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Tom Miller / Forum Communications Co., Published July 12 2012

UND recruit leaves California, flourishes in run-first football style

Mayville, N.D.

Tucker Nordby spent his freshman and sophomore football seasons at Elsinore High School in Wildomar, Calif.

As a junior, the 6-foot-6 235-pound Nordby and his family moved to Harvey, N.D.

The change in scenery came with some shock.

“It was a big transition,” said Nordby, who has committed to play college football at the University of North Dakota. “I went from playing with a school with more than 2,500 kids to one with 150 kids.”

It was a successful changeover for Nordby, though, as he prepares this week with the 11-man East team for Saturday’s North Dakota Shrine Bowl in Fargo.

In fact, the move to Harvey might have suited Nordby’s style better than California.

“It isn’t a slower game (at Harvey), but it was more about pounding the ball,” said Nordby, who considers himself more of a blocking tight end than a pass catcher. “There was a lot more passing in California. At Harvey, you get guys down and pound the ball.”

Nordby – a two-time Class A all-state selection as a tight end with the Hornets – led Harvey-Wells County to an 8-1 record last season. Nordby helped the top-ranked Hornets go unbeaten through the regular season before they lost to Maple Valley-Enderlin in the opening round of the playoffs.

As a senior, Nordby caught 16 passes for 350 yards. He also recorded 61 total tackles on defense.

Grafton’s Tom Maus, the head coach of 11-man East team, has seen that versatility early in practice.

“We started him at tight end and then outside at wide receiver, but we needed more size on the defensive line,” Maus said. “He’s a big, physical kid. He’s got a nice build that could put weight on. He’s a fluid, athletic kid for his size.”

Nordby also played in the Badlands Bowl in Dickinson, N.D., in June. He said he’s used the all-star games to get in shape.

“It’s a lot more conditioning and getting ready for fall camp,” he said. “I just need to be ready for that conditioning part.”

All four Shrine teams

(9-man and 11-man East and West) are practicing at Jerome Berg Field on the campus of Mayville State leading up to the games in Fargo.

The 11-man game begins at 4 p.m., while the 9-man game follows at 7 p.m. at Fargo Shanley High School.


Miller writes for the Grand Forks Herald