WATCH: Iowa State quarterback will transfer to NDSU
FARGO — North Dakota State landed a quarterback Wednesday morning on the first day of the NCAA early-signing period. It just wasn’t the one as previously advertised.
The school announced that Zeb Noland will transfer from Iowa State to NDSU. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Noland will have two years of eligibility remaining.
He became part of the 25-player class that the Bison announced Wednesday. The one player that didn’t show up on the list, quarterback Jaren Lewis from Columbia, Mo., signed with Kansas State.
“We’ve spent the majority of the last week getting to know Zeb a little better,” said Bison defensive coordinator Matt Entz, who will take over as head coach after the Division I FCS national title game in Frisco. “He’s excited to be here. He already has a place to live.”
Noland will enroll at NDSU for the spring semester and compete in spring football. He’ll be up against Holden Hotchkiss, Noah Sanders and Trey Lance to replace Easton Stick as the starting quarterback.
Noland will be a junior, Sanders and Hotchkiss sophomores and Lance a redshirt freshman.
Entz said the first conversation with Noland was in November after he announced his intent to transfer from Iowa State. Noland started five games for the Cyclones in his two years. Four of them came this season before he was replaced in the starting lineup by a true freshman. Noland notified ISU of his intent at the end of October.
“I want to thank Zeb for his time at Iowa State,” Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said in a university release. “He notified me of his decision to transfer in order to find more playing time. I respect Zeb’s decision and we will assist him in his process of finding another school.”
He completed 106 of 176 passes for 1,255 yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions in his two years at ISU.
Noland, a consensus three-star recruit, is from Watkinsville, Ga., who chose Iowa State over Appalachian State, Colorado State and Toledo coming out of high school. His father, Travis Noland, played quarterback at Appalachian and was his coach in high school.
“We needed to handle it the right way, especially with the current quarterbacks on our roster,” Entz said. “Those guys responded the way you would expect. They said bring on the competition.”
Lewis verballed to NDSU last summer. The Bison were expecting him to sign this week, but Lewis wound up at Kansas State with recently-hired head coach Chris Klieman, NDSU's head coach for the last five seasons.
Klieman, in his Wednesday press conference in Manhattan, Kan., said he asked assistant coach Collin Klein to find the best available quarterback.
“That’s the position you need to have great depth and competition,” said Klieman, who will return to Fargo on Thursday and coach the Bison through the FCS title game.
Klieman has a stipulation in his NDSU contract that does not allow him to contact or seek a Bison recruit unless the recruit initiates the request. Proving any indiscretion is another matter.
“We kind of look at it, we want people who want to be here,” said NDSU athletic director Matt Larsen. “At the end of the day, if they don’t want to be here and go somewhere else, that’s OK. We have 25 kids who want to be a Bison and to me those are the kids we’re going to focus on.”