BisonReport publisher Ryan Burns and editor Ross Uglem are breaking down each Bison football position group, what they're looking to add at each position in the Class of 2017 and their top targets.
What the Bison have on roster
In a recurring theme, the Bison are deep at the tight end position, but possibly without a clear leader. Luke Albers and Andrew Bonnet led the team from that position in 2016, but both have graduated.
NDSU has a number of tight ends that gave the offense snaps in 2015. Connor Wentz, Jeff Illies, and Nate Jenson pitched in for the Bison a season ago.
Wentz and Jenson will play as in-line tight ends and Illies will help out flexed as a wide receiver or in the slot. Wentz might be as close to an every-down tight end as you will find in NDSU’s 2016 version of the offense.
If WR Sean Engel doesn’t contribute immediately, and the Bison are still looking for height at the outside receiver position, it might come in the form of Illies, the North Dakota native.
Redshirt freshman Ben Ellefson is one of the most highly touted recruits in recent Bison history, and could enter into the playing time discussion immediately. Ellefson was a star basketball player for Hawley as well and his skills could translate well in the red zone.
NDSU may also look for redshirt freshman Matt Anderson to pitch in as well. Bison tight ends are often asked to pitch in at fullback.
Projected 2016 depth chart
- Connor Wentz
- Jeff Illies
What the Bison want in 2017
I expect the Bison to take three tight ends in their 2017 class, as they missed out near the end of the 2016 cycle with three of their former tight end commits heading to Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin respectively.
Gindorff is rated a top 50 tight end by Scout Recruiting and for good reason. Gindorff has a lot of athletic ability at 6'5" and has offers from every Dakota school thus far. If the Gophers don't offer, I think Gindorff ends up at North Dakota State.
Babicz visited NDSU earlier this summer and are absolutely in contention for the Illinois product. Babicz has a host of other offers.
Nagel seems like a bit of a long shot at this point as he has yet to visit NDSU, but know that the Bison staff will be pushing hard to get him on an official visit this fall.
Taula has offers from a host of Missouri Valley schools, but has told the BisonReport recently that NDSU is top and he's hoping to visit this summer. If not this summer, Taula will take an official visit this fall.