We see that you have javascript disabled. Please enable javascript and refresh the page to continue reading local news. If you feel you have received this message in error, please contact the customer support team at 1-833-248-7801.



UND football lands commitments from top two Grand Forks prospects

Strandell and Parks are both preferred walk-ons for the Fighting Hawks.

091220 S GFH CUSHMANCLASSIC SamStrandell ColeLeDuc RossMeyer01.jpg
Knights wide receiver Sam Strandell (88) tries to haul in a pass as Red River's Cole LeDuc and Ross Meyer (13) bring him down during last season's Cushman Classic football game at Cushman Field. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald
We are part of The Trust Project.

Grand Forks Central's Sam Strandell and Grand Forks Red River's Paine Parks are the city's top two college football prospects in this year's senior class.

Earlier this week, they both decided to continue their playing careers at UND.

Both preferred walk-ons, Strandell and Parks each made their verbal commitments Tuesday night. Strandell is projected at wide receiver, while Parks is expected to play outside linebacker.

Strandell, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound three-year starter, was a second-team North Dakota Class AAA all-state pick as a junior.

"I've always been a fan of UND football," Strandell said. "It's been a dream of mine to play at UND. Even as a young kid, I knew it was a tall task but it's a dream come true."


Strandell has 370 receiving yards and two touchdowns this season. On kick returns, Strandell has 176 yards. On punt returns, he has 203 yards and a touchdown. Playing in the secondary on defense, he also has 33.5 tackles.

"I feel like one of my strengths is that I'm always the hardest-worker," Strandell said. "As a receiver, my top assets are that I run good routes and have good hands."

Parks, at 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, said he has a good relationship with UND's coaches, as Parks has attended the UND youth camps, middle school camps, team camps and high school camps.

"They've welcomed me into their program with open arms, so that showed me a lot of commitment from them," Parks said.

Both Parks and Strandell attended the UND-North Dakota State game at the Alerus Center last Saturday. The 16-10 NDSU victory came in a raucous atmosphere for an in-state rivalry game played in Grand Forks for the first time since 2003.

"I really like what the program has going," Parks said. "They're a really competitive program. The Alerus on Saturday was rocking. That really pulled me in to the university."

This season, Parks has 26.5 tackles, 4.0 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss.

Parks is also one of the area's best basketball players, averaging more than 17.0 points per game as a junior. He said it was sometimes difficult to decide what he wanted to play at the college level.


"I thought football gave me more opportunities," Parks said. "I really love the game. I think I'm really determined. Once I commit to something and take on the challenge, I'm not going to stop until the job is done. I'm not going to cut any corners and work hard. I give 100 percent effort, and that's why I'll succeed at the Division I level and feel like that's where I belong."

The two Grand Forks commitments brings UND's 2022 recruiting class to a total of 13 commitments, including three walk-ons. The NCAA's early signing period begins Dec. 15.

Red River Watford City C.jpg
Red River wide receiver Paine Parks catches a pass in the end zone during the first half of the Roughriders' game against Watford City on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. The play was ruled out of bounds. Korrie Wenzel / Grand Forks Herald

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.
What to read next
Featuring N.D. Class A girls golf final results, local prep soccer scores, area prep volleyball results and much more!
Featuring N.D. state Class A girls golf tournament results, local prep volleyball scores, N.D. prep football polls and much more!
Featuring college hockey results, local college soccer scores and much more!
Featuring N.D. East Region boys tennis tournament results, college hockey scores, area football results and much more!