North Dakota State '22 Commitment Class Breakdown: Minnesotans - Prep Redzone (2023)

Now that the 2025, 2024, and 2023 PrepRedzoneMN rankings updates are completed and published – with the 2026 introductory rankings set to come out in the fall – we are in one of my favorite times of year in terms of content: Preseason All-State. Any longer-term reader of our lovely site will remember those features from the past two summers, and although I enjoy the process of watching film from literally every prep program in Minnesota, it does take time, so I’m excited to try out some filler content while I grind out the film and preseason nominations. Something I thought could be interesting would be breaking down 2022 commitment classes from college programs and divisions relevant to Minnesota and the Upper Midwest, and there’s no better place to start than the mighty North Dakota State Bison. The FCS heavyweight has long stood on a foundation strengthened by Minnesotans, and in their 30+ 2022 commitment class they signed 14 high schoolers and a transfer from the Land of 10,000 Lakes, the most of any state represented in their ’22 class. For your enjoyment, I’ll be breaking down and detailing every scholarship and PWO signing from their latest commitment class, as well as naming some superlatives from this diverse group of studs and standouts. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for some following articles reviewing commitment classes from South Dakota State, North Dakota, and every NSIC & MIAC program. Hope you enjoy!

2022 Minnesota Bison

I can’t say enough about this recruiting class for NDSU, especially from a Minnesota standpoint. The PWO class could be considered a good FCS haul, and when you look at the scholarship commits things just keep getting better. Position groups that NDSU traditionally hit hard from MN are all represented, with LB, DL, OL, DB, and TE all possessing at least one signing, and the linebackers, in particular, being a group that I think has a bright future in Fargo. It’s also worth noting that although the 2020 and 2021 graduating classes were hit hardest by COVID-19, the 2022s were also impacted, and a lot of these signing’s offer lists should be longer than they ended up being. That has a lot to do with how well the Bison staff evaluates and trusts talent from the Land of 10,000 Lakes, as with most of these kids NDSU was one of the first, and sometimes thee first, to offer a scholarship. I don’t have to convince our readers that landing that NDSU offer as a Minnesotan is a big deal, and with the success prospects from the state have had at the college and pro level after being developed in Fargo, it’s just too good of an offer to pass up. With the fluid and ever-changing new era of college football underway, and NDSU being the obvious first choice of an FCS program to bump up into the FBS and potentially P5 (however long that lasts) world, I think this class has a very high chance of success in the future. There is a freaky amount of athleticism given the size of a lot of these signings, and below I’ll break down what I like most about these studs, as well as a little bit of their recruiting journey. Don’t forget to keep scrolling for those superlatives!

Scholarships

Austin Altepeter (Moorhead) LB. 6’2, 215 lbs.

One of the top LBs in Minnesota for the class of 2022, Altepeter was the first commitment for the Bison’s 2022 class and chose NDSU over offers from Eastern Michigan, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Spuds head coach and former NDSU standout Kevin Feeney took over at Moorhead in 2010 and helped Altepeter continue a Moorhead to Fargo connection that has contained prep standouts such as Chase Morlock and Seth Anderson. With good size and length for the linebacker position, Altepeter sadly did not update his Hudl account’s senior highlights, but as a sophomore and junior, you get the feeling that the 6’2, 215-pounder is an asset in coverage and has a good feel for man and zone coverage, particularly in the flat/hook. When he sticks his cleat in the ground and comes downhill he covers good ground and plays with smart pursuit angles, and he’s a strong tackler who can also make plays in space. A three-year starter on the Spuds defense, Austin is experienced, well coached up, and shows a balanced skill set that makes for a strong addition to the NDSU LB room.

Toby Anene (East Ridge) DE. 6’3, 230 lbs.

With great athleticism for his size and a prep career playing LB and RB, Anene was painfully under-recruited in high school and only held offers from NDSU and St. Thomas before shutting things down and inking with the Bison. Another athlete who sadly didn’t update a senior highlight tape, Anene will play DE for NDSU but as I mentioned, he was a massive LB/RB hybrid as a prep and shows off his unique nimbleness when he’s got the ball in his hand, running through, cutting past, and stiff-arming past defenders like the Woodbury version of Derrick Henry. Defensively, he’s an efficient and disruptive blitzer who also has the mobility to run with RBs and sometimes WRs downfield in coverage. You don’t see prospects of that size run the rock as balanced and effectively, and the Raptor product is going to make for a very athletic EDGE presence for NDSU.

Devin Lockerby (Faribault) OL. 6’5, 295 lbs.

