NDSU has long dominated the recruiting landscape across the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. An offer from the Bison holds a lot of weight across these states as HS athletes are well versed in the history of the FCS powerhouse, and many are itching for their chance to carry that tradition of dominance into the future. Despite seniors just beginning their final HS seasons we have already seen several athletes from across the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin announce their commitments to the Bison. Today, we are going to dive into the nine athletes who have made that commitment, and see what they have to offer when they arrive in Fargo.
Abraham Meyers, DL- South Dakota
The 6’4″ 215 lbs DE out of Sioux Falls Washington High School is a big time get for the Bison. In Prep Redzone Dakotas most recent rankings update, Abraham came in as the #5 overall player in the Dakotas, and the #2 DL in the area. I clicked on the Hudl highlights from his junior season, and right off the bat we see Abraham’s superior talent. Despite weighing only 215 lbs, the long, lean edge defender demonstrates impressive strength at the point of attack. He is able to stand up OTs on the edge when stopping the run, and he can take on pulling linemen. Abraham is a very intelligent player as well. You won’t catch him just flying up field taking himself out of the play. Instead, he gets to the heels of the OL, breaks down, finds the ball, and squeezes down the line to the ball. The playmaker is stout against the run, and will only become even more stout as he fills out his frame. As a pass rusher, Meyers is raw when it comes to his pass rush repertoire, but there are examples of his swim move as well as a spin move. The more natural those moves become the more disruptive he will be. The natural burst out of his stance, and his power will give him plenty of paths to the QB if he can develop his moves. I’m looking forward to seeing how the DL is shaped and used once he hits campus. Check out his Hudl highlights below!
Brennan Palmer, DL- North Dakota
Our next recruit comes from within the hometown of Fargo, ND. The 6’4″ 240 lbs DL out of Fargo Davies elected to stay home and join the Bison on June 28. The DL currently sits at #19 overall on the Prep Redzone Dakotas rankings, and #6 among DL in the Dakotas. When comapring Brennan to Meyers above it is cear to see that the Bison’s coachign staff has a type when it comes to DL propsects. They want long, lean prospects who, despite being slightly undersized for the position, clearly have superior strength allowing them to control the trenches. Palmer is further along in his frame’s development, but he still has that next level size to add to be able to hold up in the trenches. Yet, his highlights show that standout strength as he holds the line of scrimmage agisnt the run. Check ou tthe highlights of the trench mosnter below!
Oliver Lucht, LB- North Dakota
Next up, we return to Fargo and Fargo Davies High School for the All State LB. Oliver is currently ranked at WR2 in the Dakotas, and #23 overall, but he projects to play LB for the Bison. The 6’2″ 210 lbs athlete is a three down LB for Fargo Davies, and he has the tools to translate that same type of impact to NDSU’s defense. Oliver has the range to make plays, and pursue, sideline to sideline. His ability to quickly diagnose plays will be key to his success at the next level. That ability allows him to put himself in position to make plays both against the run and pass. It allows him to avoid blocks in the run game, and also drop into position in his zone to make plays on the ball in the pass game. Those athleticism and recognition traits have me excited for his potential, and he already has the size of many of the Bison’s current LBs. Keep an eye out for Oliver when he makes it to campus.
Jack Liwienski, DL- Minnesota
The 6’3″ 285 lbs DL out of Minnetonka HS is another defensive trench monster that the Herd will be looking towards to make an impact during his time in Fargo. Jack currently sits as the #13 overall player in the Class of 2023 out of MN, and the #5 DL in the state. He also plays center, and I could see him playing either side for the Bison. We will look at him on defense today. The big man is the first interior DL out of the three DL that we have covered so far. The film should get fans of the Herd excited. Jack has impressive spring out of his stance at the snap for his size, and he transitions that speed into power allowing him to power through blocks and into the backfield. His ability to collapse the pocket against the pass could be key to his impact for the Bison. Jack also demonstrates the range to be able to pursue down the line. Lastly, his quick hands and swim move have consistently helped him disengage with blocks. Liwienski has the tools to be a cornerstone in the trenches for the Bison.
