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Jeff Kolpack, Published January 13 2011

Bison running back Ojuri returns to football team

North Dakota State running back Sam Ojuri, who was suspended indefinitely for an undisclosed violation of team rules last spring, has returned to the team.

Ojuri remained in school at NDSU and began winter workouts with the rest of the players this week, said head coach Craig Bohl. Cornerback Aireal Boyd, a transfer from the North Dakota State College of Science, has also started winter workouts.

Ojuri played in seven games as a true freshman in 2009 getting 32 carries for 144 yards, an average of 4.5 yards per attempt. He scored two touchdowns.

“It gives us more depth and competition at the running back spot,” Bohl said. “It’s good to have another player there.”

The Bison will return juniors D.J. McNorton and Matt Voigtlander for their senior seasons. Sophomore Mike Sigers saw more time as the season progressed. Freshmen Derrick Lang and Ryan Smith saw spot duty.

The 6-foot-2 Boyd, originally from LaPorte, Texas, will be counted on to help fill the loss of senior cornerbacks Derrius Colvin, Josh Gatlin and Freddie Banks. He’ll have two years of eligibility.

“Certainly, he’ll be a guy who can come in and help contribute.” Bohl said.

Bohl said the program is not bringing in any other players this semester. He said there was no attrition from last semester, either.

Unlike past years, the Bison didn’t have much time off from the end of the season until the start of this semester. They reached the quarterfinals of the Division I Football Championship Subdivision playoffs in mid-December.

“I think last year at this time, we really made a concerted effort and made significant gains in winter workouts,” Bohl said. “We need to do that to stay hungry and keep the football program moving forward. We were fortunate last year to be able to have a good winter and we didn’t have any conflicts with the flood and had a great spring football.”

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be heard on the Saturday Morning Sports Show, 9-11 a.m. 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