New Bison coach says recruits stuck with program

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FARGO, N.D. (AP) - New North Dakota State head coach Chris Klieman on Wednesday said the departure of previous head coach Craig Bohl and most of his staff to Wyoming did not cost the Bison on the recruiting trail, or in this case the re-recruiting trail.

“We got the kids we wanted,” Klieman said in announcing a new crop of 21 scholarship recruits who signed national letters of intent, including 20 freshmen and one transfer from Nebraska, where Bohl played and honed his coaching skills before leading the Bison to three straight Football Championship Subdivision titles.

“And most importantly, if you ask anyone on our team, you’ve got to want to be a Bison,” Klieman continued. “There’s something special about being a Bison and none of us as coaches are going to beg a kid to come here. This group of guys, they all wanted to be here.”

The Bison have plenty of room on their roster with the loss of 24 seniors. The new class includes 13 players projected to play on offense and eight on defense. The only quarterback to sign, Easton Stick of Omaha, Neb., was considered a high priority after setting several records at Creighton Prep School.

“He came to our (summer) camp and lit it up. He did an unbelievable job at our camp,” Klieman said of Stick. “It was really a no-brainer as our staff in the quarterback position. We always try to take one a year and he was the guy we had tagged and earmarked as the guy we wanted.”

Stick’s favorite wide receiver at Creighton Prep, RJ Urzendowski, also signed with the Bison. Klieman said Stick and Urzendowski, who caught 70 passes his senior year, were not guaranteed as a package deal and coaches worked hard to land both players.

The Bison inked four players from North Dakota, including defensive end Stanley Jones, who set a single-season state sack record while playing for Bismarck in 2012. The others are safety Eric Bachmeier of Kindred, Luke Bacon of Granville and Tanner Volson of Balfour.

The class includes four from Minnesota, three from Wisconsin, three from Nebraska, and one each from South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Michigan and Florida. Running back King Frazier is the transfer who played for the Cornhuskers.

There were some familiar names and places among the group. Tight end Nate Jenson is from Waupaca, Wis., the same high school that produced quarterback Brock Jensen, the starter for all three FCS titles. Cornerback Dakota Reid is from Morgan Park High School in Chicago, where former Bison and current NFL linebacker Joe Mays was a standout.

Klieman, who was promoted to head coach from defensive coordinator, said the new staff went back to the same living rooms that he, Bohl and the former assistant coaches visited in the last 18 months.

“Even if we felt they were solid, we went out there and re-recruited those kids,” Klieman said.

Another new Division I coach in the state, the University of North Dakota’s Kyle “Bubba” Schweigert, announced the addition of 21 signees on Wednesday. That included North Dakota high school players Austin Cieslak, a defensive lineman from Hazen, and long snapper Jacob Holmen of Minot.

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