The Closing Stretch

The Closing Stretch

The first day of February in past years has signaled when things start to get wild in the college football recruiting world. And while that still may be the case, the intensity seems to be gone this year. Maybe it’s the attention of nearly everyone in the region on the Super Bowl, but it seems more likely that the early signing period has stolen away February’s buzz.

We thought this might happen. Most schools were telling their recruits we want you to sign in December. If you don’t we’re likely moving on from you. It’s the natural order of recruiting. NDSU was no exception. They lost prized recruit Ronnie Audette from Elk River just two days before the early signing period opened. Audette committed to Oregon State over the weekend.

NDSU signed 24 players on December 20th, they lost one player that was a preferred walk-on, Mandan’s Trae Steckler, who’s heading to UND. Chris Klieman said in December they were looking at linebacker and wide receiver to fill the final few scholarships and it appears they have done that.

The Bison have added four players over the last two weeks to likely round out the Class of 2018. Notably, Jasir Cox verbally committed last week. Cox is the younger brother of Jabril, the standout linebacker for NDSU, who was named the Missouri Valley Newcomer of the Year. Jasir is 6’2, 210 pounds who played linebacker in high school, racking up 88 tackles during his senior season. Cox’s high school head coach, Jon Holmes joined the Kolpack and Izzo radio show last week and said Cox played safety for them and likely that’s the first spot he’ll get a look at in college.

NDSU then returned to the Sunshine State for three more players and if they get anything close to the production they have from other Florida players, the Bison will be in business. Juanye Tillman, a 5’11, 194 pound linebacker from Winter Park committed on Sunday. Tillman racked up 110 tackles in Class 8A football this past season.

The Bison then netted two wide receivers. One of them is a giant, Zach Mathis, who’s 6’6 from Berkeley Prep High School in Tampa. Mathis had 20 catches for 315 yards and five touchdowns last season for a team that doesn’t throw often. Prep head coach Dominick Ciao told me “Mathis has the best hands I’ve ever seen and did a great job for a team that doesn’t throw a lot.” Mathis had three FBS offers, Boston College, Air Force and UMass. Mathis was a great basketball talent as well. He potentially could be the tall target the Bison have been coveting for years.

They added another wide receiver earlier this week in Jacksonville’s Kenneth Channelle. Channelle is 5’10, 164 pounds from Jean Rhibault High School. He has tremendous speed, Channelle had 11 touchdowns, averaging 23 yards a catch in his junior season. Channelle had an offer from Central Michigan, along with several FCS offers. His speed is intriguing and both he and Mathis could see the field as true freshmen in a spot where NDSU will need some production in 2018.

Florida it seems has become the new pipeline for the Bison that Nebraska and Texas were in the early days of Division 1 recruiting.

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