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Jeff Kolpack, Published April 20 2013

Colvin hopes to make most of opportunity with Bison football team

FARGO – With one big tackle over the middle and an interception on a deep pass in the end zone, North Dakota State cornerback Zach Colvin had a little message Saturday afternoon for the Bison football coaches: He wants to be included on the depth chart.

“I made the play, so I’m saying, ‘That’s a little hint, I’m still here,’ ” Colvin said. “I’m just waiting.”

In a spring football season that has been tough for reserves to prove themselves because of the limited repetitions, Colvin put his name in the cornerback depth chart hat. He missed last week’s scrimmage with a hamstring injury, meaning it was time to do something in Saturday’s second scrimmage or further risk being left behind.

Senior Marcus Williams is the undisputed returning starter at one spot. But the other appears to be up for grabs among sophomore C.J. Smith, senior Brendin Pierre and sophomore Jordan Champion.

And perhaps now, there’s Colvin.

“He’s been doing fairly well in practice, but these game-like repetitions weigh heavily as far as our evaluations,” said head coach Craig Bohl. “So his stock went up today.”

Colvin, who will be a junior next fall, will be in his third year in the program. He suffered a broken leg as a freshman in 2011, endured a broken thumb, and battled the hamstring issue this spring.

He was valuable last year on the kickoff coverage team, whipping his 170 pounds anywhere on the field. That’s one thing the coaches say they will never doubt about Colvin: He’s fearless.

“That was just my moment to show them I’m not afraid just because I’m a smaller guy,” Colvin said of the kickoff team. “I’m ready to go hit somebody, even if they’re bigger, stronger or faster than me. Whatever, I’m not scared of them.”

With cornerback Andre Martin graduating, defensive coordinator Chris Klieman said this spring is “huge” for players like Colvin. Only Williams has played regularly in the last two seasons that have produced 30 games and back-to-back Football Championship Subdivision national championships.

“Zach wasn’t ready to go last year, and he knew that,” Klieman said. “And coming into this spring, we were excited about him, but he hurt his hamstring. I think he can help us.”

And there never seems to be enough cornerbacks to go around anyway.

“We need all those guys,” Klieman said. “It’s important for us that all of them feel like they’re starters.”

Colvin did have one interception last year, returning a pass 12 yards for a touchdown against the University of South Dakota. That was the final points in a 54-0 neutral-field win in Sioux Falls, S.D.

He’s hoping for more meaningful playing time at cornerback next fall.

“What keeps me going is the drive and the hunger,” he said. “My name hasn’t been called a lot and that’s OK with me. I’m still here learning. I feel like just because my name hasn’t been called that doesn’t mean I’m no longer on the team. I’m still here waiting and if they call me, I’m ready to go.”

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

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia