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UND football tapping into strong in-state 2019 recruiting class

Haley Bucholz of Shanley makes a touchdown run against Bismarck St. Mary's during their football game Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, at Shanley, Fargo.

The UND football program’s 2019 recruiting class is still in its early stages, but the group already has some North Dakota-grown flavor.

Of UND’s five verbal commitments, the Fighting Hawks have two North Dakotans -- Fargo Shanley cornerback Haley Bucholz and Bismarck Century defensive end Tanner Thorsness.

Two early North Dakotans is a significant in-state start considering the program’s highest number of scholarships given to in-state recruits during the Bubba Schweigert era is three in 2015.

UND’s 2018, 2016 and 2014 recruiting classes featured two scholarship North Dakotans, while 2017 didn’t have any but the program did add Fargo South running back James Johannesson, who transferred from the University of Minnesota.

Bucholz, who is  6-foot-2 and 175 pounds, was a first team all-state defensive back last year for the Deacons, who lost to Bismarck St. Mary’s in the Class AA championship game.

“For me, it was how at home I felt when I toured campus,” Bucholz said. “Being around the coaches and how honest and great they were with me, it made me feel at home.

“I grew up in Fargo, went to a lot of NDSU games but UND just connected with me and I felt really comfortable there. I couldn’t pass it up.”

Thorsness, who is 6-4 and 235 pounds, was an all-state defensive end last year for the Patriots, who lost to Minot in the Class AAA state semifinals.

He had nine sacks in his junior year, as well as 58 tackles.

“UND was always there and asking about my family,” Thorsness said. “They don’t just want you for football. They also want you to be a better man.”

UND’s 2017 roster featured eight scholarship in-state athletes and eight walk-ons from North Dakota.

That number could rise with a 2019 recruiting class that has shown plenty of in-state interest.

At North Dakota State, the Bison have received verbals from Dickinson Trinity running back Kaden Kuntz and Fargo South tight end Dawson Weisenberger.

A few other in-state recruits are still undecided on their college futures.

West Fargo tight end Luke Lennon, the nephew of former UND coach Dale Lennon, is considered a Division I prospect.

In-state quarterbacks Jesse Forknell (Fargo Davies) and Parker Sander (West Fargo) have made recruiting trips to Grand Forks, as have Fargo Davies tight end Jaden Klabo and West Fargo offensive lineman Brandon Steinhauer.

Apart from the two North Dakotans, UND’s 2019 verbal commitment list includes Roseau offensive lineman Jacob Lindemann, Monticello (Minn.) offensive lineman Kyle Downs and Plymouth (Minn.) tight end Billy Riviere.

Tom Miller

Miller has been with the Grand Forks Herald sports department since 2004. He's also a Grand Forks native and UND graduate. 

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