UND FOOTBALL: Recruiting class starts to take shape
UND's first big recruiting weekend under new head coach Bubba Schweigert has already started to collect some verbal commitments.
The list of UND's known verbals grew to seven on Sunday as quarterback Keaton Studsrud of St. Louis Park, Minn., linebacker Dylan Harmston of Menomonie, Wis., and tight end Luke Fiedler of Orlando, Fla., committed to the program after a campus visit.
The trio joins Develyn Ferguson (Wauwatosa, Wis., wide receiver), Deion Harris (Hibbing, Minn., safety), Drew Greely (Wayzata, Minn., defensive end) and Joe Montague (Minnetonka, Minn., defensive back) as the expected incoming 2014 signing class.
UND had 10 players on campus, a number that included a few of the previous verbal commits. National signing day is Feb. 5.
Harmston, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound outside linebacker, was sold on the plan of Schweigert.
"The coaching staff I have at my high school is a lot like this staff: They're about dedication, accountability and winning," Harmston said. "Everyone I met was nice and helpful. Everyone kept telling me Grand Forks is a special place and after two days, I could see it."
Harmston, an all-state selection as a senior, had been in contact with UND wide receivers coach Danny Freund a couple of months ago. Freund is one of two holdovers on Schweigert's staff from former UND coach Chris Mussman's assistant pool.
A week after Schweigert was hired around Christmas Day, he called Harmston to offer.
"I was lucky enough to have a lot of Division II offers," Harmston said. "But I didn't have the right feel anywhere else. It wasn't in my gut.
"My family also loved it. My dad was all about North Dakota."
Schweigert sold Harmston on his defensive schemes, especially as an outside linebacker -- a key piece to the attacking nature of Schweigert-coached defenses.
"They had a plan for me," Harmston said. "Other colleges didn't have that. They really care about this and getting the program back."
UND was also able to lock up a quarterback in Studsrud, who possess a dual-threat style. He also had an offer from South Alabama and preferred walk-on offers from Northern Illinois and the University of Minnesota.
"The people and the coaching staff were real genuine," Studsrud said. "I was impressed with how organized the staff was for not being together long. They had it all down to a tee."
UND was the first school to send Studsrud a recruiting letter as a high school junior and Freund stayed in contact with Studsrud during the program's coaching hire process.
"That's one thing I really liked," Studsrud said. "It shows a lot. (Freund) didn't even know if he had a job, and he was still reaching out to me."
Studsrud, at 6-2 and 185 pounds, threw for 1,555 yards and 18 touchdowns for Benilde-St. Margaret's. He also rushed for 797 yards and 10 touchdowns as he was named the Northwest Suburban Conference most valuable player.
The three-year starter led Benilde-St Margaret's, a Class AAAA program, to a conference title for the first time in 10 years.
UND went out of its typical recruiting footprint to land a tight end. Fiedler is 6-5, 215 pounds and played at Orlando Freedom High School.
Ferguson, a 6-1 wide receiver at Wauwatosa West High School, said he remains committed to UND, despite the coaching change. Ferguson, who was UND's first commit before Mussman was let go, was on the campus visit this weekend.
"When I committed, I committed to a university with a great tradition of football," Ferguson said. "I did not commit to a coach. UND will be my home."