The first of many PrepRedzoneMN Showcase MVPs and veterans that are a part of the NDSU 2022 class, Faribault Falcon offensive lineman Lockerby was a three-sport athlete in high school who was twice named captain of Faribault and twice named All-District. He held offers from MSU-Mankato, St. Thomas, and North Dakota before receiving that too-good-to-pass-up Bison scholarship, Lockerby committed to NDSU only 16 days after receiving the offer. Sadly, he doesn’t have any senior highlights either, but the PRzMN Showcase brick wall of a OL and played guard and tackle in high school who was particularly punishing as a run blocker and a finisher. With good footwork, natural strength and pop, and a noticeable determination to dominate and block his opponents into the ground. High motor and leg drive combined with his great size and you may have the makings of another MN-born hog with NFL potential in his future. NDSU develops monsters in the trenches.

North Dakota State '22 Commitment Class Breakdown: Minnesotans - Prep Redzone (1)

Andy Thomsen (Grand Rapids) DE. 6’3, 230 lbs.

A sadder story of the 2022 class, Grand Rapids Thunderhawk massive and powerful LB and future NDSU DE earned his scholarship offer after camping in Fargo going into his senior year and was an exciting and physical addition to the 2022 rankings when he was added in the spring of ’21. Sadly, he experienced a neck injury going into his senior season that has now prevented him from ever playing football again. However, NDSU will still honor his scholarship, a blip of light in the sad situation, but I still wish I could have seen him play in the Green and Gold of the Bison. He attacked blocks as aggressively as any defender in MN and was a dominant force between the tackles and off the edge for GR. You’re forever a stud, Andy! Go Bison.

Logan Larson (East Ridge) DT. 6’3, 260 lbs.

Another PrepRedzoneMN Showcase standout and MVP, East Ridge sent two of their biggest standouts to Fargo from their 2022 class, including the well-built DL and future DT Logan Larson. With a great first step, length, and active and strategic hands that shed blocks in run and pass situations, Larson blew up on the ’21 camp circuit and earned an Eastern Illinois offer before receiving a NDSU scholarship after camping in Fargo near the end of June. His senior highlights show off that explosive first step and get off, and I couldn’t get enough of watching him catch passes and run the rock as a TE. He even played QB and WR as a senior, and was as dangerous of a blocker as he was a pass catcher. With his size, athletic gifts, and versatility, he’s got the makings to be a very disruptive DT at the FCS level. Between him and teammate Anene, I’m not sure who is more athletic at their size and who I’m more excited to see in the Fargodome the next 4-5 years!

North Dakota State '22 Commitment Class Breakdown: Minnesotans - Prep Redzone (2)

Nathaniel Staehling (Brainerd) LB. 6’2, 215 lbs.

Another PrepRedzoneMN Showcase MVP who caught my attention, and that of 24/7Sports contributor Ryan Burns, after he ran a 4.7 40 at 215ish pounds going into his senior season. He passed the eye test as well, built thick and sturdy at the shoulders and hips with more room to grow, and puts that size to good use in the weight room, where he power cleans 330 pounds. Staehling – who played QB for Brainerd for two seasons without any defensive reps – picked the Bison over offers from Bemidji State, Northern State, North Dakota, and a PWO from Minnesota, and earned a MN All-Star game nod as well as Academic All-State honors as a senior. Additionally, he was BrainerdDispatch All-Area, Team MVP, twice named All-District, and totaled 62 tackles, three PBUs, three FFs, two interceptions, 1,302 rushing yards and 20 TDs, 835 passing yards and seven TDs, and two receiving TDs through the air. After two seasons of QB only, Staehling moved to RB and LB for his senior season and was an absolute hammer from both spots. A North-South truckstick of a RB, Staehling is most impressive at his future collegiate spot at LB, where he can eat multiple blocking attempts on a single rep and still go sideline-to-sideline after the football. He even played some safety last season, as a testament to his footwork, COD ability, and overall speed. He’ll be another Minnesota LB prospect who could see the field sooner rather than later.

Kaden Zenzen (Barnesville) TE. 6’4, 205 lbs.

The younger brother of Iowa State LB Hunter Zenzen, younger bro Kaden was another distinguished Barnesville athlete to hit the recruiting world hard, as he exploded onto the scene with a NDSU in late June after previously staying very under the radar as a prospect. It’s a testament to the value of camping in-person, where a majority of these Minnesotans earned their offers, as Kaden camped in Fargo, earned that first offer, and committed eight days later to the FCS big boy. The TE and DE, who will begin his college career at TE, shows excellent length, hand placement, and an understanding of leverage as a run blocker, with the strength to finish opponents in to the ground at only 205 pounds. That understanding of leverage and how to use opponents body positioning against them also helped him considerably as a DE, but that effort and ability to finish make it easy to see why the Bison staff like him at TE. He’s going to blow up in that legendary NDSU strength and conditioning program as well.

