NDSU continues to fund football program, adds director of recruiting position

FARGO - Last week it was the announcement that North Dakota State is going to offer all of its scholarship athletes cost of attendance. This week, the Bison football program added a full-time director of football recruiting position to its staff.

FARGO – Last week it was the announcement that North Dakota State is going to offer all of its scholarship athletes cost of attendance. This week, the Bison football program added a full-time director of football recruiting position to its staff.

There appears to be no slowing down with the ascension of Division I athletics at the school.

NDSU becomes the first school in the Missouri Valley Football Conference to have a non-coaching staff position specific to recruiting when it elevated Hank Jacobs from offensive intern.

"I just think we're always trying to be ahead of the ballgame," Jacobs said. "I know the higher level teams have this type of position. They have a lot of guys on staff just to handle recruiting."

The rest of the Valley schools all have a director of football operations, but those job descriptions are more general in nature dealing with details like team travel, scheduling and academics. NDSU also has that position, but in Jacobs has somebody to handle recruiting matters like scheduling official and unofficial visits, arranging academic meetings, hotel and restaurant accommodations, social media contacts, video edits, campus tours and transportation.


Bison defensive line coach Nick Goeser will still serve as recruiting coordinator, but the hiring of Jacobs is meant to take a load of minor details off of the coaches' recruiting responsibilities, especially during the season.

"Recruiting is changing so much, you all know the number of commitments already," said head coach Chris Klieman.

NDSU had 12 verbal commitments before it played its first game of the season Saturday at Montana. A typical signing day class on the first week of February is usually anywhere from 15 to 20, sometimes more.

"There's a lot more communication with the coaches," Jacobs said of college prospects. "It's a lot more accessible for a young man 16, 17, 18 years old to get a hold of a coach with Twitter, Facebook and all the social media platforms out there. You have to stay up to date with that because it's really important."

Jacobs came to NDSU as an offensive lineman recruit. He had to give up the game after three years because of injury, but he stayed with the program in a student-coach capacity.

Klieman, in his weekly news conference, also commented publicly for the first time on cost of attendance-the NCAA-approved measure that gives student-athletes funds above the standard scholarship of tuition, fees, books, room and board. The NDSU financial aid office determined the school's cost of attendance at $3,400 per year for a full scholarship- budgeted expenses that are expected to add between $600,000 and $700,000 a year to the $20 million athletic department budget.

Klieman said cost of attendance is important for recruiting-especially when his program goes up against FBS programs from the Mountain West Conference or Mid-American Conference. Almost every FBS school is offering it.

"It's a big thing for us, just in the landscape of who we're recruiting against now," Klieman said.


But he cautioned that just because NDSU is offering cost of attendance doesn't necessarily translate into a deal maker or breaker in recruiting.

"I never want a kid to choose this school because he's getting an extra $2 or $3,000 or whatever it is," Klieman said. "It still has to be the right fit. They have to fit our culture and fit our program. Will it help us on some kids? Absolutely but if a kid tells me I'm choosing your school because the cost of attendance and South Dakota State didn't, I don't know if that's the right guy for us."

NDSU's verbal commitments

North Dakota

Braydon Lund, 6-4, 233, TE, Minot

Karson Schoening, 6-4, 298, OL, Rolla

Cordell Volson, 6-6, 245, OL, Balfour



Henry Van Dellen, 6-4, 205, QB, Plymouth

Moses Nyangacha, 6-0, 185, OLB, Robbinsdale

Sean Engel, 6-5, 202, WR-FS, Chaska


Gabe Lloyd, 6-5, 220, TE, Green Bay

Ross Kennelly, 5-11, 200, LB, Superior


Shaun Beyer, 6-5, 210, TE, Cedar Rapids


Ko Kieft, 6-4, 225, MLB, Sioux Center


Bryce Torneden, 5-10, 185, RB-FS, Lawrence

Ben Hecht, 6-5, 260, OL, Shawnee

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.
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