14 To Watch In 2014: #03 – Carlton Littlejohn

Join WDAY sports director Dom Izzo and The Forum’s Jeff Kolpack as they preview 14 NDSU football players to watch as we head into the 2014-2015 season.

Where To Start?

We’re a week away from NDSU opening fall camp and Monday was a busy one on the football news front. Jeff and I conducted our usual season preview interview on Monday morning, look for the TV version coming later this week, but there was a couple of nuggets out of that today to give people a heads up on.

  • Junior Brian Schaetz has battled injuries this entire summer, starting with a broken foot in June suffered during workouts that sidelined him, now a more serious ailment has crept up according to head coach Chris Klieman, a blood clot, that has Schaetz off the field indefinitely. Klieman was not sure when Schaetz would return, but that puts the Bison in a tough spot at defensive tackle, he’s the lone returning player at that position with playing experience. Nate Tanguay, Grant Morgan and Austin Farnlof all have redshirted and have yet to play in a game that counts. It appears two of those players will need a huge fall camp.
  • The second piece of news was also eye-opening and that’s the news that Klieman has toyed with the idea of having senior safety Christian Dudzik play slot wide receiver. Klieman is hoping that one of his young wide receivers either Eric Perkins or Tyler Wrice or even an incoming true freshman can step into the spot formerly occupied by Ryan Smith, but if that doesn’t happen, he says he’s not opposed to having Dudzik get snaps there. Here’s a portion of our interview specifically addressing that topic.
  • Lastly all players are accounted for and should be ready to go for the first day of camp, there’s only one player that won’t be here and that’s running back Eji Ejiya from Blaine, Minnesota who did not qualify academically. Klieman believes the 10 players that were held out of spring practice are all healthy and good to go.

It was a busy recruiting weekend for NDSU as well, picking up Braden Sikes on Friday, that was followed by two more verbals Sunday/Monday. Sunday night Eau Claire safety Jaxon Brown committed to NDSU. Brown had offers from Fordham, UND and SDSU to go along with the Bison, my interview with him from Dizzo’s Den on Monday can be heard here:

Later on Monday, the 6th verbal commitment for the Class of 2015 came in from Champlin Park defensive tackle Jack Darnell, who’s huge, 6’3, 264 pounds, who had offers from UND, Army and SDSU.


We’re just four days into the NFL Training Camp season but it appears Brock Jensen’s run with the Miami Dolphins is over. The Palm Beach Post is reporting that the all-time wins leader in FCS history was released by the Dolphins, after struggles in training and mini-camp. No preseason games have been played yet, which makes me think that Jensen has a chance to get picked up by someone else.

Lastly, Big 10 Commissioner Jim Delaney continues to make friends in the FCS ranks. He reiterated his stance about his conference eliminating games against the FCS, even after he said he knows that some FCS teams rank higher than bottom tier-FBS teams and cost less to schedule, but said it’s less about money, but more on the new strength of schedule model in the College Football Playoff. More on this on Tuesday. Enjoy and digest, the season is nearly here!

14 To Watch In 2014: #04 – Zach Vraa

Join WDAY sports director Dom Izzo and The Forum’s Jeff Kolpack as they preview 14 NDSU football players to watch as we head into the 2014-2015 season.

Braden Sikes: 2015 Commitment #4

We’re not yet to August and NDSU has reached four verbal commitments for the Class of 2015 after Minnetonka product Braden Sikes committed on Friday. Sikes is 6’0, 189 pounds, who will have played three different positions by the time his high school career is done, wide receiver and defensive back and he’ll play quarterback this upcoming fall. The Skipper football program has produced some solid players for NDSU in recent years, namely Josh Colville and Taylor Nelson. Here’s a portion of the interview I did with Sikes on Friday and about his recruitment.

14 To Watch In 2014: #05 – Christian Dudzik

Join WDAY sports director Dom Izzo and The Forum’s Jeff Kolpack as they preview 14 NDSU football players to watch as we head into the 2014-2015 season.

14 To Watch In 2014: #06 – Colten Heagle

Join WDAY sports director Dom Izzo and The Forum’s Jeff Kolpack as they preview 14 NDSU football players to watch as we head into the 2014-2015 season.

