter and an English teacher, and the brother of a reporter, Jeff has worked at the Jamestown Sun, Bismarck Tribune and since 1990 The Forum, where he's covered North Dakota State athletics since 1995.
Jeff has covered all nine of NDSU's Division I FCS national football titles and has written three books: "Horns Up," "North Dakota Tough" and "Covid Kids." He is the radio host of "The Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack" April through August.
What To Read Next
Get Local