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Rolette's Nate Tastad looks to continue small-town Bison success stories with commitment to NDSU

The North Prairie all-state lineman is the second Division I football product from the co-op. Karson Schoening was the first in 2015.

Nate Tastad
North Prairie offensive lineman Nate Tastad blocks a lineman during a 9-man football game in the 2022 season. Tastad verbally committed to play football at North Dakota State earlier this week.
Pam Henderson, Special to WDAY Sports and the Grand Forks Herald.

FARGO โ€” North Dakota State has patented the small-town story of 9-man football standout to Division I success story.

Jeff Illies. Landon Lechler. Bryce Messner. Cordell Volson. Cody Mauch. Nate Tastad is hoping he's the latest in a long line of Bison fan favorites.

The Rolette, North Dakota native announced his commitment to NDSU Thursday, May 11. Tastad is 6-foot-5, 260 pounds and is considered one of the top prospects in the state for the Class of 2024. Tastad was offered by the Bison as a sophomore at North Prairie after attending their summer camp.

"I looked at what they can do to build up a player like me. Everyone has seen it with (Cody) Mauch and (Cordell) Volson, they are the same type of player that I am. I know they can build me up to that point." Tastad said.

"Nate is a small-town kid and I think that helped NDSU a lot with their recruitment." said North Prairie head football coach Josh Keller. "Nate is a kid who watched Karson Schoening play for the Bison. That meant a lot to him."

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Schoening was the last North Prairie Cougar to play Division I football, eventually becoming NDSU's starting center in the 2019 unbeaten season and for the one game that the Bison played in the fall of 2020. Schoening was part of a offensive line that was all North Dakota 9-man produced, ranging from Beach to McVille to Drake. Schoening was also a member of North Prairie's 2015 state runner-up team that lost to Richland in the title game.

North Prairie is a co-op of three towns, Rolla, Rolette and Rock Lake. The Cougars have had a strong run of success with a winning record in 11 of the past 12 seasons. The spotlight got bright on Tastad when he received his first offer from the Bison last June, something that was hard to adjust to for a community that just doesn't get much football attention.

"It was definitely more than I was used to or definitely want to have. People seemed to make it a pretty big deal, today at school it's been a huge deal."

Tastad was a first-team all-state selection this past fall in helping North Prairie to a 10-1 record and a spot in the 9-man semifinals. The Cougars had their season ended by eventual state champion New Salem, 30-26. Playing for the Bison is something that Tastad has been dreaming of since he was eight years old.

"Every Saturday since I was little, I watched them. You go to bed dreaming of being in the same jersey as them and now I'll have that opportunity so it's pretty exciting."

Tastad was part of an offense that averaged 46 points per game this past fall. His blocking has become known around the state. Tastad's quarterback Nathan Mears told the Grand Forks Herald last year: "There's nothing better than calling a quarterback sneak and having 8 yards to run right behind him."

Tastad's recruitment started to take off shortly after NDSU offered him last June. North Dakota offered him in September, followed by visits from the Minnesota and Kansas State coaching staffs. In February, former Bison offensive coordinator Tim Polasek offered Tastad a scholarship to go to Polasek's new school, Wyoming.

"By the end of this, I was ready to commit. I was ready to get done with the recruiting process and just focus on football this summer and fall." Tastad said.

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Tastad becomes the third commitment for the Bison for the Class of 2024, joining Williston's Isiah St. Romain and Fargo North's Peder Haugo.

Dom Izzo is the Sports Director at WDAY-TV. He began working for WDAY in 2006 as the weekend sports anchor and was promoted to Sports Director in 2010.
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