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Jeff Kolpack, Published July 18 2009

Hardie gives a verbal to Bison

If you were to look across the state of South Dakota, said Sioux Falls O’Gorman head football coach Steve Keuter, defensive end Michael Hardie would be one of the top five college prospects.

If so, a top five player has already decided on his college choice.

Hardie verbally committed to North Dakota State, making him the first to do so for the 2010 Bison recruiting class.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Hardie, who also plays tight end, is a three-sport athlete with the kind of upside Division I schools are looking for, Keuter said.

“He’s an outstanding athlete,” he said. “Good size, tall, good feet, great student and a good work ethic.”

Keuter was offered by NDSU at the Bison summer camp.

“For them to offer him at their camp, they saw everything they should,” Keuter said. “He’s the type of kid they should offer in the summer.”

Keuter said the college interest in Hardie was rather high and he estimated all the area Division I schools would have likely offered a scholarship.

Last year, O’Gorman had three players sign with Division I Football Championship programs: two with the University of South Dakota and one with Northern Iowa.

Hardie also fits that mold of player.

He’s a two-year starter for O’Gorman going into his senior season.

“This committing probably saved him a lot of trips,” Keuter said. “I know he was getting a lot of interest from every school in the area.”

The national signing day for football is the first Wednesday in February.

Jeff Kolpack can be heard on the WDAY Golf Show, 10 a.m. to noon on WDAY-AM (970). He can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia