BULLDOGS ADD 25 TO 2013 FOOTBALL RECRUITING CLASS
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
A talent-laden group of 21 student-athletes have signed National Letters of Intent to attend and play football for the reigning five-time Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference North Division champion University of Minnesota Duluth in 2013 while four others signed a Letter of Acceptance.
"We are excited about the quality of this class – both from an athletic and academic standpoint," said Curt Wiese, who was appointed UMD's head coach this past December following a five-season stint as its offensive coordinator. "I think our coaching staff did a tremendous job in identifying and addressing our future needs on offense, defense and special teams. Improving our athleticism and our overall depth were two of our main focuses and I feel we were successful in that regard."
The 2013 UMD recruiting class, which is comprised of 16 incoming freshmen from Minnesota (including two each from Lakeville North High School, Rocori High School and Mankato West High School), five from Wisconsin (including a pair from Wisconsin Rapids High School), and one apiece from Illinois, South Dakota and Washington, is as follows: (for highlight clips and head shots of each signee, click here.)
Player Pos Hgt Wgt Hometown (High School)
Nate Atkinson OL 6-5 270 Duluth, Minn. (Duluth East H.S.)
Zach Bassuener DB 6-0 195 Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. (Wisconsin Rapids H.S.)
John Bednarczyk OL 6-3 275 Robbinsdale, Minn. (Totino-Grace H.S.)
Shane Bruning LB 6-0 205 LeRoy, Ill. (LeRoy H.S.)
James Conner WR 5-9 175 Cottage Grove, Wis. (Monona Grove H.S.)
J.T. DenHartog QB 6-3 210 Hopkins, Minn. (Hopkins H.S.)
Adam Dingmann LB 6-3 220 Cold Spring, Minn. (Rocori H.S.)
Bryan Edwards TE 6-4 205 Elk River, Minn. (Elk River H.S.)
Karl Finkel DL 6-0 200 Lakeville, Minn. (Lakeville North H.S.)
Nolan Folkert OL 6-4 265 Elgin, Minn. (Plainview-Elgin-Millville H.S.)
Regis Henke LB 6-3 200 Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. (Wisconsin Rapids H.S.)
Kenny Kirkvold DL 6-2 240 Winona, Minn. (Kotter H.S.)
Hunter Malberg DB 6-1 190 North Bend, Wash. (Mount Si H.S.)
Keynon Phillips Jr. TE 6-4 210 Eagan, Minn. (Eastview H.S.)
Ryan Radzak OL 6-4 285 Harrisburg, S.D. (Harrisburg H.S.)
Nate Ricci WR 6-0 170 Stillwater, Minn. (Stillwater H.S.)
Nick Thorpe DL 6-5 225 Cold Spring, Minn. (Rocori H.S.)
Aaron Warren DB 6-3 185 Minneapolis, Minn. (DeLaSalle H.S.)
Dan Wills TE 6-6 210 Mankato, Minn. (Mankato West H.S.)
Kegan Wirtz DB 6-3 185 De Pere, Wis. (West De Pere H.S.)
Alex Wood LB 6-1 190 Lakeville, Minn. (Lakeville North H.S.)
Kale Boomer* DB 6-0 180 Grand Portage, Minn. (Cook County H.S.)
Nick Larson* RB 6-0 210 Savage, Minn. (Shakopee H.S.)
Adam Decker* OL 6-2 270 Mosinee, Wis. (D.C. Everest H.S.)
Alex Knutson* WR 5-9 175 North Mankato, Minn. (Mankato West H.S.)
(*signed a Letter of Acceptance)
UMD closed out 2012 -- its 80th season of intercollegiate football -- with a 10-2 overall record and secured its fifth consecutive NCAA Division II playoff berth. The 2010 NCAA II national champion Bulldogs, who were ranked 12th in the final American Football Coaches Association II polll, went 10-1 in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play to place second overall and finished first in the North Division for a fifth year in a row. In addition, five Bulldogs earned some kind of All-American distinction in 2012 and 18 received All-NSIC honors. Highlighting that group was senior offensive guard Garth Heikkinen, the recipient of the 2012 Gene Upshaw Outstanding Division II Lineman of the Year Award who was chosen to a school-record six different All-American Teams.
BREAKDOWN OF THE 2013 RECRUITING CLASS
Defensive Backs - 5
Offensive Linemen - 5
Defensive Linemen- 4
Wide Receivers- 3
Linebackers - 3
Tight Ends - 3
Quarterbacks - 1
Running Backs - 1
Nate Atkinson (OL • 6-5 • 270 • Duluth, Minn. • Duluth East H.S.) – Helped anchor both the offensive and defensive fronts at nearby Duluth East High School for three seasons under head coach Joe Hiettala ... captained the Greyhounds as a senior … was chosen to the 2012 All-Mississippi 8 first team in addition to earning all-section (honorable mention) status in 2012 ... is the son of Jim and Jeanne Atkinson.
Zach Bassuener (DB • 6-0 • 195 • Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. • Wisconsin Rapids H.S.) – Ranked third among all Wisconsin prep defensive backs in tackles last year en route to gaining a slot on the All-Valley Football Association South first team … captained Wisconsin Rapids High School as a senior -- along with fellow Bulldog incoming freshman Regis Henke -- under head coach Tony Biolo ... paced the 2012 Red Raiders in interceptions … also has been a starter in basketball (shooting guard) netting all-conference honorable mention acclaim as a junior … is the son of Craig and Kay Bassuener.
John Bednarczyk (OL• 6-3• 275 • Robbinsdale, Minn. • Totino-Grace H.S.) - PBEFORE UMD: Put an exclamation point on his playing days at Totino-Grace High School in 2012 by securing Associated Press All-State (second team), All-Northwest Suburban Conference (first team) honors and landing the league's Offensive Lineman of the Year award … was bestowed with first team All-Metro honors by KARE 11-TV and the Minneapolis Star Tribune and a honorable mention citation from the St. Paul Pioneer Press as a senior … has earned a pair of letters with the baseball Eagles (pitcher and first base) … is a member of the Totino-Grace executive board and the National Honor Society ... named a Kathleen Murphy Scholar. … is the son of Marshall Porter and Patty Bednarczyk.
Shane Bruning (LB • 6-0 • 205 • LeRoy, Ill. • LeRoy H.S.) - Drew the curtain a record-breaking prep career at LeRoy High School (Ill.) in 2012 ... starred as a two-way player and two-year captain under head coach B.J. Zeleznik … romped his way to 2,136 yards on the ground as a senior (an all-time school single-season high) en route to accumulating a Panther-record 180 points … finished as the No. 1 rush leader in Panther history with 4,104 career rushing yards and also holds LeRoy’s record for lifetime scoring (384 points) and solo tackles (72) … led the Pantagraph Area in rushing in 2012 and was named All-News Gazette Area first team (after attaining a second team honor the previous fall) … was also named an all-state performer by the IHSFCA and participated in the 2012 Shriners Illinois All-Star Game … has earned two letters in basketball (guard) and four in track and field with the Panthers … serves on the LeRoy High School's student council as a class president … is the son of Larry and Karen Bruning.
James Conner (WR • 5-9 • 175 • Cottage Grove, Wis. • Monona Grove H.S.) - Is the reigning Wisconsin State Journal Player of the Year ... starred for four seasons at Monona Grove High School and head coach Mike Stassi … served as a team captain during his final prep go-around led the Silver Eagles in rushing, receiving, points scored and total touchdowns (29) ... exited he Monona Grove program as its all-time leader in yards per rush (12.2) and gained over 1,500 all-purpose yards ... was chosen the 2012 Badger-South Conference Offensive Player of the Year … twice landed Badger-South Conference first team acclaim (2011-12) … also plays basketball (guard) and runs track for the Silver Eagles (sprint and jumps).
J.T. DenHartog (QB • 6-3 • 210 • Hopkins, Minn. • Hopkins H.S.) - Started each of the past three seasons at Hopkins High School under head coach John Denhartog … reigned as the Lake Conference's top passer for the second straight in 2012 which earned him a spot on the all-conference first team ... was also selected to the all-state first team, the Vikings All-State Team, the Minneapolis Star Tribune All-Metro first team and the KARE 11-TV All-Metro Team as a senior in addition to being Minnesota State High School Football Coaches Mr. Football Award finalist … received an academic distinction award for maintaining a 3.6 grade point average throughout the football season … has also lettered twice with baseball royals (outfielder) … is the son of John and Stephanie DenHartog.
Adam Dingmann (LB • 6-3 • 220 • Cold Spring, Minn. • Rocori H.S.) – Terrorized opposing offenses for three years at Rocori High School and established a program record for tackles for loss in a single season (23) while leading the Spartans in total stops and sacks as a senior … captained the Spartans during his farewell prep season and attained All-Central Lakes Conference (for the second straight fall) and All-Area acclaim ... helped lead Rocori High School to a runner-up finish in Section 8AAAA in 2012 … played a vital role on the Spartans' 2011 Minnesota State Class AAAA championship team in 2011 … was a teammate of fellow incoming Bulldog freshman Nick Thorpe at Rocori High School ... also has lettered in hockey (two years at defense) and baseball (three seasons in the outfield) as a prep … is the son of Stephen and Grace Dingmann.
Bryan Edwards (TE • 6-4 • 205 • Elk River, Minn. • Elk River H.S.) - Started for two seasons at Elk River High school under head coach Steve Hamilton ... captained the Elks to the 2012 Section 6AAAAA title and a Minnesota State High School Tournament berth … paced Elk River in tackles in each of his final two prep seasons ... was a two-time All-Northwest Suburban Conference selection … also started two seasons in basketball (including one as a team captain) and ran a year of track and field … is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the National Honor Society … is the son of Michael and Julie Edwards.
Karl Finkel (DL • 6-0 • 200 • Lakeville, Minn. • Lakeville North H.S.) - Topped the South Suburban Conference in quarterback sacks during all three of his years a starter (2010-12) for head coach Brian Vossen at Lakeville North High School ... made his final Panther appearance in the 2012 Class AAAAAA Prep Bowl title game at Mall of America Field where Lakeville North fell to Eden Prairie High School … was a three-time All-South Suburban Conference selection … also helped the Panthers claim the SSC championship and a state tournament berth as a junior … was recognized as an all-state performer in each of his final two prep seasons … also participated in the Lakeville North marching band and marched in the Junior Orange Bowl, Citrus Bowl and Tostitos Fiesta Bowl parades … is the son of Frank and JoAnn Finkel.
Nolan Folkert (OL • 6-4 • 265 • Elgin, Minn. • Plainview-Elgin-Millville H.S.) - Concluded three years of starting activity in Plainview-Elgin-Millville High School trenches in 2012 ... served as a team captain as a senior under head coach William Ihrke … nailed down a spot on the 2012 Associated Press All-State team … was also named the Three Rivers North Conference Lineman of the Year that season ... made the All-Three Rivers North Conference and all-section teams for the second consecutive year as a senior … also has lettered in wrestling and baseball for the Bulldogs ... is the son of John and Jane Folkert
Regis Henke (LB • 6-3 • 200 • Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. • Wisconsin Rapids H.S.) – Captained Wisconsin Rapids High School in each of his final two seasons ... was a two-year starter under head coach Tony Biolo … closed out his Red Raider career in style by claiming a bevy of honors during his senior year, including a selection to the All-Valley Football Association, all-region and all-state (honorable mention) teams … filled a starting linebacker role for a Red Raider club placed second at the 2011 Division I Wisconsin Champion … was named a semifinalist for the John Anderson Award (outstanding senior linebacker in the state of Wisconsin) and a Wisconsin Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete nominee … is a two-year basketball letterman and has been entrusted with team captaincy duties this winter … is the son of Rod and Marti Henke .
