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Jeff Kolpack, Published May 22 2012

Northern Iowa cornerback, two JC players transfer to NDSU

FARGO – For the second time in three years, North Dakota State got a key defensive component from Northern Iowa. This time, it’s a player.

Cornerback Andre Martin will transfer to NDSU for his final year of eligibility, said Bison head coach Craig Bohl. He’ll be eligible immediately using the same NCAA rule that was made famous nationally by Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson last year.

A player does not have to sit out if he is already graduated from one school and accepted into graduate school at another. Martin was accepted at NDSU this week.

He follows defensive coordinator Chris Klieman, who came to NDSU from UNI two years ago. It’s sure to provide more spice to an already intense rivalry game between the two Missouri Valley Football Conference powers.

“But when the game starts, it will be played between the lines,” Bohl said.

NDSU also added linebacker John Tauteoli from Mt. San Antonio College (Calif.) and defensive end Jeremy Gordon from North Dakota State College of Science. The 6-foot-3, 245-pound Gordon, originally from Milwaukee, had recent interest from Eastern Illinois and Ball State (Ind.), said NDSCS head coach Chuck Parsons.

Numerically at least, he will take the spot of freshman Joe Horvath in the defensive line. Horvath, who missed spring football for academic reasons, will not return to the team, Bohl said.

The 6-1, 203-pound Martin is a rare intra-league transfer. He obtained his release from UNI and will compete for playing time at cornerback and special teams, Bohl said.

“We’re excited about adding him to our football team,” he said. “Realistically you’re looking at a player who started two years and has played in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.”

Martin, from St. Louis, had a banner sophomore season with 77 tackles and leading the team with five interceptions. His production fell off last year to 17 tackles.

Bohl said Martin also had an injured back.

“He’s healthy now,” he said.

He’s also taking advantage of an NCAA rule that is rarely used. Wilson transferred from North Carolina State using the one-time exception for graduate students.

Gordon had 36 tackles, 14.5 for lost yardage, and four quarterback sacks for the Wildcats last fall. He was slated to finish his school last semester and transfer at mid-year, but that got delayed to this semester.

“When that changed, those schools that were on him moved on,” Parsons said. “He was left hunting. He’s a fantastic player and will push all of their guys for playing time.”

Tauteoli, from East High School in Salt Lake City, had 44 tackles, which was tied for fourth on the team despite missing three games. He was a first team all-conference pick for a successful Mt. SAC program that reached the California JUCO state title game.

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546. Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia