« Continue Browsing

e-mail article Print     e-mail article E-mail

Tom Miller / Forum News Service, Published August 28 2013

Starting quarterback not yet settled for UND

GRAND FORKS – When Detroit Lakes standout quarterback Joe Mollberg gave his verbal commitment to the University of North Dakota, it was widely considered a major recruiting coup for the football program.

From the fan base, at least, Mollberg was immediately anointed as the quarterback of the future.

But UND signed two quarterbacks to national letters of intent in 2011.

And Ryan Bartels isn’t going to just hand Mollberg the starting job here in 2013.

The two redshirt freshmen remain neck and neck as fall camp winds down. Both will see game action in the season opener against Valparaiso.

“To be honest, I knew (Mollberg) committed, but I didn’t know the hype he got around here because I’m not from here,” said Bartels, a Sycamore, Ill., native. “But I figured that out pretty quick once I was here.

“I just use that as fuel. People might not have thought I was going to be the guy when I came in, so every day I try to build more confidence from the coaches.”

Bartels, a tall, strong-armed right-hander, was a sought-after recruit in his own right, though. He passed for 1,601 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior.

He received a scholarship offer from Indiana State of the Missouri Valley Football Conference and received interest from a number of schools in the Mid-American Conference.

“Just about every MAC team came to my school to watch me throw,” Bartels said. “I thought an offer would happen. I was thinking FBS and then all of a sudden it was, ‘What the heck?’”

Bartels visited UND for the final game of the 2011 season. UND won that game in dramatic fashion with a victory over South Dakota in the Alerus Center.

“I loved it,” Bartels said. “A few days later, I committed.”

Miller writes for the Grand Forks Herald