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Small college notebook: Earls still a Wildcat, NDSCS linebacker verbally commits to Arizona

North Dakota State College Science is sending another football player to a Bowl Championship Series school. Sophomore linebacker Derek Earls has verbally committed to play for the University of Arizona, which play in the PAC-10 Conference. The 6-...

North Dakota State College Science is sending another football player to a Bowl Championship Series school.

Sophomore linebacker Derek Earls has verbally committed to play for the University of Arizona, which play in the PAC-10 Conference.

The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Earls is rated as high as a four-star recruit by some online recruiting Web sites and runs 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash.

"He just has a knack for the football," NDSCS coach Chuck Parsons said. "It's hard to account for him in any one scheme. He's a big body that can move really well."

In the last few years, the Wildcats had two other players land at BCS schools. Former Wildcat Ricky Henry is now an offensive lineman for the University of Nebraska, while Jason Carlson is wide receiver at Iowa State.

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Parsons said NDSCS has had around 15 players head to D-I Football Bowl Subdivision or Football Championship Subdivision schools in the past three seasons.

Another former NDSCS player, Justin Gatlin, now plays defensive back at North Dakota State.

"When you show a pattern like that it helps in recruiting," Parsons said. "As we get more guys who make it to that level, we can go after more talented players."

From Waconia, Minn., Earls has 79 tackles for the Wildcats, who play a first-round playoff game at Ellsworth (Iowa) Community College at

1 p.m. Saturday. NDSCS

(6-4) is allowing 15.6 points per game.

Earls chose Arizona over Colorado, Illinois, Iowa State, Oklahoma State and Kansas. Parsons said Earls plays to leave NDSCS at the semester break so he can be at Arizona for spring practices.

"The bottom line is the kid has great character," Parsons said. "He is very, very intelligent."

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Jimmies looking to finish strong

Jamestown College started its football season with four straight losses, including two setbacks against Dakota Athletic Conference foes.

The Jimmies (5-4, 5-2 DAC) can now earn a piece of second place in the DAC on Sunday with a victory in the first Dacotah Bank DAC Bowl at Fargodome.

The No. 3 seed for the event, Jamestown College has won five straight games. It plays No. 2 seed Minot State (7-2, 6-1) at

4 p.m. Minot State beat the Jimmies 33-7 when the teams played earlier this season.

"We do have a chance to get back and a get a piece of second place," Jimmies coach Bud Etzold said. "We get a chance to play somebody who has beaten us before to measure and see how much we have improved."

In other DAC Bowl games, Mayville State plays Dakota State at

9 a.m., Valley City State plays South Dakota Mines at 12:30 p.m. and Dickinson State plays Black Hills State at 7:30 p.m.

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"I think any time you get your league out there in public view is a positive thing," Etzold said.

"Neutral field, going to the dome, it's as close to a playoff atmosphere as we're going to get. ... Every game you should be motivated for, but it does add that to it. We have something to play for."

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.
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