Darius Givance (Champlin Park) CB. 6’2, 200 lbs.

With excellent size for the CB position, Champlin Park’s Givance is also one of the most athletic players on this athlete-filled list. At 6’2, 190ish in May of 2021, he came into our PRzMN Spring Showcase and clocked a 4.6 flat in the 40, a 4.34 short shuttle, and a 10’8 (!!) broad jump for some ridiculous testing numbers. He is explosive, although he was primarily a RB and LB in high school, NDSU knows that those athletic traits will aid him enough to play CB for the Bison and continue a legacy of Minnesota-born cornerbacks to achieve greatness in Fargo such as Marcus Williams, CJ Smith, and Marquise Bridges. Givance turned down offers from South Dakota State, Winona State, UMD, and Bemidji State before receiving that NDSU scholarship offer, and committed two months after hearing from the Bison. His limited senior highlights are dynamic and physical, mostly from the LB and FB spots where he dished out more than his fair share of big hits. I’m sure the adjustment to the perimeter will take a little bit of time but the athletic traits and speed shown on film make me think the transition will go just fine at the end of the day. Can’t wait to see it.

North Dakota State '22 Commitment Class Breakdown: Minnesotans - Prep Redzone (3)

Mekhi Collins (Mankato West) WR. 6’5, 200 lbs.

The 5A state champ in 2021 was a huge pickup for the Bison recruiting department, landing the 6’5, 200 lb. wideout and hooper over offers from Iowa State, Eastern Michigan, Air Force, Kansas State, UNI, South Dakota, and South Dakota State. The Minnesota All-Star game selection possesses eye-popping size for the WR position and has vertical ability both when stretching the field and on 50/50 contested catch situations. I really like how fluid of a runner he is and how loose his hips look for a bigger WR. He can make CBs open the gate and get out of position with how smooth he can cut during his routes and I also really enjoy watching him pluck the ball out of the air with ease. He can track and play the ball beautifully when it’s in the air and was a matchup nightmare for DBs and DCs anyway you looked at this past season. You don’t see WRs with that size, speed, and body control come out of Minnesota too often, so remember the Mankato product before he makes it big time in Fargo, a la Christian Watson.

North Dakota State '22 Commitment Class Breakdown: Minnesotans - Prep Redzone (4)

Transfer

Jacob Streit (Eden Valley-Watkins / Northern State University) TE. 6’4, 225 lbs.

Coming from one of Minnesota’s finest football & basketball families in the Eden Valley-Watkins’ Streit family, Jacob and his brothers were dominant prep small school hoopers and football standouts who went onto play college ball at the likes of Northern State, St. John’s, and NDSU in one or sometimes both of the aforementioned sports. Jacob comes into Fargo having already spent four years in a college strength and conditioning program but still maintains two years of eligibility thanks to a medical redshirt and the COVID-19 pandemic. He had a promising redshirt freshman season in ’18 that saw him start all 11 games and finish second in receiving yards with 689 as well as six TDs for a NSIC Second Team finish. Last season, he started nine games and averaged 9.55 yards per reception and 10.5 receiving yards per game with three TDs. After the season, he joined a growing lineage of NSIC standouts to finish their careers out in the Missouri Valley, most recently Jake Richter (MSUM), Michael Griffin (SMSU), Brayden Thomas (MSU-Mankato), and Michael Buetow (MSU-Mankato). Can’t wait to watch him play D1 ball the next couple of seasons in Fargo, where he’ll join his younger brother Joshua, a sophomore on the basketball team.

Preferred Walk-Ons

Hudson Artz (Fairmont) DB. 6’, 185 lbs.

A fantastic PrepRedzoneMN Showcase MVP who locked down just about everyone in attendance as a CB but will most likely play safety for the Bison, Artz is the eldest son of former Bison great Kelly Artz, who played for the Bison back in the DII North Central Conference days, and has a younger brother Hank who is going to be a heckuva ball player himself in the 2025 class. Hudson committed to the Bison’s PWO opportunity over a boatload of NSIC offers and a St. Thomas roster spot and is also a standout track and field competitor who clocked impressive times in both the 100M (10.8) and 400M (50.04) races. That speed also was shown off on the camp circuit, where he clocked multiple 4.5s, including at our own showcase. He’s excellent at tackling in space and strong at the point of contact, with good pursuit angles and the quick feet and patience to cover out of the slot. He also flies around the plays with high energy, and after meeting him in person I became even more of a fan, as he’s polite, well-mannered, and fun to talk to. Nothing better than a legacy commit as well!

