UND lands Illinois native as 2021 recruiting class climbs to seven

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When Tanner Koziol of LaGrange Park, Ill., was a freshman in high school, he didn't see himself as a Division I talent. He was an undersized quarterback.

Only about a year later, Koziol had a big growth spurt and a position change to wide receiver.

"After my freshman year, I grew to about 6-4 and was bumped to varsity," Koziol said. "Once I was with kids two years older and doing my thing, then I knew I had the size for it and that I just had to work for it."

Koziol, now 6-foot-6, has given his verbal commitment to play college football at UND, becoming the Fighting Hawks' seventh member of the 2021 recruiting class.

Of the seven commitments in 2021, only one so far is on the defensive side of the ball.


Koziol, who's projected as a hybrid tight end-wide receiver in Danny Freund's offense, held offers from the University of San Diego and Valparaiso.

"The coaching staff just gave me a feeling of home," Koziol said.

Koziol sent his film to UND inside linebackers coach Carl Reinholz, who recruits Illinois. Soon after, UND wide receivers coach Sam King and tight ends coach Shawn Kostich were in touch with Koziol.

"We had a zoom call with about every offensive staff member," Koziol said.

Koziol said he put on 25 pounds this offseason, up to 215 and hopes next offseason to beef up more.

"I want to take my body and be big enough to put my hand in the dirt but fast enough to run by defensive backs," Koziol said.


Koziol spent his freshman and sophomore years at Lake Park High School -- the same school as UND's 2019 prospect Isaac Moore, who's considered to have high potential at defensive end.

Koziol is now at Nazareth Academy, which went 13-1 in 2019. His team knocked out Batavia and UND 2020 prospect Quinn Urwiler from the playoffs. The teams play at the 7A level in Illinois, which has eight levels of football with eight being the largest classification.

Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019 and 2022.

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, or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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