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Offensive lineman Grady coming back to UND football

Elijah Grady's UND football career may have been brief in 2015, but the New Town, N.D., native has always drawn considerable buzz as a regional prospect with immense potential.

On Saturday, Grady confirmed he's coming back to the Fighting Hawks after a year away from the program. He is eligible immediately and has three seasons of eligibility remaining.

"I was still going through a lot last fall and couldn't fully commit to the program," said Grady, who became a father to a daughter in June prior to his freshman season. "It wouldn't be fair to anybody to have one foot in, one foot out."

Grady has talked to UND head coach Bubba Schweigert, offensive coordinator Paul Rudolph and offensive line coach Luke Knauf.

On Friday, the UND coaches needed to hear Grady was 100 percent committed and Grady confirmed.

The 6-foot-5, 295-pound offensive lineman had his redshirt pulled in Week 4 of 2015 against UC Davis. He made his first career start in Week 7 against Weber State.

Grady helped UND rush for 2,645 yards in 2015, for an average of 5.2 yards per carry.

Grady, a multi-sport athlete at New Town, then didn't enroll at UND for the spring semester.

After not rejoining UND, Grady heard from FCS powers Eastern Washington, South Dakota State and North Dakota State.

In hopes of staying near his home on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, Grady considered playing at Minot State or coming back to UND.

"I want a second chance to earn UND's trust," Grady said. "I'm really excited. I love the program."

Grady, who plans to join UND summer workouts in late May, said he had a difficult time navigating life as an 18-year-old father.

"I want to get a degree and be able to support my daughter," said Grady, who's an elementary education major. "That's what it comes down to."

Grady said he tried boxing after he left the football program, but his heart wasn't in the sport. Still, he learned a lesson from boxing that he wants to resonate on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.

"You're going to get knocked down, but it's how you respond and get back up and fight," Grady said. "My mom has taught for 21 years and she calls her students her children. I want to get a minor in coaching and be like that for kids on our reservation."

Tom Miller

Miller has been with the Grand Forks Herald sports department since 2004. He's also a Grand Forks native and UND graduate. 

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