The ink has dried and their are 23 new Hawks in the nest.
Head coach Bubba Schweigert had a pretty uneventful day yesterday as all the NLI’s came in on time and no drama was to be had.
As we had stated in a previous post UND closed strong in the past month and added some nice skill & athleticism to it’s team after loading up on mostly lineman this past summer. The additions of running backs Luke Skokna and Dominik London combined with the huge signing of star CB Samuel Fort were just the “twitch” that this class needed. UND did a better job this year with highly contested recruits that had multiple offers from peer and regional schools and hung on to them until the end.
Here is the final class for the early signing period:
- Running Back (2)
- Luke Skokna
- Dominik London (transfer)
- Wide Receiver (2)
- Chrysten Cochran
- Adam Zavalney (PWO)
- Offensive Line (6)
- Jacob Lindemann
- Kyle Downs
- Ben Jansen
- Colin Lavell
- EJ Langstaff (PWO)
- Adam Neustel (PWO)
- Tight End (1)
- Billy Riviere
- Defensive Line (5)
- Elijah Beach
- Luke Lennon
- Steven Keech
- Tanner Thorsness
- Isaac Moore
- Linebacker (3)
- Kaden Wolsky (PWO)
- Josh Navratil
- Luke Herzog (PWO)
- Safety (1)
- Matt Koshiol
- Cornerback (3)
- Jayson Coley
- Haley Bucholz (PWO)
- Samuel Fort
With the loss of two all-time UND greats at running back, John Santiago and Brady Oliveira, it was imperative that UND backfilled the position with high-end talent. That was accomplished with the signings of Luke Skokna and Dominik London.
Skokna hurt his knee early in the season and thus remained off the radar. The one-time Western Illinois commit had a change of heart midway through the fall season and due to the relationships he had built with UND he ended up a Hawk.
London, 5’9″-205, signed with the Gophers out of East Ridge HS in Minnesota but never was able to crack the rotation. At East Ridge, London was a superstar – rushing for 3,916 yards and 41 TD’s. He is a powerful, low to the ground type of runner with good speed. Will be a nice complement to James Johannesson, Otis Weah and Austin Gordon.
We guarantee, without a doubt, that UND is going to sign a quarterback in February. They have to and know that. There are currently four QB’s on the roster (Ketteringham, Zimmerman, Boltmann, Grover) but Ketteringham and Zimmerman are seniors. New OC Danny Freund is putting a premium on the position and will keep it well stocked each year(he is now the QB coach).
Offensive and Defensive lines were apparently a major emphasis in this class. UND signed six offensive lineman and five defensive lineman.
On the offensive line the headliners were Kyle Downs out of Monticello, MN, Jacob Lindemann out of Roseau, MN and Colin Lavell out of Parker, CO. They show a polished technique to go along with a physical style of blocking. With UND’s move to a spread offense it will be more imperative that the Hawks recruits lineman that can move laterally in a zone blocking scheme.
OT Ben Jansen (6’7″-280) is a monster of a man and a completely blank canvas. With some coaching and time in the weight room he could really turn into something at the tackle position.
The offensive SOC (steal of the class) is WR Chrysten Cochran. At 6’1″-170, Cochran is that intermediate size, quick, fast receiver that UND has been missing for a few years now. They have size with Toivonen, Maag and Wanzek and speed with Adeoti and McKinney but need that guy who do it all and we think Cochran has a chance to be that guy.
Our defensive SOC is DE Isaac Moore. Moore is undersized at 6’2″-215 but has a bigtime motor. His upside is huge if he can grow to around 230-240 range and keep his twitch. Moore’s highlights show burst off the ball and flat-out speed to run things down from the backside. In talking to DC Eric Schmidt I could tell they are very excited about Moore’s future.
An honorable mention for defensive SOC is DE Steven Keech. He is a big man at 6’5″-235 and was absolutely dominant along the line for Two Harbors (MN). His senior tape was markedly improved from his junior tape, which shows progression. Keech has quick get-off and uses his hands and long reach well to separate from the offensive lineman.
Safety Matt Koshiol was a hot commodity at the end of the recruiting cycle. UND did a nice job building a relationship with him this past year and it paid off with Koshiol sticking with the Fighting Hawks as other offers came in. Based on his body-type we see him being an OLB in the future, where he could be outstanding.
The two distance cornerbacks that UND signed, Samuel Fort (Virginia) and Jayson Coley (Illinois) both are superb athletes that bring alot to the table when it comes to CB play. These 2 are strong candidates to get a look to play early and often. We wrote about Fort on Monday after he committed. Coley really progressed from his junior year when UND spotted him at the Chicago Showcase summer camp. He even played some linebacker, showing his tackling ability.
Linebacker Josh Navratil had a huge senior season for Pine Island High School (MN). Navratil rushed for 1,837 yards and 17 TD’s but projects as an OLB for UND. He reminds us of current UND LB Jade Lawrence.
A player that was injured early in the season and not talked about alot but will be a big-time player for UND is TE Billy Riviere. The son of former UND center Bill Riviere has the size and explosive ability to make some plays from the TE or H-back position. He will be a nice downfield threat in the passing game and upgrade the overall athleticism at the TE position.
Look for current fullback Graham Devore to move to his natural position of tight end. Much like Riviere, Devore has the speed to make plays in the passing game while also blocking at the point of contact.
Elijah Beach, 6’3″-240, of Streamwood, IL will start out as a nose guard in UND’s 3-4 scheme. With the loss of Tank Harris (a fellow Illinois prep) and Steve Greer, the Hawks need to reload at that crucial position and Beach definitely looks the part.
UND certainly isn’t done as the late signing period will take place on February 6, 2019. Safety is a spot that may need to be addressed as we mentioned Koshiol could move to OLB in the future. Quarterback will also be addressed.
Overall, we love the way UND closed late on a number of good prospects to round out a solid overall class. A big key to success of this group will be the development of the PWO’s.
Along the offensive line there are two PWO’s – Adam Neustel (Gwinner, ND) and EJ Langstaff (West Fargo, ND). UND needs to start developing offensive lineman at a better rate if they want to take the next step. Both of these North Dakota products have a chance to be players in the future.
At linebacker, PWO’s Kaden Wolsky (Carrington, ND) and Luke Herzog (Mendota Heights, MN) are tackling machines that could be guys that really progress with time in the weight room, etc. Very physical kids with great highlight tapes. Wolsky is also a wrestler, which we love in football players. Herzog does a really nice job using his hands and scraping to keep leverage on the edge.
The North Dakota crop of talent in this years class was pretty good. Cornerback recruit Haley Bucholz of Fargo Shanley (ND) is an outstanding athlete and great kid who will fit in nicely on this team. While he’s slated to start off at corner, we feel he could play a couple other positions as well. Defensive end Tanner Thorsness of Bismarck Century (ND) is a big frame (6’4″-230) who reminds us of current DE Carl Engwall.
Fellow DE Luke Lennon (West Fargo, ND) has a big future ahead of him at either DE or TE, depending on his progression and need. His 6’5″ frame will undoubtedly get filled out to around 240-250 pounds. WR Adam Zavalney (Park River, ND) is a wild card at WR. The 6’4″ athlete adds yet another big body into the wide receiver room, which is never a bad thing. We are interested to see him on the field next summer.