With the UND football program signing a majority of the 2018 recruiting class during the early period in December, coach Bubba Schweigert took the opportunity Wednesday to highlight the walk-on portion of his signees.
In total, UND added eight players -- including four walk-ons -- to the 2018 class during the late signing period.
“We think they’re really important to our program,” Schweigert said of walk-ons. “We want to give local guys an opportunity to play here. Those guys are special. They work hard to prove they can play at that level.”
The walk-ons include Grand Forks’ Zack Murphy, Crookston’s Cade Salentine, Fargo South’s Victor Isaak and Jaelen Johnson of Greendale, Wis.
“As you study walk-ons throughout the years, and you look at your alums, those guys are some of the most loyal,” Schweigert said. “It’s in their heart. They’re driven and a big part of this program, always have been. We look forward to working with those guys.”
In addition to the walk-ons, UND also added scholarship athletes Beau Foix of Virginia, Minn., Marcus Vaughn-Jones of Omaha, Neb., Otis Weah of Moorhead, Minn., and Chavildo van Ommeren of Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Weah, 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds, rushed for 1,815 yards and 20 touchdowns for the Spuds last year.
“We think he’s a hard-nosed running back and came highly recommended,” Schweigert said.
Schweigert described the recruiting class as a whole as “ham and egg-ers,” referencing the overall toughness of the group.
He highlighted the offensive line group of Rain Slater (Winnipeg), Matt Waletzko (Cold Spring, Minn.) and Donny Ventrelli (St. Paul, Minn.) as examples of the hard-nosed mentality the staff tried to recruit this season.
UND didn’t recruit a quarterback in this signing class but Schweigert said the staff is still looking to add a fourth quarterback as a walk-on. Former quarterback Brad Heidlebaugh, of Rugby, N.D., has been moved to wide receiver.
Schweigert said quarterback is a major focus of the 2019 recruiting class.
“That’ll be big for us, and we’ve already started evaluating those guys quite heavily,” he said.