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Chicago area safety is UND football's first commitment of the 2023 recruiting class

Erkman had four interceptions for Lake Zurich, which plays at the 7A level of Illinois' eight-level system.

TylerErkman.jpg
Tyler Erkman
Submitted photo.
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GRAND FORKS — Tyler Erkman's original recruiting plan was to make a commitment at the end of summer.

But the Lake Zurich (Ill.) safety decided this week he didn't need to string out the process any longer.

Erkman, who's 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds, has announced his verbal commitment to play for the Fighting Hawks — becoming the first UND football commitment of the 2023 recruiting class.

"When I went up there, I loved everything about it," Erkman said. "The coaching staff, the facilities, the campus, the new business building. It felt like a second home."

Erkman's first interaction with UND was with the Fighting Hawks' newest assistant Steve Crutchley, a former Temple assistant, who visited Lake Zurich. Erkman also spoke on the phone with UND recruiting coordinator Joel Schwenzfeier a number of times.

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Lake Zurich, about 40 miles northwest of Chicago, is a town of about 20,000.

Lake Zurich High School plays at the 7A level of Illinois' eight-class system. The team was 5-5 last fall, losing in the first round of the playoffs.

Erkman had 21 tackles, four interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery on defense, where he primarly plays cornerback but acts as a safety at times depending on the coverage.

"I'm definitely the centerfielder type," Erkman said. "I'm a ballhawk who wants to go make plays, but I can also come up and make a tackle."

On offense, Erkman played wide receiver and had 23 grabs for 450 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged 19.57 yards per catch. He added 10 carries for 77 yards.

Erkman hasn't ruled out an offensive future in college.

"After talking to the North Dakota coaches, they can see me as a wide receiver, too, so it depends when I get up there," Erkman said. "I'm super excited about (my commitment). It's a lot of stress off my back. Making that decision and feeling at home was a huge thing for me."

Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, tmiller@gfherald.com or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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