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UND football fall camp Day 11: Outside linebackers have waited their turn

UND will look to replace the experience and production of 2021 starting outside linebackers Ty Shannon and Jaxson Turner.

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UND head football coach Bubba Schweigert watches the progress of the Fighting Hawks' first morning practice of the fall season at Memorial Stadium in Grand Forks on Wednesday, August 3, 2022.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS — UND's starting outside linebackers in 2021, Jaxson Turner and Ty Shannon, were in Grand Forks for a combined 11 years.

Both Turner and Shannon utilized an extra senior season in 2021 when the NCAA said the 2021 shortened spring season didn't count against a year of eligibility.

So as UND turns the page to 2022, the outside linebacker position group is collectively chomping at the bit at the newly opened playing time.

The top four options at outside linebacker in 2022 will be Josh Navratil, Aaron Cooper, Marcus Vaughn-Jones and Ted Mullin.

More UND football news
The Fighting Hawks will face a run-heavy opponent in Youngstown State, a program entering the matchup with questions at quarterback.

Vaughn-Jones and Mullin are entering their fifth season on campus. Both have had tastes of game experience but will now have an opportunity for significant playing time for the first time in their careers.

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Cooper was a three-year starter at Cal Poly before graduate transferring to UND.

Navratil, a junior from Pine Island, Minn., played as a redshirt freshman with major impact in 2021 spring wins over Southern Illinois, South Dakota State and South Dakota.

Navratil had 4.0 sacks in the spring and was poised to break out in 2021. However, Navratil was injured against North Dakota State and missed all but one game the rest of the season. He returned against Illinois State, registering a sack and a fumble recovery in a 14-7 UND win.

Navratil is considered UND's most complete outside linebacker, while Cooper excels with his experience and smarts.

Beyond the top four outside linebackers, UND will have two others pushing to break through in the emerging Dylan Boecker and former safety Matt Koshiol.

Boecker, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound Menomonie, Wis., product, came to Grand Forks as a walk-on.

Koshiol is a 6-2, 215-pound Cold Spring, Minn., native who started his UND career at safety. He's still learning his new position but has the physical tools to emerge as he enters his junior season.

Day 11 notes

The scene: UND practiced indoors at the Pollard Center from 8:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. in shorts.

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Play of the day: Wide receiver Nate Demontagnac had to adjust his route to an underthrown Tommy Schuster deep ball and dove to make the grab, despite some holding from his defensive back.

Looking good: Elijah Klein continued his impressive practice performance when he caught a 50-yard touchdown from Tommy Schuster against busted coverage.

Other Day 11 notes

  • The center-quarterback exchange caused UND problems all practice — both with quarterbacks under center and in the shotgun.
  • The buzz of fall camp, Red Wilson, was a full participant at practice after he went down with an injury Thursday.
  • UND worked extensively on interior runs, with Tyler Hoosman, Isaiah Smith and Gaven Ziebarth handling most of the work for the backs.
  • Wide receiver Jack Wright was busy in team drills with a handful of catches short and over-the-middle.
  • Cornerback Edmund Ocansey, a redshirt freshman, made an impressive pass breakup on a Simon Romfo ball for Tyler Burian.
  • Starting defensive linemen Jalen Morrison and Jaelen Johnson each registered "sacks" in the non-contact team work.
  • Tommy Schuster completed a perfectly timed pass to Adam Zavalney when Schuster noticed a cornerback blitz coming and led Zavalney toward the sideline of the oncoming blitzer.
  • Rookie defensive lineman Kendis Ledbetter batted down a Trey Feeney attempt for Red Wilson at the line of scrimmage.
  • Backup center Peyton Lotysz made an athletic block out in space to spring Isaiah Smith on a well-designed screen pass.
  • Kicker Brady Stevens, who has performed well this fall, missed a 51-yard attempt wide left.
  • UND will hold its only scrimmage of fall camp tomorrow morning at about 8:45 a.m.
  • The annual media day will follow the scrimmage.
Related Topics: UND FOOTBALLUND SPORTS
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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