5 things to know about UND football’s second signing day – Grand Forks Herald

5 things to know about UND football’s second signing day – Grand Forks Herald

GRAND FORKS — The UND football program announced four additional additions to the 2023 recruiting class in the NCAA’s second signing period on Wednesday.

UND signed 28 prospects during the initial signing period in December.

UND’s four additions included two from North Dakota and two from Illinois. The North Dakotans are linebacker Velva Payton Bodine and receiver Fargo Shanley Vuciri Hakim. The Illinois natives are wide receiver Korey Tai (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) and linebacker Emmet Wolf (Park Ridge, Ill.).

Fighting Hawks coach Bubba Schweigert spoke to the media Wednesday afternoon. Here are the five biggest takeaways.

1. Bodine has interesting bloodlines

Bodine, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound favorite, will come to Grand Forks like his father Rob did in 1987.

After one season with UND, Rob tried out for Clemson and was a starting nose guard from 1989-91, helping Clemson to a 29-6-1 record in those three years.

As a senior at Clemson in 1991, Clemson Hall of Famer Rob recorded 27 tackles for loss and was named a first-team All-American.

“A pretty impressive lineage,” said UND coach Bubba Schweigert. “The Bodine family has been a big athletic family in North Dakota. This young man’s best years are ahead of him. We saw him as a junior. He couldn’t make it to camp due to some personal situations and that held back a bit of his recruiting. He really developed throughout the year. After the first day of signing he was a young guy, we wanted to bring him to campus and show him what it was all about. He has a great future. The family situation really. He’s been in a competitive sporting atmosphere for a long time.”

2. Recruiting never stops

The four UND additions announced Wednesday are all high school products. Transfer recruitment will continue throughout the spring and summer.

For example, UND did not receive a commitment from Northern Iowa transfer running back Tyler Hoosman last offseason until May.

“We know that high school recruitment is always our primary focus in our program,” Schweigert said. “We have to be a development program and do a great job. But the transfer portal is part of it. We were able to take advantage of it. Last fall it helped us. This spring it will help us. Those guys are working with our squad at the moment. We want to continue to take advantage of the transfer portal. It will be an ongoing process. We look forward to adding guys to improve our squad.

During the first signing period in December, UND announced transfers from Division I Wesley Eliodor (wide receiver, South Dakota), Jake Saltonstall (defensive end, New Mexico State) and Jeffrey Griffin Jr. (guard- nose, northern Illinois).

3. Running back and defensive back are necessities

Schweigert was asked about specific positions the program could target through the transfer portal. He designated a senior running back to replace Hoosman and help with safety.

As running back, UND fires Isaiah Smith, Luke Skokna and Gaven Ziebarth. Hoosman completed 176 of the team’s 406 carries and 1,023 of the team’s 1,771 rushing yards.

UND lost starting safety Jayson Coley at the transfer gate this offseason. Coley has since signed with Murray State.

“We take a lot of time to build relationships with the portal guys,” Schweigert said. “Guys in December it goes fast. Now you have more time to develop relationships and find the best fit for your program. Guys have to really want to be here. It’s important for the program which we found very good adjustments. Tyler “It was last year. Barty Ogbu was a good candidate. There were others too. The guys here now are blending in and understanding our team culture.”

4. Strong recovery on track

UND started the 2022 season with Sammy Fort at safety in Nebraska. The converted cornerback was injured against the Cornhuskers and missed the rest of the season.

Schweigert received positive reports of Fort’s recovery.

“Our (physiotherapists) have done a great job and they’re working with a great young man who wants to come back,” Schweigert said. “He’s a little ahead of schedule. By summer, it should be 100%.

Fort won’t be a full participant in the Spring Ball, but might be able to get through some of the mental work.

Schweigert said UND missed Fort’s physical play and leadership in 2022.

“He had been light years ahead of where he was the year before in knowing the system and doing the checks,” Schweigert said. “We really rely on Sammy for leadership. We lost him when he got injured. We really like his physical game and he can teach the younger guys in the program.”

5. More contacts expected in spring

UND will begin the spring ball on February 20, which is earlier than many programs. Schweigert said he’s been getting calls from other coaches considering a similar schedule.

“You have a longer recovery period (if a player is injured) before you start summer training,” Schweigert explained. “You want to look your best at the start of fall camp.”

But starting camp early isn’t completely new to UND. However, Schweigert said he was going to change things up at the spring ball this year.

“I think you’ll see us really focus on developing young guys and letting them go for the action,” he said. “You get three scrums and we’ll take advantage of that and really let the youngsters show what they can do. We need to do the best job we can to assess our youngsters and see if they can help us in the fall.”

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