In the UND football program's first season in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, the Fighting Hawks saw nine players honored by the league when it released its awards Thursday.

Sophomore running back Otis Weah and senior offensive lineman Nathan Nguon led the way with first-team honors.

Weah also finished runner-up to South Dakota State quarterback Mark Gronowski for MVFC Offensive Player of the Year.

Gronowski also earned the league's Freshman and Newcomer of the Year honors, just ahead of UND quarterback Tommy Schuster for both honors.

Northern Iowa's Jared Brinkman was named MVFC Defensive Player of the Year, while UND linebacker Devon Krzanowski finished runner-up to Brinkman.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts

Missouri State's Bobby Petrino, who will be in the Alerus Center on Saturday for UND's first round FCS playoff game against Missouri State, was named MVFC Coach of the Year. UND head coach Bubba Schweigert finished third in the voting.

Gronowski became the second-consecutive freshman to win the MVFC Offensive Player of the Year award after North Dakota State's Trey Lance won the award last year.

The freshman from Naperville, Ill., threw for 1,051 yards on 57 percent passing in leading the Jackrabbits to the FCS' No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs.

On the MVFC all-conference second team, UND landed Schuster, cornerback Evan Holm, Krzanowski, offensive lineman Matt Waletzko. The league recognized wide receiver Garett Maag, running back-return specialist Luke Skokna and offensive lineman Ryan Tobin as honorable mention honorees.



2020-21 all-Missouri Valley Football Conference Team

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: QB Mark Gronowski, South Dakota State

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: DL Jared Brinkman, UNI

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: QB Mark Gronowski, South Dakota State

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: QB Mark Gronowski, South Dakota State

‘BRUCE CRADDOCK’ VALLEY FOOTBALL COACH OF THE YEAR: Bobby Petrino, Missouri State

FIRST TEAM - OFFENSE

QB -- Mark Gronowski, South Dakota State 6-3 200 Fr. Naperville (Ill.) Neuqua Valley High

RB -- Pierre Strong Jr., South Dakota State 5-11 210 Jr. Little Rock (Ark.) McClellan High

Otis Weah, North Dakota 5-9 185 So. Moorhead (Minn.) Moorhead High

FB -- Hunter Luepke, North Dakota State 6-1 245 So. Spencer (Wis.) Spencer High

WR-- Avante Cox, Southern Illinois 5-10 170 Jr. Rochester (Ill.) Rochester High / Wyoming

Dennis Houston, Western Illinois 6-2 205 Sr. San Antonio (Texas) Earl Warren / Fullerton

Christian Watson, North Dakota State 6-4 200 Jr. Tampa (Fla.) Plant High

TE -- Zach Heins, South Dakota State 6-7 260 So. Sioux Falls (S.D.) Washington High

OL -- Zeveyon Furcron, Southern Illinois 6-2 327 Sr. Crest Hill (Ill.) Joliet Catholic

Garret Greenfield, South Dakota State 6-6 295 So. Rock Valley (Iowa) Rock Valley High

Drew Himmelman, Illinois State 6-10 325 Sr. Geneseo (Ill.) Geneseo High

Nathan Nguon, North Dakota 6-3 295 Sr. Burnsville (Minn.) Eagan High

Cordell Volson, North Dakota State 6-7 310 Sr. Balfour (N.D.) Drake High

PK -- Matthew Cook, Northern Iowa 5-11 180 So. Cedar Falls (Iowa) Cedar Falls High

LS -- Ross Kennelly, North Dakota State 5-11 213 Sr. Superior (Wis.) Superior High

FIRST TEAM - DEFENSE

DL -- Jared Brinkman, Northern Iowa 6-2 290 Sr. Iowa City (Iowa) Regina High

John Ridgeway, Illinois State 6-6 325 Jr. Bloomington (Ill.) Bloomington High

Caleb Sanders, South Dakota State 6-1 280 Jr. Glenwood (Iowa) Glenwood High

Spencer Waege, North Dakota State 6-5 274 Jr. South Shore (S.D.) Watertown High

LB -- Logan Backhaus, South Dakota State 6-4 205 Sr. Spirit Lake (Iowa) Spirit Lake High

Spencer Cuvelier, Northern Iowa 6-3 245 Jr. Cresco (Iowa) Crestwood High/Iowa Central CC

Grant Dixon, Youngstown State 6-3 225 Sr. Succasunna (N.J.) Roxbury / Marist

James Kaczor, North Dakota State 6-0 211 Jr. St. Cloud (Minn.) St. Cloud Tech High