Kenny Kirkvold (DL • 6-2 • 240 • Winona, Minn. • Kotter H.S.) - Strutted his stuff for three rewarding seasons on Cotter High School's interior lines ... played under head coach Bruce Carpenter … attained All-Hiawatha Valley League first team distinction as a senior and was also chosen the Winona Daily News All-Area Team … has spent the past three winters patrolling the post for the Rambler basketball and is a four-time track letterwinner with the Cotter track and field team … was in the National Honor Society, becoming an officer as a senior … is the son of Roger and Sheila Kirkvold.
Hunter Malberg (DB • 6-1 • 190 • North Bend, Wash. • Mount Si H.S.) - Patrolled the defensive secondary for three years at Mt. Si High School, playing under head coach Charlie Kinnune … was bestowed with team Most Valuable Player honors as a junior after leading the King Conference with six interceptions and ranking second in the league with 84.5 tackles … attained All-King Conference acclaim in 2011 and 2012 … served as a team captain as a senior on his way to securing all-state honors … performed at an all-conference level for the Wildcat soccer team and earned one varsity basketball letter as well … is the son of Dave and Janine Malberg.
Keynon Phillips Jr. (TE • 6-4 • 210 • Eagan, Minn. • Eastview H.S.) – Lined up as Eastview High School's starting tight end for three seasons and captained the Lightning ... played for head coach Kelly Sherwin ... was an All-South Suburban Conference honorable mention selection in 2012 in addition to attaining academic all-state honors … has also earned three letters with the Lightning track and field contingent … is the son of Keynon Sr. and Susan Phillips
Ryan Radzak (OL • 6-4 • 285 • Harrisburg, S.D. • Harrisburg H.S.) - Put in two years of starting duty on the Harrisburg High School offensive line ... served as a team captain as a senior en route to claiming All-Big 8 Conference and all-state accolades … won two Big 8 conference championships with the Tigers (2010 and 2012), who finished as the state’s runner-up during his final two prep seasons … earned four varsity letters under head coach Brandon White … is the son of Joe and Angela Radzak.
Nate Ricci (WR • 6-0 • 170 • Stillwater, Minn. • Stillwater H.S.) - Assembled a decorated three-year career at Stillwater High School, hauling in passes and returning kicks for head coach Beau LaBore … was showered with a litany of awards as a senior -- Suburban East Conference Most Valuable Player, Associated Press All-State, Pioneer Press All-State, Minnesota Vikings All-State, All-Suburban East Conference (for the second straight year) … also lettered in basketball and track and field for the Ponies … is the son of Bill and Carol Ricci.
Nick Thorpe (DL • 6-5 • 225 • Cold Spring, Minn. • Rocori H.S.) -- Joins fellow Rocori High School defensive mate Adam Dingmann as member of UMD's 2013 recruiting class … served as a Spartans’ team captain under head coach Mike Rowe during his one season of starting duty in 2012 … corralled All-Central Lakes Conference, all-area (honorable mention) and all-state academic recognition this past fall … also earned three varsity letters in basketball (center) and one in track and field (triple jump and thrower) … is the son of Jeff and Becky Thorpe.
Aaron Warren (DB • 6-3 • 185 • Minneapolis, Minn. • DeLaSalle H.S.) – Assumed a starting role near the mid-point of 2010 season and was a fixture in the DeLaSalle secondary from that juncture on … manned the strong safety post, but also contributed at linebacker and saw time at various skill positions (quarterback, running back, receiver) throughout various points of his high school career … captained the Islanders in 2012 and claimed a second straight Associated Press All-State honorable mention citation … landed All-Tri Metro Conference honors in his final prep go-around after being named an honorable mention pick the previous year … has been a member of the DeLaSalle varsity track team (hurdles, long jump and 400-dash) … Michael Warren and Janeen Pearson.
