NDSU Bison Football Summer Scout: Defensive Backs

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.

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.

First up was the offense with quarterbacksrunning backwide receivertight end and offensive line, and they started with the defensive line last week and we continued with the linebacker position, so now let's finish up with the defensive backs.

What the Bison have on roster

The defensive backs at NDSU are an interesting dichotomy.  The safety position is deep and has the potential for long term stability.  The corner group lost their number one inside corner and their number one outside corner from a season ago.

Starting safety tandem Robbie Grimsley and Tre Dempsey have the potential to start for two more seasons, after starting together a season ago.


Grimsley might be the best bet on the Bison to have an appreciable jump in play from 2015 to 2016.  Grimsley possesses exceptional athletic ability that should be further unlocked with an increased understanding and comfort level with the defensive playbook.


Dempsey provides experience at the free safety position, after playing nickel as a freshman and FS a year ago.  Dempsey also provides the defense with the versatility to play outside corner in a pinch.


The safety group should be bolstered by NDSCS transfer Darren Kelley.  Kelly has an impressive combination of height, weight and speed and was a highly sought after junior college prospect.  He should compete for playing time immediately.



Other safeties to keep an eye on are Isaac Cenescar and Jaxon Brown.


The cornerback group will be very dependent on sophomore Jalen Allison.  Allison came on in sub packages a season ago to play outside cornerback.  He will, by far, return the most experience at the cornerback position.  Allison certainly has the long speed to be a top shelf #1 cornerback in the FCS.


Dakota Reid will try to fend off Dominic Davis for the starting cornerback position across from Allison.  Reid is a smaller corner that might fit in to the Jordan Champion mold, and Davis is a track star with the size to hold up outside.


Jaylaan Wimbush is a convert from safety and will try to help out on the outside as well.


It remains to be seen whether or not NDSU will get any defensive snaps out of former JuCo transfer and senior Quentin McCoy.

It's entirely possible that the Bison will use a "big nickel" package in sub this season, using three safeties (Grimsley, Dempsey, Kelley) instead of a more traditional three corner look.  This is a tactic NDSU used to use with Christian Dudzik, Coletn Heagle and Bryan Shepherd (currently a Bison coach) and could help offset the lack of proven depth at corner

Projected 2016 depth chart

CB: Dominic Davis, Jaylaan Wimbush
FS: Tre Dempsey, Isaac Cenescar
SS: Robbie Grimsley, Darren Kelley
CB: Jalen Allison, Dakota Reid

What the Bison want in 2017

NDSU will be graduating only one defensive back after this year, but sources have told the BisonReport to expect around three defensive backs total for this 2017 class with Phazione McClurge already in the fold.

Top targets



Lofton tweeted out earlier this month that he's going to making his college commitment in October with other top Bison target Deyon Campbell, and it appears North Dakota State is the front runner for both at this time. The question remains if the Bison will be full by then, or not.


Coldon was an early Bison offer guy, and coach Cain has really sunk in his teeth into this Illinois native. NDSU will push HARD for an official visit this fall.


Sorrells is an outstanding track athlete to go with a great player on the football field, and NDSU sees him as more of a defensive back that they could slot in at safety or corner.


Springer visited NDSU in June, and the Bison would love to land a commitment from him by the end of the summer. Springer has a ton of other FCS offers.

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