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Jeff Kolpack, Published February 07 2013

Bison freshman receiver Okland leaves team to concentrate on school

FARGO – The father of North Dakota State football player Andrew Okland said the receiver has left the team so he can put more emphasis on his academics.

Doug Okland said a succession of events that started last weekend with an inappropriate tweet during a recruiting visit led to the decision, but was not the main reason for Andrew giving up the game. He said his son was suspended for the spring game and that his scholarship “may be impacted.”

“Based on that conversation and feeling like he was struggling with the passion for the game anyway, and the fact he was struggling to manage the demands of football and academics, he decided to push his sole focus toward school,” Doug Okland said.

He said the Bison coaches left the door open for his return. Doug Okland said his son was passing school and that his eligibility was not in jeopardy.

Andrew Okland finished last year as one of NDSU’s primary receivers. He started five of 15 games catching 15 passes for 214 yards for a 14.3 per-reception average.

A standout at Fargo South, he came to NDSU as part of the 2011 recruiting class and redshirted his true freshman season.

Doug Okland said the Twitter post in question was not from Andrew, but from a recruit that his son was with.

At South, Okland was a North Dakota first team Class 3A all-state selection catching 31 passes for 728 yards and 10 touchdowns in just seven games.

Without Okland, NDSU will go into spring football with starting receivers Zach Vraa and Ryan Smith, backups Trevor Gebhart, Nate Moody, Cooper Wahlo and Dylan Dunn and redshirt freshmen Dee Gray, Eric Perkins, Carey Woods and DeSean Warren.

The Bison signed Tyler Wrice from Omaha to a letter of intent Wednesday and will have recruited walkons Drew Davis from Eau Claire, Wis., and Isaiah Frandsen from Barron, Wis., in fall camp.

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia