Even though it hasn’t been officially confirmed by UND, the word is that UND captain Tanner Palmborg is out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.
The injury was sustained last week vs. Montana. QB Dalton Sneed was flushed out of the pocket to his right and Palmborg was rushing up field towards Sneed but tried to quickly plant and break left to stay with Sneed. He fell to the turf immediately. It was the second non-contact knee injury of the season for the Hawks defense. Earlier this year DE Zeke Ott hurt his knee in a similar fashion.
Palmborg has been a fantastic story to follow in his four years in Grand Forks. He came to UND as a preferred walk-on in the Class of 2015. He began his career as a safety and was thrust into the spotlight in his true freshman season due to injuries at that position.
Everyone remembers the Idaho State game from 2015 that UND lost 37-33. It was in that game where safety Cole Reyes got hurt and Palmborg was forced into action. He played admirably off and on the rest of the season showing flashes of his speed and quick twitch ability.
In 2017, Palmborg was moved to outside linebacker and flourished during his time there, seemingly improving by the game. OLB is a position that gets put in premium positions to make plays both in the backfield and in space, something Palmorg was built perfectly for. He was a terror off the edge and repeatedly beat slower tackles around the end. Palmborg led the team in tackles this season with 31 and also had 4.5 TFL’s and 2 sacks.
The depth at the OLB position is now a bit scary. It was thin to begin with but now some moves may need to be made. Jaxson Turner and Jade Lawrence (coming off injury) will be your starters. Austin Gordon, who missed the first four games due to injury and is just working his way back into shape, is a #2. Andre Steiger will be the other #2. So the Top 4 are solid. After that it gets pretty thin with freshman Bryden Swenson and transfer Bryce Crouch providing depth but having no experience.