Beau Johnson, OL- Minnesota
Coming to us from Spring Lake Park HS is the 6’7″ 260 lbs OL. Beau sits at #14 overall in the Class of 2023 according to Prep Redzone MN, and the #5 OL. The Bison have began a strong stretch of developing OL that have what it takes to not only anchor their OL, but also continue playing at the next level. An athlete looking to be next up in that line of impactful OL is Beau Johnson. Before he can do that Beau will need time to fill out his frame that looks ready to hold a lot more muscle and overall size. NDSU’s current linemen are sitting around 300 lbs, and there is plenty of space to add 40 lbs to Johnson’s frame. Looking at the tape, Beau is highly experienced in the run game. He is well versed in double teaming up to the second level, or getting to the second level right off the snap. His range is next level ready. Before he can hit the game field, Beau will need to prove his pass blocking is up to par as his highlights heavily rely on his run blocking success. When he can prove that, as well as fill out his frame, we will see Beau fight for a starting spot. The potential is high here.
Keenan Wilson, DL- Minnesota
NDSU clearly has a plan to find impact trench monsters on the defensive side of the ball. Next up is the 6’2″ 280 lbs DL out of Eagan HS in Minnesota. Keenan is the #16 overall player in the MN Class of 2023 according to Prep Redzone MN, and the #6 DL in the state. The big man possesses freakish athleticism that jumps off the highlights on his Hudl account. His burst off the line is eye opening, as is his violent, heavy hands. His lateral quickness is next level ready. You can see it repeatedly getting him the leverage advantage allowing him to only have to beat half a man, and also allow shim to get skinny and slip through gaps between linemen. Keenan also has the long speed that he has used to chase down ball carriers downfield. Pound for pound, Wilson is in the running for most athletic recruit in this article. If he can improve on the strength side of his game, and get that to more evenly match his athleticism then we will have a candidate for an early impact player.
Austin Schultz, OL- Minnesota
Our final MN recruit comes to us from Moorhead HS in MN. Schultz is a 6’4″ 290 lbs OL. He currently ranks as the #81 overall player in Minnesota’s Class of 2023, and the #10 OL in the state. The Bison clearly want to own the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball based off their current incoming recruits. Austin is going to fit right into that plan. As soon as you turn on the highlights you see a lineman with heavy hands. The type of heavy hands that send defenders to the ground right off the initial punch. Austin’s lower half is just as powerful as his hands. He easily drives defenders off the ball and deep into the second level. I love his nasty, aggressive play style and finish to his plays. His tenacity will be a tone setter if he can work his way into the lineup while in Fargo. I can see Austin staying at RT or moving inside for the Bison where he can use that nasty mentality and power to anchor the pocket and move IDL off the ball. I’m an early fan of the OL.
Jaiden Pickett, ATH- Wisconsin
Jaiden is one of the more exciting incoming recruits because there is such a wide variety of what he can do for the Bison. The 6’3″ 190 lbs ATH is ranked as the #12 overall player in the WI Class of 2023 and the #1 DB in the state according to Prep Redzone WI. Not only is his future bright, but he also does it all for his HS team as well. Jaiden was an award winning, All State DL, made plays in coverage, and has the athleticism to play on the back half of the defense. The playmaker has a knack for being wherever the ball is. IF he can carry that over to the Bison then we will have an early impact athlete on our hands. With his range, burst, twitchiness, and change of direction, Jaiden can be relied on in space. If he sticks on defense I could see him finding a home at LB or safety for the Herd. He has had success at every level of the defense in HS. It will be up to the coaching staff to find where he fits best in Fargo. I can’t wait to see where he ends up, and fans should be pumped as well!
Josiah Azure, LB- Wisconsin
The 6’2″ 220 lbs LB out of Bay Port HS in WI is a special talent in the making. Despite very little experience playing football, Azure currently sits as the #16 overall player in the WI Class of 2023 and the #3 LB. The 1st Team All State LB, and conference DPOY comes to us as a dominant OLB. He perfectly fits into how NDSU uses their LBs. He can line up on the edge or play off the ball. His range allows him to make plays all over the field and chase down plays in the backfield. The OLB also has the stoutness, and power to hold the edge against pulling linemen, disengage with them, and make the play for no gain. Josiah is one of the more sure tacklers in WI, and he can pack a punch when he gets the chance. I think Azure projects as a strong side LB for the Herd thanks to his size, strength, and stoutness. With such little experience we are far from seeing the best that Azure has to offer. He will be in position to make serious strides in Fargo.