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UND's Hunter Pinke among five picked as football captains

Other captains include Jordan Canady, Garett Maag, Nathan Nguon and Jaxson Turner.

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Hunter Pinke hoists his helmet after the Fighting Hawks' victory over Montana State in November 2019. Eric Hylden / Grand Forks Herald
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The UND football program released its captains for the 2020-21 season Wednesday, notably selecting Hunter Pinke, who suffered a career-ending spinal cord injury after the 2019 season.

Other captains include Jordan Canady, Garett Maag, Nathan Nguon and Jaxson Turner.

"We are looking forward to the leadership these individuals will provide for our team both on and off the field as we compete in our inaugural year in the Missouri Valley Football Conference," Fighting Hawks coach Bubba Schweigert said. "These five young men have invested much time and effort into the Fighting Hawk football program and team culture and are very deserving of the distinction as team captain."

Pinke, who severed his spine in a ski accident in Colorado, currently has an internship with the UND Alumni Association and is working to finish his mechanical engineering degree.

Canady returns to the Hawks having started the last 28 games at safety and will enter 2021 as the team’s returning leading tackler with 87 stops and a team-best 53 solo tackles.

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The New Berlin, Wis., native currently ranks fifth in UND’s Division I history (2008-present) with four career interceptions and sixth with 18 pass breakups.

An 11-game starter at wide receiver a season ago, Maag returns as UND’s leading pass catcher with 59 grabs, 610 yards and five touchdowns in a playoff season for the Hawks.

The Inver Grove Heights, Minn., native had his best days against the top competition in 2019, grabbing six catches for 76 yards at No. 1 North Dakota State, hauling in a TD in the win over No. 24 Sam Houston State and finishing with a career-best 81 yards on 10 catches and a score in the victory over No. 12 UC Davis.

Nguon has started games at four of the five positions along the offensive line. The Burnsville, Minn., native spent 2019 at left tackle, right tackle and center.

Turner, an Esko, Minn., native, finished sixth on the team with 44 tackles and second with 4.5 sacks last year. He was crucial in the win over No. 24 Sam Houston State, registering a season-best nine tackles and a pair of sacks. The linebacker enters the campaign with 11 career sacks, placing him fourth in UND’s DI era.

North Dakota opens the season at home against Missouri State on Saturday, Feb. 20, at noon at the Alerus Center.

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.
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