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UND football fall camp Day 8: Travel decisions will be tough at wide receiver

The Fighting Hawks typically travel eight wide receivers to away games and making that cutoff will be a challenge in 2022.

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UND defensive lineman Jalen Morrison, center, leads the team in warmups prior to the first Fighting Hawks morning football practice of the season on Wednesday, August 3, 2022 at Memorial Stadium in Grand Forks.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS — The UND football team typically takes eight wide receivers to road games.

In 2022, the Fighting Hawks decision-makers are going to have some difficult choices to make with perhaps the team's deepest position group.

UND's wide receiver group starts with the proven production from Garett Maag and Bo Belquist.

Marcus Preston will also likely travel as a player with some past production, while rising talents Elijah Klein and Red Wilson are the next in line to make the charter flights.

After that, UND's sixth, seventh and eighth wide receivers will likely be chosen based on special teams contributions.

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So among a group of Jack Wright, Tyler Burian, Nate Demontagnac, Nick Kupfer and Caden Dennis, the travel distinction will be an ongoing fight.

More UND football news
The Fighting Hawks improved to 3-2 overall and 2-1 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference by putting up 515 yards of total offense against Missouri State.

Wright, one of the country's all-time most productive high school players from a small school in Oklahoma, makes up for a lack in height and speed with pure instincts and a knack for production in his role.

Burian, a Grand Forks Red River product, has the size and speed to be a factor. He made one of the best catches of 2021 with a diving scoring grab at Utah State before missing the rest of the season with an injury. Burian also brings value on special teams.

Demontagnac, who hails from the same Canadian school as quarterback Quincy Vaughn, broke out with an impressive spring ball a few months ago. He has some of the explosiveness UND has been missing but has yet to prove his ability on Saturdays.

Kupfer is a second-year wide receiver still emerging as he physically matures. Kupfer, a standout high school basketball player out of Bismarck Legacy, has shown an ability to compete for balls down the field.

The coaching staff is still gathering information about Caden Dennis, a promising true freshman from Missouri. Dennis has the jets to provide a missing deep threat from past seasons, but he's also in need of strength and conditioning at the college level.

Day 8 notes

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

Play of the day: Trey Feeney hit Nick Kupfer on a long 50-50 ball down the sideline that required full extension from Kupfer.

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Looking good: Adam Zavalney was active in the passing game for much of practice, serving as a reminder that the tight end from Park River is one of the league's best.

Other Day 8 notes

  • UND started practice with 1-on-1 matchups between receivers and defensive players. Wide receiver Elijah Klein and defensive back Cole Davis had wins that drew the biggest raves from the onlookers.
  • Trey Feeney, a young Moorhead product at quarterback, had his best practice of the fall as he was on point with most of his passes.
  • Tommy Schuster continued to have a comfortability with veteran wide receiver Garett Maag on a nice throw between a cornerback and a safety down the sideline.
  • New starter Ben McNaboe drew a loud ovation from his sideline when he chased down a quarterback on a team passing play.
  • Tight end Max Gunderson, a former high school quarterback at Detroit Lakes, found himself open a few times for big gains.
  • Rookie linebacker Logan Doell blew up one run play in 11-on-11 work during a rush from Grant Romfo.
  • Rookie quarterback Colton Hackel of Perham showcased his explosive rushing ability. Hackel's runs were reminiscient of another No. 9 at QB in Brett Goska. Hackel might have a future as an offensive wrinkle with his ability to run the ball.
  • As mentioned previously, these daily writeups won't dive much into injuries. However, the talk of fall camp, transfer wide receiver Red Wilson, had his first day without a big play. That's because he was banged up during drills. What appeared to have an initial look as a serious setback (the Pollard Center went dead quiet), coaches later were optimistic it was a short-term injury.
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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