Let’s Go Around The Country

Media Days seem to be held each day over the past two weeks as we inch closer to the start of the college football season, so I wanted to take a look at two of the top conferences in the FCS and how things are being projected.

SOUTHLAND - First off the conference expands by three teams this fall, Abilene Christian, Houston Baptist and Incarnate Word all join the league, bringing the conference to 11 teams, so that means teams will miss some schools, much like in the Missouri Valley and the Big Sky. Southeastern Louisiana is the preseason favorite in the conference, the Lions are led by Bryan Bennett at quarterback, the transfer from Oregon. He was sensational last year,

Bryan Bennett is the preseason player of the year candidate in the Southland.

some Bison fans will remember that SELA lost in the final seconds to New Hampshire at home in the FCS quarterfinals or it would have been the Lions coming to Fargo for the FCS semis. Watch week 3 and SELA’s game against Tulane, I believe we’ll see an FCS over FBS win there, intra-state game that’s big for those schools.  McNeese State is loaded as well, the Cowboys were a fluky team last year, running roughshod over South Florida, then getting blown out by Northern Iowa. Sam Houston State is picked 3rd, the Bearkats begin the college football season at Eastern Washington August 23rd, they don’t have to play SELA either this season, the team that eliminated them from the FCS playoffs last year. Incarnate Word is predicted to finish 10th, the Cardinals come to Fargo for NDSU’s home opener on September 13th.


1. SE Louisiana

2. McNeese State

3. Sam Houston State

4. Central Arkansas

5. Northwestern State

T6. Stephen F Austin


8. Abilene Christian

9. Nicholls State

10. Incarnate Word

11. Houston Baptist

CAA - After a couple of down years, the Colonial is ready to re-assert its position as the best league in the FCS. Two teams in the semifinals will help that assertion, New Hampshire and last year’s runner-up Towson and there are some new challengers to the throne that will make this one of the best races in college football this fall. New Hampshire brings nearly everyone back from a team that made a great playoff run; they were out of the playoff mix heading into the final week, then whooped Maine and made a great run to the semis, Sean Goldrich is just a junior at quarterback, and while Bison fans will remember one of his worst nights, he’s a solid signal caller and the Wildcats will be in the mix.

Sean Goldrich leads UNH as the Colonial preseason favorite.

So will the other team nicknamed Wildcats in that league, Villanova, they have been inconsistent since they won the national title and making the final four in 2010. Watch John Robertson, one of the best quarterbacks in FCS, he makes that team go, they could knock off Syracuse in their season opener to really give them a boost. The team that’s a real threat in my mind is William and Mary. Both Sean McDonnell and Rob Ambrose told me last year if there was one defense that was similar to NDSU it was the Tribe. They have their work cut out from them starting at Virginia Tech, but they should be a playoff team. Richmond and Towson figure to be in the mix, I imagine the Tigers to take a step back with the loss of Terrance West, but they still have some solid players back. The league added one team this year, Elon; out of the SoCon.

1. New Hampshire

2. Villanova

3. Richmond

4. William & Mary

5. Towson

6. Delaware

7. Maine

8. James Madison

9. Stony Brook

10. Albany

11. Rhode Island

12. Elon

14 To Watch In 2014: #07 – Kyle Emanuel

Join WDAY sports director Dom Izzo and The Forum’s Jeff Kolpack as they preview 14 NDSU football players to watch as we head into the 2014-2015 season.

More Names For Athletic Director

The deadline to apply for the open athletic director position at NDSU is tomorrow, today I received a new list of candidates for the position to go on top of the six that we had posted back on July 6th:


Jeff Tingey – Athletic Director at Idaho State

Eric Buskirk – Senior Athletic Director at UC Riverside

Daron Montgomery – Athletic Director at UW Stevens Point

Kevin Buisman – Athletic Director at MSU Mankato

Tim Mooney – Associate AD for External Operations at Idaho

David Crum – Sr. Associate AD for Development at Colorado State

Alex Kringen – Sr. Director of Development at Kansas State

Steve Becvar – Associate Athletic Director at San Diego

14 To Watch In 2014: #08 – Ben LeCompte

Join WDAY sports director Dom Izzo and The Forum’s Jeff Kolpack as they preview 14 NDSU football players to watch as we head into the 2014-2015 season.