(STATS) - The difference with recruiting today from when North Dakota State won the first of five straight FCS national titles is discernible for coach Chris Klieman.
"So many more people know about NDSU because of all the games we've had on ESPN or the 'College GameDay' visits," he said. "Obviously, the championships have been huge for us. When I walk into airports and have NDSU gear on, everywhere I go, people know North Dakota State so much more now than in 2011."
That advantage was verified Wednesday when the FCS dynasty unveiled a 26-member signing class coming from nine states, including a high of eight players from Minnesota. Sixteen players signed national letters of intent and 10 were preferred walk-ons.
Cameron Hackl, a 6-foot-3, 260-pound defensive tackle from Green Bay, Wisconsin, was one of the more highly regarded recruits. But the talented class also had terrific size among offensive linemen, including Dillon Radunz (6-6, 260) from Becker, Minnesota, Karson Schoening (6-4, 320) from Rolla, North Dakota, and Ben Hecht (6-5, 255) from Shawnee, Kansas.
Sean Engel, a 6-foot-5 wide receiver out of Chaska, Minnesota, was another key recruit, and the Bison's vaunted defense will be glad to work in linebackers Moses Nyangacha from Robbinsdale and Ross Kennelly from Superior, Wisconsin.
Klieman also found an experienced replacement for first-team All-America punter Ben LeCompte, signing SMU transfer Jackson Koonce, who will be immediately eligible for his final two seasons.
2016 North Dakota State Commitment Class
Adam Cofield, RB, 5-11, 190, Lee's Summit, Mo. (Blue Springs South)
Jabril Cox, LB, 6-3, 218, Raytown, Mo. (Raytown South)
Felix Dixon, DB, 6-0, 165, Clearwater, Fla. (Countryside)
Sean Engel, WR, 6-5, 200, Chaska, Minn. (Chaska)
Cameron Hackl, DT, 6-3, 260, Green Bay, Wis. (Bay Port)
Ben Hecht, OL, 6-5, 255, Shawnee, Kan. (Mill Valley)
*-Darren Kelley, DB, 6-0,192, Baltimore (Potomac/NDSCS)
Ross Kennelly, LB, 5-11, 187, Superior, Wis. (Superior)
*-Jackson Konce, P, 6-1, 178, Oceanside, Calif. (Oceanside/SMU)
Braydon Lund, TE, 6-3, 246, Minot, N.D. (Minot)
Moses Nyangacha, LB, 5-11, 190, Robbinsdale, Minn. (Robbinsdale Cooper)
Beau Pauly, LB, 6-2, 207, Becker, Minn. (Becker)
Dillon Radunz, OL, 6-6, 260, Becker, Minn.
Karson Schoening, OL, 6-4, 320, Rolla, N.D. (Rolla)
Henry Van Dellen, QB, 6-4, 205, Plymouth, Minn. (Providence Academy)
Cordell Volson, OL, 6-6, 250, Balfour, N.D. (Drake)
w-Quinn Alo, OL, 6-2, 336, LaMoure, N.D. (LaMoure)
w-Matt Biegler, TE, 6-3, 256, Underwood, Minn. (Underwood)
w-Ross Godfrey, DB, 5-10, 150, Sioux City, Iowa (Sioux City East)
w-Trevor Heit, WR, 5-9, 170, Pepin, Wisc. (Pepin-Alma)
w-Josh Howieson, OL, 6-5, 275, Baxter, Minn. (Brainerd)
w-Cole Jacob, WR, 6-0, 177, Medina, Minn. (Benilde-St. Margaret's)
w-Victor Kizewski, DB, 6-0,190, Stevens Point, Wis. (Stevens Point)
w-Zach Kubas, OL, 6-4, 260, Dickinson, N.D. (Trinity)
w-Zak Kuntz, FB, 6-2, 251, Grand Forks, N.D. (Red River)
w-Garret Wegner, P, 6-0, 177, Lodi, Wis. (Lodi)
* - Transfer
w - Preferred Walk-on