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UND senior Matt Waletzko accepts invitation to Senior Bowl

The last UND player to accept an invitation to the Senior Bowl was Jim Kleinsasser in 1999.

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UND offensive lineman Matt Waletzko runs across the turf at Memorial Stadium during morning practice on Monday, August 9, 2021. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

For the first time in more than 20 years, the UND football program is sending a player to the Senior Bowl -- the premiere college football showcase game in the country.

UND 6-foot-7 left tackle Matt Waletzko has accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl, which takes place Feb. 5, 2022, at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Ala.

The game kicks off at 1:30 p.m. and will be aired on NFL Network.

The NFL Network and ESPN provide coverage of the practices leading up to the game.

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Waletzko, a preseason FCS All-American, became the third UND player to accept an invite to the Senior Bowl, joining Corey Colehour (1967) and Jim Kleinsasser (1999).

"That's awesome for Matt," UND coach Bubba Schweigert said. "This is a big deal. We are going to do everything we can to get him the best opportunity at the next level. We're rooting for him because he's given so much to our program."

UND was Waletzko's only Division I scholarship offer out of Rocori High School in Minnesota. He was 330 pounds when UND recruited him. He lost 25 pounds during his first UND football fall camp in 2018.

"He came here and really worked hard to change his body and improve at football," Schweigert said. "He's been a model teammate, citizen and given so much to our program."

Waletzko suffered an upper-body injury in UND's final home game against Illinois State, then wasn't dressed for the Fighting Hawks' regular-season finale at South Dakota State.

On Monday afternoon, Schweigert said he didn't have an injury update on Waletzko now that he's moving on in his career.

"I'm not privy to that information," Schweigert said. "This is what he felt is best for his future, and we'll support him with that."

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Fighting Hawks offensive lineman Matt Waletzko warms up during morning football practice at Memorial Stadium on Monday, August 9, 2021. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

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