The Alabama Crimson Tide have created a long lasting legacy by stringing together very successful seasons and National Championships. They have terrorized the SEC for many years now. Unknown to the average fan, there is a team in the FCS that has been even more dominant as of late. The North Dakota State Bison put a cap on a very successful season last year by earning their fifth, yes their fifth, FCS National Championship. They have created their own dynasty, and are not ready to hand over the reins this season.
NDSU has been so successful, in part, because of a smothering defense. They have a strong tradition of fielding these vicious 4-3 units. In their defense, one of the most important pieces is the Middle Linebacker. He plays as the defensive field general, and generally makes sure everyone else is in place pre-snap. This year’s version of the Bison defense is lead by Senior standout Nick DeLuca. The 6’3″ 249lbs DeLuca topped FCS Linebackers in all statistical categories. Additionally, he was the sole ‘backer named to the Butkus Award Watchlist. Nick could very likely be the best NFL prospect to come out of the FCS this year. Also returning to defend the title is Junior Defensive End Greg Menard. While slightly undersized at 6’2″ and 240lbs, Greg was very adept at hitting opposing signal callers last year and racked up 10 sacks. This Bison defense looks to be just as fierce as last year’s rendition, and is willing to carry North Dakota State on its back through the FCS Playoffs, if necessary.
The Defense can’t do it all alone and won’t have to. Though Carson Wentz (Eagles) and Joe Haeg (Colts) have left for the NFL, this Bison offense has plenty of talent returning. Last year’s leading rusher, King Frazier, brings his bruising running style back this season. He should have plenty of room to run as Senior Guard Zack Johnson and his crew are no strangers to blasting holes for their running backs. Quarterback Easton Stick is no stranger to leading this team, as he went 8-0 as the starter. He took over a 4-2 team last year, and led them to the FCS National Semi-Finals after Carson Wentz went down. Don’t expect this unit to take a step back. They’ve just reloaded.
North Dakota State has all the talent they need to make a run at their sixth National Championship. The road won’t be easy. The Bison have a target on their back; however, as their last five National Championship can attest, they won’t back down under pressure. They’ll rise to the occasion. Look for this year’s version to be equally competitive, and they will be fighting to retain their title as DeLuca and company Seniors’ swan song.
Tyrant Scouting All-Americans
Nick Deluca (ILB, First Team)
Zack Johnson (OG, First Team)
King Frazier (RB, Second Team)