North Dakota State '22 Commitment Class Breakdown: Minnesotans - Prep Redzone (5)

Mateo Noriega (Burnsville) OL. 6’5, 290 lbs.

A lean, bendy, and mobile offensive lineman who performed very well at one of our 2021 PrepRedzoneMN Showcases, helping to lead to offers from Upper Iowa, UMD, St. John’s, Macalester, Winona State, and North Dakota before NDSU offered a PWO on July 19th and he committed to the 2022 class only three days later. Noriega is going to fill in quite well in the Jim Kramer s&c program of the Bison, who should already like what they have in the Burnsville Blaze walk-on lineman, who is heavy-handed, can break down and block in space at the second level, and is experienced in pass protection against heavyweight DEs off the edge. Minnesota-born NDSU PWO offensive lineman have gone onto have NFL success, so don’t be surprised if you see Noriega crack the starting lineup in his Fargo career. NDSU walk-ons are not like most.

North Dakota State '22 Commitment Class Breakdown: Minnesotans - Prep Redzone (6)

Jacob Kelly (Bemidji) LB. 6’3, 220 lbs.

A giant WR for the Bemidji Lumberjacks who was all of 6’3, 215 as a prep WR and came into our PrepRedzoneMN spring showcase and knocked my socks off with his top-end speed and quick feet at his size. He broke 10’ in the broad jump and went onto perform as the most difficult WR to cover on the day, showing quickness out of his breaks and in his release off the LOS. I think he’s going to transition very well to the defensive side of the ball in college and brings a different game to the table than a normal PWO receiver commit.

North Dakota State '22 Commitment Class Breakdown: Minnesotans - Prep Redzone (7)

Josh Magin (Shakopee) ATH. 6’6, 250 lbs.

One of the more intriguing commitments in the entire class regardless of position, state, or scholarship/walk-on status comes from the 6A Shakopee Sabers and their massive athlete Josh Magin. He came onto the recruiting scene in force as a junior after playing safety at a massive 6’6, 215ish and playing it well. He continued to add weight, mass, and strength to already big frame and moved closer to the LOS as a senior, winding up as a standup OLB with scary speed off the edge for a kid of his size. He also continued to aid in pass coverage and the pursuit of the ball downfield, which looks crazy as he’s built like a DE while backpedaling, changing direction, and running down loose WRs. He held five DII offers and a St. Thomas roster spot before he shut down his commitment, and I’m very surprised he didn’t have more interest. This won’t be the last you hear from the Shako product.

Cedric Wall (Rosemount) WR. 6’1, 165 lbs.

Rosemount High School wide receivers have been especially fruitful for the Bison over the years and they look to keep things going with the PWO addition of speedy Cedric Wall. The playmaker is elusive in space and can turn a seemingly routine WR screen into a 50+ yard TD scamper out of nowhere. He can cruise by DBs while going deep without them knowing or being able to do anything about it, and does a good job of tracking and getting under the football. He’s simply a big play wide receiver who will look to keep creating splash plays for the Bison faithful going forward.

John Kaczor (St. Cloud Tech) OL. 6’3, 280 lbs.

Another NDSU legacy who will follow in the footsteps of his soon-to-be four-year starter brother James Kaczor, younger brother John was a mauling OG for the Tech Tigers who continued the Bison legacy over offers from Concordia-St. Paul, Bemidji State, UMary, St. Thomas, Sioux Falls, and SMSU. I personally thought the OG would have more FCS interest and opportunities, as he was experienced and dominant for a few years at Tech while showing off his explosive pop, excellent technique, and aggressive attitude. He’s nimble and can adjust and move well in space, as well as straight up flatten his opponents. The Bison got a couple of potential big-time lineman in this 2022 MN walk-on class.

Superlatives

Most Likely to Play as a Freshman: Mekhi Collins (Mankato West) WR.

Biggest Recruiting Win: Mekhi Collins (Mankato West) WR.

Hardest Hitter: Nathaniel Staehling (Brainerd) LB.

Biggest Sleeper: Josh Magin (Shakopee) DL.

Lowest Floor: Jacob Streit (Eden Valley-Wakins/Northern State) TE.

Highest Ceiling: Toby Anene (East Ridge) or Logan Larson (East Ridge)

Future NFL Draft pick: Darius Givance (Champlin Park) or Mekhi Collins (Mankato West)

Future Team Captain: Austin Altepeter (Moorhead) LB.

PWO Success Continued: John Kaczor (St. Cloud Tech) OG/DT.

Best Interview & Most to Prove: Hudson Artz (Fairmont) DB.

Don’t Underestimate: Devin Lockerby (Faribault) OL.

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