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Bisonation NDSU Bison Football RecruitingArticles: John Neis
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Braden Sikes Q&A

Braden Sikes Q&A

S Braden Sikes (Excelsior, MN)

I heard you have traveled a lot growing up. Where all have you lived and how have these different locations help you grow up and experience new things?
I have lived in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas 3 times, Canada, England and Minn. my family is from Texas and that is where my passion for football started. Moving so many times has made me learn how to make friends and relate to people with different backgrounds and also made me very close to my family, I have 3 sisters.

Tell Bison fans about Minnetonka football. Have you been successful, how many teammates plan to continue to play in college and how was your time at Minnetonka?
Minnetonka is a great high school over 3000 students we had a 100 kids on varsity plus 2 sophomore teams and 2 freshman teams which makes for great competition. We had 7 kids sign football letters last week. We have been marginally successful that last several seasons getting knocked out in the 2nd round of the playoffs 2 years ago. Honestly we should have been better it was a disappointing year for us a team and especially as someone who has dreamed of winning a state championship. I loved going to school at Minnetonka and will always have good memories of my time there.

When did you first hear about NDSU and when did coaches start recruiting you?
I started hearing about them once I moved to MN. I really started hearing about them during game day 2 years ago. Coach Entz started recruiting me the spring of my junior year.

I believe you picked up your offer at NDSU summer camp. Why did you attend the camp, what impressed you about the camp and what was the feeling like after NDSU offered you?
Coach Entz was very honest with me that he saw me as a safety and that since I had not played it before he needed to see me at camp before an offer would come. The camp was very competitive, we got after it specifically the DB’s group. We talked alot of trash, had a little fun ofcourse. I got to know Robbie, and Jaxon. Marquise and I were already friends before so it was a lot of fun. Coach Klanderman and coach Blackmore were really cool. That’s when I decided safety was the spot for me. Getting the offer was amazing it was my 1st and something I have dreamed about since I was 6 years old playing pop warner in Texas.

NDSU did an amazing job finding Minnesota talent this year and the main Minnesota recruiter is defensive coordinator Matt Entz. Tell Bison fans about coach Entz and why do you think he was able to be so successful in the Twin Cities area?
Coach Entz has a great reputation with the HS coaches in the twin cities he was the most honest with me and was also always available. My parents loved him and he is someone you know you can trust.

You verbally committed to NDSU in July, what was it about the team, staff or university that allowed you to feel comfortable enough to commit to NDSU?
It was combination of the coaches, the winning tradition, the blue collar smash mouth style football they play and the fact they have a good Ag Business school. I went up to the spring game with my family and then went back up for a campus visit in July and it just felt like home.

You were a very successful QB in high school but NDSU wants you on the defensive side. Did you have a preference what side of the ball you wanted to play on and which safety position do you think fits you best?
Early on I thought I wanted to play offense either QB or WR but after a few different coaches talked with me about playing safety at the next level I got excited about it. I played linebacker growing up and have always been a physical player regardless of the position I played. I really believe my time at WR and QB will make me a better safety understanding the tendancy’s of the offense. End of the day though I just like to play ball.

With Colten Heagle and Christian Dudzik graduating many media members point to the safety as the position that needs immediate help and think a 2015 safety prospect could have a redshirt pulled. What have coaches told you about the possibility of playing next year?
First off Heagle and Dudzik are studs and have set the bar for safety play at NDSU, coach Klanderman sees me as a strong safety and has said I have a chance to play right away so I will come into camp in the best possible shape and see how it works out. I am competitive and l always believe I will find a way to contribute if it’s not this year thats ok as well I will learn as much as possible from the upper class men.

Even after you verballed to NDSU other teams continued to recruit you and others offered. How was that process and what was Montana pitch when they came in? UNI wanted you at QB, did you think about that offer or was it NDSU all the way once you verballed?
The recruiting process is interesting, the appeal to Montana was they have good fans as well and a strong tradition but primarily I like the outdoors and the ability to hunt and fish etc was interesting. UNI offered as a QB or safety but their pitch was QB it was nice to receive an offer as a QB but they really don’t have the fan support to make it very appealing and it did not have the same family atmosphere that NDSU had. I was solid to NDSU from the time I committed but it was quite a ride that I am glad it’s over.

Was there anything about NDSU or Fargo that surprised you on your unofficial visits or official visit?
The Bison fans are ultimately the difference maker, as someone who grew up going to games in the power 5 conferences I would put Bison fans at the same level I have seen anywhere. When you attend a game and see the tailgate lot full and people having a good time it sells itself. I heard all of the stuff about the cold and wind etc but I fell in love with the people, and the town had much more to offer than I expected.

Looking at the players on your official visit it looks like you would have an amazing 7X7 team: Williams and Bridges at WR, dual QB threat with you and Hendricks, a shifty back in Grimsley and a couple athletic big boys in Carlton and Darnell. Which of these guys had you not met before and who was your host? Also could you give us a little breakdown on the guys you had met before and what you expect them to bring to the team?
I knew all of these guys except Williams, we all went to camps together and competed or played in 7 on 7 tournaments. I think this class has a chance to be special we are very close and have been talking a lot for the last 6 months. We know that the bar is high but this group is not afraid of high expectations. No pressure, no diamonds.

What does it mean to you be part of the Bison family?
It means everything, the bison family is very welcoming and I’m looking forward to producing for them.

Tell us about Bryan Carlton: something that you love, your favorite part of his game and something we may not know about him?
Bryan Carlton, honestly my favorite thing about him is his passion without a doubt. My favorite part of Bryan’s game has got to be his aggressiveness, tell you what I know I wore a red jersey this year playing quarterback, but with Bryan on the Dline you have to stay on your toes at all times, all good and fun. Something you may not know is that the only thing Bryan can actually beat me at is Madden.

What other sports have your played in high school and are you playing any this year?
I played varsity football as a freshman in Wichita Kansas, I played rugby in England, when I moved back from England I was not eligible for varsity because I moved back ahead of my parents so I played soph football and 2 years on varsity, I also ran track and played varsity basketball. I am not currently playing any sports just working out for this summer.

What was the biggest factor in your decision to attend NDSU?
Coaching staff, fans, winning tradition

What jersey number would you like to be?
Either 3 which was Dwayne Slay a safety for Texas Tech who was the hardest hitter in the history of the big 12 or 20 after Colten Heagle or 21 after Sean Taylor

Do you know what you plan to major in?
Agri Business

Here is Coach Klieman talking about Braden on Signing day