Dan Wills (TE • 6-6 • 210 • Mankato, Minn. • Mankato West H.S.) - Spent two seasons handling a starting tight end assignment for head coach Mark Esch and Mankato West High School ... secured All-Big 9 honorable mention recognition as a senior after he and the Scarlets earned a berth in the Minnesota State Class AAAAA playoffs tournament ... was named to the All-Big 9 Academic Team that same year … also made his mark with the Mankato West basketball team as an all-conference basketball forward … was a Scarlet teammate of 2013 UMD recruit Alex Knutson ... is a member of the National Honor Society ... is the son of Randy and Cheryl Wills
Kegan Wirtz (DB • 6-3 • 185 • De Pere, Wis. • West De Pere H.S.) - Was a two-year starter for a dominating West De Pere team which captured a pair of Wisconsin Division 3 championships and four Bay Conference crowns while piecing together a 39-game winning streak at one point ... captained the Phantoms as senior ... was selected to the Associated Press All-State second team that year ... holds a share of the school single-season record for interceptions .... played under head coach Bill Turnquist … also has participated in basketball (point guard) and track and field (sprinter and triple jump at De Pere High School … is the son of Ken and Lori Wirtz.
Alex Wood (LB • 6-1 • 190 • Lakeville, Minn. • Lakeville North H.S.) - Wrapped up a decorated playing career at Lakeville North High School this past fall ... started for three years (and served as a team captain) under head coach Brian Vossen as a two-way player … secured a pair of All-South Suburban Conference salutations and was named that circuit's Defensive Player of the Year fore 2012 … landed Associated Press All-State acclaim as a senior and took down All-Metro honors from KARE 11-TV and the Minneapolis Star Tribune … was named a finalist for the prestigious Mr. Football award by Minnesota State High School Coaches Association in 2012 … has also lettered three times in hockey and was an All-South Suburban Conference honorable mention defenseman as junior ... is the son of David and Rochelle Wood.
Kale Boomer (DB • 6-0 • 180 • Grand Portage, Minn. • Cook County H.S.) - Spent four years in a starting role at Cook County High School, the final two as a team captain … was named the Great Polar League's Most Valuable Player in 2012 while snaring All-Great Polar League recognition for the second time in as many years … has been selected to suit up with the outstate team in the Minnesota High School All-Star game … racked up more than 2,500 rushing yards and threw for over 2,500 more while recording 300-plus tackles and making 11 interceptions in his career … has earned four letters each in basketball (point guard) and baseball (infielder and pitcher) at Cook County High School … is the son of Mike and Lori Boomer.
Nick Larson (RB • 6-0 • 210 • Savage, Minn. • Shakopee H.S.) -- Rushed for 1,111 yards as a senior for head coach Jody Stone's Shakopee High School Sabers ... was a two-time All-Missota Conference honoree ... captained the Sabers in 2012 .... lettered four years and started a pair of seasons at numerous positions (running back, quarterback, linebacker and defensive end and punter) ... holds the Saber record for punting average … was a member of two Missota Conference championship clubs (2011 and 2010) ... also has competed in baseball and basketball at Shakopee High School ... is the son of Allen and Lisa Larson.
Adam Decker (OL • 6-2 • 270 • Mosinee, Wis. • D.C. Everest H.S.) – Helped clear the way up front as part of an offensive line that guided D.C. Everest deep into the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Association playoffs each of the past two seasons … served as a team captain under head coach Luke Coenen as a senior ... attained All-Valley North Conference honors that season … has also participated in basketball (forward) and track and field (shot put and discus) for the Evergreens ... is a member of the school’s captains club … is the son of David and Dawn Decker
Alex Knutson (WR • 5-9 • 175 • Mankato, Minn.• Mankato West H.S.) - Captained Mankato West High School to a second straight Minnesota State Class AAAAA playoff appearance in 2012 ... started three season for head coach Mark Esch and the Scarlets … was an All-Big Nine Conference choice as a senior and received all-city acclaim for the second straight time as well ... equaled a program record for receptions in a single game with 10 during his junior year … is the son of Mark Knutson and Kim Weise.
Return to all news.