FARGO — The crack that Courtney Eubanks fell through was so big that it extended from St. Petersburg, Fla., all the way to North Dakota State. And the Bison were more than happy to be there for a safe landing.

It was a quick trip down Recruiting Avenue, a process that took less than two weeks, said Bison head coach Matt Entz.

“We started talking to him with the idea he had started losing some traction with some other schools,” he said. “Some other schools started to fill up and there was the possibility of us getting a big-time get from an area we’re familiar with.”

The 5-10, 175-pound cornerback made it official on Wednesday by signing his letter of intent. Eubanks was joined by wide receiver DJ Hart from Suwanee, Ga., running back Nathan Goldade from West Fargo Sheyenne, defensive tackle Bryce Friday from Markeson, Wis., fullback Jesse Hastings from Woonsocket, S.D., and kicker Nathan Whiting from Rosemount, Minn.

Eubanks and Hart are scholarship players and the other four are preferred walkons. They will be joined by 24 players who signed in the early period in December. Goldade verbally committed in October but had to wait until Wednesday to finish the paperwork.

It was the second straight year NDSU went to Georgia and Florida late in the recruiting process. It’s not always cut and dry, with the time of researching the character of a recruit being of the essence.

“That becomes the No. 1 task when we start looking at some of these late guys,” Entz said. “Part of the reason I was in Georgia and I was in Florida was so we could get in and talk to the ADs, head coaches and people surrounding the program and make sure we’re getting the right type of kid.”

The success of Bison true freshman running back Kobe Johnson from Lawrenceville, Ga., helped land Hart. Johnson, in fact, was Hart’s host on his official visit. The towns of Lawrenceville and Suwanee are 11 miles apart.

“They all knew about Kobe and his success here,” Entz said about visiting schools in Hart’s area north of Atlanta.

Hart had a scholarship offer from the University of Maryland after his junior season of high school. But Maryland changed head coaches and Hart’s offer also changed. He had offers at FBS New Mexico and New Mexico State, but didn’t pursue them.

The 6-foot, 180-pound Hart led the state of Georgia in punt return yards with 734. He had 30 receptions for 639 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Eubanks’ high school coach at Admiral Farragut Academy, Rick Kravitz, said he had around 30 scholarship offers at some point. That included a laundry list of FBS schools like Nebraska, Cincinnati, South Florida, Wake Forest, Rutgers and Pittsburgh.

“The thing you have to keep in mind, the schools are you naming off all had 200, 250 offers out at some point,” Entz said. “That’s just becoming the common theme for Power Five schools or a lot of schools out there who are over-offering. If a kid doesn’t jump at something early, those offers start to dry up or schools start pulling offers and with Courtney that was the case.”

Entz said NDSU potentially could have attracted more players if it had more scholarships available. And he said it’s a philosophical issue he’ll have to address: How many does the program save for the late signing period?

“Because there are so many offers from Power Five schools and the big schools early,” Entz said. “I think we need to do a better job tracking some kids later because you can’t take them all and some of these guys fall through the cracks and that’s where NDSU needs to make its hay.”

A critical connection to NDSU was Bison true freshman Cam Smith, who is also from Farragut Academy.

“That eased the transition for us,” Entz said.

Goldade missed his senior season because of a knee injury. He was a first team all-state pick as a junior and rushed for 1,712 yards and 27 touchdowns in his career.

The 6-4, 240-pound Friday had 119 tackles, eight quarterback sacks and four blocked kicks in his career. The 5-11, 229-pound Hastings, from Mount Vernon High School, set the South Dakota high school record for touchdowns in a season with 32 and TDs in a career with 90.

Whiting finished his career fourth in Minnesota state history for career field goals made with his 18 of 24 accuracy. He was 6 of 6 his senior year with a long of 42 yards.

Yaggie, Hoggarth leave team, but not school

Two area players on the Bison roster decided to give up football, but will remain in school at NDSU. Redshirt freshman free safety Ben Hoggarth from Fargo Oak Grove and sophomore wide receiver Carson Yaggie from Breckenridge, Minn., were scout team players last year and probably destined for the same role next season.

Yaggie, Entz said, has a job on campus in the agriculture department and will graduate in May.

Feb. 5 commitments

Courtney Eubanks, CB, 5-10, 175, St. Petersburg, Fla.

Bryce Friday, DT, 6-4, 240, Markesan, Wis.

Nathan Goldade, RB, 5-10, 202, West Fargo Sheyenne

DJ Hart, WR, 6-0, 180, Suwanee, Ga.

Jesse Hastings, FB, 5-11, 229, Woonsocket, S.D.

Nathan Whiting, K, 5-11, 201, Rosemount, Minn.



2020 signing class

Seth Anderson, OL/DL, 6-5, 253, Moorhead

Oscar Benson, LB, 6-0, 180, Hillsboro, N.D.

Jack Bram, TE, 6-3, 215, Maryville, Mo.

Courtney Eubanks, CB, 5-10, 175, St. Petersburg, Fla.

Dominic Gonnella, RB, 5-11, 190, Riverview, Fla.

Tyson Gordon, S, 6-2, 177, Omaha

DJ Hart, WR, 6-0, 180, Suwanee, Ga.

Nolan Jacobs, DT, 6-2, 243, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

TK Marshall, RB, 5-11, 189, Minneapolis Southwest

Cam Miller, QB, 6-1, 205, Solon, Iowa

Mason Miller, OL, 6-6, 232, Ada, Minn.

Raja Nelson, WR, 5-8, 175, Lakeville, Minn.

Loshiaka Roques, DE, 6-3, 215, Maple Grove, Minn.

Ty Satter, S, 6-1, 167, Fargo Davies

Marques Sigle, CB, 5-10, 170, Omaha

Joe Stoeffel, TE, 6-3, 234, River Falls, Wis.

Cole Wisniewski, LB, 6-3, 189, Sparta, Wis.

Grey Zabel, OL, 6-5, 247, Pierre, S.D.

Recruited walk-ons

Andre Carrier, TE, 6-3, 197, Cavalier, N.D.

Joseph Deyak, WR, 6-2, 190, West St. Paul, Minn.

Bryce Friday, DT, 6-4, 240, Markesan, Wis.

Nathan Goldade, RB, 5-10, 202, West Fargo Sheyenne

Jesse Hastings, FB, 5-11, 229, Woonsocket, S.D.

Hayden Johnston, OL, 6-1, 259, Albert Lea, Minn.

Sam Jung, S, 5-10, 175, Neenah, Wis.

Joe Kava, DT, 5-11, 229, Fargo Shanley

Nick Radunz, OL, 6-3, 295, Becker, Minn.

Trey Steinbach, DE, 6-3, 220, Marshall, Minn.

Tyler Terhark, WR, 6-2, 192, West Fargo Sheyenne

Nathan Whiting, K, 5-11, 201, Rosemount, Minn.