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Eric Peterson, Published February 06 2013

Dragons add 24 players to football program on signing day

MOORHEAD – Signing day at Minnesota State Moorhead featured bright lights, multiple cameras and a main recruiting theme – add more beef.

“The offensive line is an area we targeted,” said Dragons head football coach Steve Laqua. “We need to get bigger, we need to be athletic and we need to add numbers to our program.”

The fashion in which the Dragons disclosed their recruiting list was also a big production. Laqua announced each signing during a live webcast in Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse.

“It shows the direction of the department, not just football,” Laqua said of the webcast.

The Dragons added 24 players to their program, including 19 signings. The other five were walkons. Seven of the 19 signings were offensive linemen.

“I feel like there are some difference-makers in there who are going to compete for playing time,” Laqua said.

Demetrius Carr, from Naperville, Ill., was the lone quarterback in the class. Laqua said Carr will have a chance to compete for a starting spot in the fall. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Carr passed for more than 1,000 yards and rushed for more than 800 in his senior season at Immaculate Conception in Elmhurst, Ill.

MSUM has two QBs who are returning from last season, Jake Hodge and Ryan Toelle. Laqua said the program also added two transfers at that position.

“I think (Carr) has the ability to come in and play a lot of football for us,” Laqua said. “It’s going to be a competitive fall. He knows there is opportunity here.”

Akeel Abdelhadi (6-2, 315) from Hoffman Estates, Ill., Jack Bixler (6-2, 245) from Chanhassen, Minn., and Sam Hyland (6-4, 280) from Golden Valley, Minn., are among the top offensive line prospects in the class.

The Dragons had eight offensive linemen in their program, Laqua said, and they nearly doubled that number on signing day.

“That is an area that we targeted. We felt that we were successful in this recruiting class,” Laqua said. “We’ve talked to our whole team, at every position, the best player plays; period. College football is about continually bringing in great players.”

The Dragons had 15 freshmen earn playing time last season. Laqua said 10 or more players from this class could also earn playing time next fall.

“That really is a good group for us. It’s a young group,” Laqua said. “That is concerning, but at the same time, that is the approach we took. We are going to build this program from the bottom up. We are going to do it with the right kind of guys.”

Including walkons, MSUM added 15 players from Minnesota, four players from North Dakota and Illinois and one player from California.

Signings

Akeel Abdelhadi, OG, 6-2, 315, Hoffman Estates, Ill. (Barrington HS)

Anthony Baysah, RB, 5-9, 165, Bloomington, Minn. (Holy Angels)

Austin Buss, DE, 6-2, 235, LeCenter, Minn. (Minnetonka HS)

Jack Bixler, OL, 6-2, 245, Chanhassen, Minn. (Minnetonka HS)

Demetrius Carr, 6-3, 215, Naperville, Ill. (IC Catholic Prep)

Zach Drevlow, DL, 6-3, 245, Gwinner, N.D. (North Sargent HS)

Jared Hoemberg, LB, 6-0, 225, Bertha, Minn. (Bertha-Hewitt HS/Central Lakes College)

Shaun Hollenkamp, TE, 6-3, 207, Pine City, Minn. (Braham HS)

Jaylen Howze, S, 5-11, 175, Wheaton, Ill. (Wheaton North HS)

Sam Hyland, OL, 6-4, 280, Golden Valley, Minn. (Robbinsdale Armstrong HS)

Chris Kocay, OL, 6-3, 280, Menifee, Calif. (Paloma Valley HS)

Brock Kolander, RB, 6-1, 195, Waseca, Minn. (Waseca HS)

Glen Miron, LB, 6-1, 215, Hugo, Minn. (Forest Lake, Minn.)

Lane Puckett, OL, 6-3, 265, Crystal Lake, Ill. (Crystal Lake Central HS)

Spencer Robbins, DL, 6-3, 230, Cavalier, N.D. (Cavalier HS)

Lee Schroeder, OL, 6-5, 245, New London, Minn. (New London-Spicer HS)

Austin Stone, RB, 5-11, 180, New London, Minn. (New London-Spicer HS)

Jake Tiede, LB, 6-0, 220, Adrian, Minn. (Adrian HS)

Austin Winnegge, OL, 6-0, 260, Langdon, N.D. (Langdon HS)

Letters of acceptance

Jared Fischer, S, 5-10, 200, Bismarck (Century HS)

Robby Hine, DB, 5-10, 165, Nevis, Minn. (Nevis HS)

Tyler Jensen, DL, 6-0, 260, Benson, Minn. (Benson HS)

Trent Noetzelman, TE, 6-5, 220, Glenwood, Minn. (Minnewaska HS)

Jimmy Roth, DB, 5-7, 155, Minneapolis, Minn. (Southwest HS)

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Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com