DB-- Montrae Braswell, Missouri State 6-0 185 So. Avon Park (Fla.) Avon Park High / Central Michigan

Qua Brown, Southern Illinois 5-11 206 Sr. DeLand (Fla.) University High

James Ceasar, Southern Illinois 5-10 185 Sr. Detroit (Mich.) East English Village

Don Gardner, South Dakota State 6-1 185 Sr. Chicago (Ill.) Wendell Phillips High

Josh Hayes, North Dakota State 5-11 185 Sr. Lakeland (Fla.) Lake Gibson High

P -- Garret Wegner, North Dakota State 6-0 197 Sr. Lodi (Wis.) Lodi High

RS -- Tony Tate, Western Illinois 5-9 180 Sr. DeKalb (Ill.) DeKalb / Walsh

SECOND TEAM - OFFENSE

QB -- Connor Sampson, Western Illinois 6-3 215 Sr. Belleville (Mich.) Belleville High

Tommy Schuster, North Dakota 6-0 195 Fr. Macomb (Mich.) Chippewa Valley

RB -- Jaleel McLaughlin, Youngstown State 5-9 175 Jr. Marshville (N.C.) Forest Hills / Notre Dame College

Javon Williams Jr., Southern Illinois 6-2 245 So. Centralia (Ill.) Centralia High

FB -- Jacob Garrett, Southern Illinois 6-2 245 Jr. Sellersburg (Ind.) Silver Creek High

WR -- Jaxon Janke, South Dakota State 6-2 210 So. Madison (S.D.) Madison High

Tony Tate, Western Illinois 5-9 180 Sr. DeKalb (Ill.) DeKalb / Walsh

Caleb Vander Esch, South Dakota 6-1 205 Sr. San Jose (Calif.) Willow Glen High

TE -- Noah Gindorff, North Dakota State 6-6 266 Jr. Crosby (Minn.) Crosby-Ironton High

OL -- Landon Bebee, Missouri State 6-3 291 So. Webb City (Mo.) Webb City High

Dan Becker, Youngstown State 6-5 295 Jr. Cincinnati (Ohio) Indian Hill

Cody Mauch, North Dakota State 6-5 295 Jr. Hankinson (N.D.) Hankinson High

Mason McCormick, South Dakota State 6-4 300 So. Sioux Falls (S.D.) Roosevelt High

Matt Waletzko, North Dakota 6-7 295 Jr. Cold Spring (Minn.) Rocori High

PK -- Jose Pizano, Missouri State 5-7 221 So. Lehi (Utah) Lehigh High / Snow College (Utah)

LS -- Dalton Godfrey, South Dakota 6-2 230 Jr. Cedar Falls (Iowa) Cedar Falls High

SECOND TEAM - DEFENSE

DL -- Jordan Berner, Southern Illinois 6-5 255 Sr. Chester (Ill.) Chester High

Kevin Ellis, Missouri State 6-4 241 Jr. Fort Worth (Texas) North Crowley High

Eric Johnson, Missouri State 6-5 286 Sr. Plainfield (Ill.) Plainfield South High

Brantae Wells, Northern Iowa 6-3 260 Sr. Des Moines (Iowa) Dowling Catholic High

LB -- Devon Krzanowski, North Dakota 6-2 235 Jr. Fond du Lac (Wis.) St. Cloud State

Brock Mogensen, South Dakota 6-2 225 So. Farmington (Minn.) Farmington High

Bryson Strong, Southern Illinois 5-10 230 Jr. Fairview Heights (Ill.) Althoff Catholic High

Tylar Wiltz, Missouri State 6-1 230 Jr. Breaux Bridge (La.) Breaux Bridge / Independence CC

DB -- Austin Evans, Northern Iowa 6-1 190 Sr. Kansas City (Mo.) Archbishop O'Hara High

Evan Holm, North Dakota 5-11 180 Sr. Edina (Minn.) Edina High

Zaire Jones, Youngstown State 6-1 195 Sr. Meridian (Miss.) Meridian High

Kyriq McDonald, Missouri State 6-0 202 Jr. Madison (Ala.) James Clemens High / Cincinnati

Michael Tutsie, North Dakota State 5-11 192 Jr. Indianapolis (Ind.) Warren Central High

P -- Brady Schutt, South Dakota 6-1 215 Sr. Orange City (Iowa) MOC/FV High

RS -- Christian Watson, North Dakota State 6-4 200 Jr. Tampa (Fla.) Plant High