During the pandemic, high school football players looking for college opportunities haven't had the easiest time getting in front of recruiters.
Many of the elite camps colleges put on were canceled during the summer of 2020. Couple that with the NCAA granting a "free" season of eligibility during the 2020-21 college season and there have been a lot of hurdles for prep prospects.
That hasn't stopped Hatton-Northwood lineman Kelby Azure from drawing Division I national interest, despite playing on a Thunder team that went 0-7 in the fall of 2020.
Azure already has Division I offers from UND and North Dakota State and received an offer from Dartmouth of the Ivy League earlier this week.
Azure said the process hasn't been stressful for him.
"I enjoy it," he said. "I'm that little kid who wanted to go to these places and now they want you to come to them. It's fun to me."
College recruiters are mixed about where Azure, at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, should play in college. Some schools have said offensive line or defensive line, while others have talked about tight end or fullback.
"I'm open-minded," he said.
Azure, who lives in Portland, N.D., and goes to school in Northwood, where his dad is the superintendent, works out in the offseason with Elliott Belquist in New Rockford, N.D. Belquist is the father of true freshman UND wide receiver Bo Belquist.
This summer, Azure plans to go to as many summer football camps as possible. He's looking at lining up days for the camps at UND, NDSU and South Dakota State, as well as one or two Power 5-level camps.
UND, led by the recruiting of wide receivers coach Sam King, offered Azure on Dec. 17, to become the Fighting Hawks' second offer of the 2022 recruiting class. West Fargo wide receiver Carson Hegerle was the first offer the day before.
North Dakota State, with lead recruiter Randy Hedberg, reached out to Azure midway through his fall football season. He had his first phone call with the Bison over Christmas break and was offered a few weeks ago.
Azure, a 3.915 grade-point average student, has also heard from Harvard and Yale. Dartmouth offered earlier this week.
After a busy summer, Azure is hoping to make a commitment by early fall.
"I'm hoping before football or barely into the season," he said. "I don't want coaches calling and have anything take away from my senior season."