Who Is Going Pro – NDSU 2014 Class
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Last years NDSU seniors went out 3 time NCAA Division I Champions and many have a shot to play professionally. 2009 was the last year NDSU had a player drafted as the Titans selected Nick Schommer. The only current NFL draft pick from NDSU is Joe Mays who was drafted in 2008 by the Eagles. There are other UDFA’s in the NFL (Ramon Humber, Paul Cornick, Matt Veldman, Craig Dahl) The last time NDSU had more than one player drafted was 2002 when Lamar Gordon and Pete Campion were both drafted. NDSU has had 3 players drafted before, but never in the first 7 rounds and currently the draft is only 7 rounds. Billy Turner has a chance to join the short list of NDSU players drafted in the 3rd round or better. Lamar Gordon 2002 Rd 3 PK 84 Phil Hansen 1991 RD 2 PK 54 Stacey Robinson 1985 RD 2 PK 46 Steve Nelson 1974 RD 2 PK 34
Ryan Smith WR (CFL)
Ryan was part of the great 2010 class and played a major role the day he stepped on campus from Wahpeton, ND. Ryan has already signed a contract with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian football league. Like any player signed, he still has to make the team. But many CFL experts say that is a given and he should compete right away for serious playing time.
Billy Turner OL
Billy is another member of the 2010 class and like Ryan Smith wasted no time making an immediate impact. Turner started nearly every game during his time at NDSU. There’s been a lot of talk about him moving inside to guard. Others think he could play right away at right tackle and some say he could develop into a multi year starter at left tackle. Whichever way you read into that, the point is Billy is versatile. He played in the Senior Bowl and also participated in the NFL combine. Billy will be drafted and most likely on the second day of the draft in round 2 or 3. If he falls to the 4th round, the team that gets him will be getting a steal.
Marcus Williams DB
Marcus was part of the 2009 class and after redshirting his first year he started nearly every game for the next four years at cornerback. In that time he intercepted 21 passes and set an FCS record by returning 7 of them for touchdowns (he also had 2 special teams TD’s) Before the year many pointed to Marcus as the player who had the best chance at getting drafted high. Now many experts are predicting if he does get drafted it wont be before the 7th round. In the new pass happy NFL, I just dont see how Marcus gets out of the 6th. He was overlooked coming out of high school and now after a stellar college career he is being overlooked again. Marcus will make a squad heading into week 1.
Brock Jensen QB
Another member of the 2009 class, Brock redshirted his first year and then helped lead NDSU to the quarterfinals his redshirt freshman year splitting time with Jose Mohler. Mohler eventually transferred, Brock took over in 2011 and the rest was Bison history. Brock set the all time FCS record for wins from a QB with 47 and matched that with only 5 losses in his four years. He is able to use his legs and has a rocket for an arm. He had some problems with the 15 yard out, but most experts will say that is the toughest throw in football. Brock is a winner and some team will take a chance on him in the 7th. If he goes undrafted, I have no doubt he will make a practice squad and may even start a few games down the line.
Sam Ojuri RB
If there is one position that almost guarantees you will get an NFL tryout it is NDSU running back. From Lamar Gordon to Tyler Roehl to Pat Paschall to DJ McNorton, if you carry the rock for NDSU some team will give you a look. Sam was part of the 2009 class and made an immediate impact his first year. His second year he redshirted to focus on school and when he returned for his redshirt sophomore year in 2011 he was splitting carries with McNorton. Sam’s numbers dont jump off the page like some other FCS backs, but none of those other backs were in a traditional 2-back system like NDSU runs. But wear and tear is the biggest setback for NFL RB’s and not carrying the load for the last 3 years (Splitting carries with McNorton and Crockett) may give him a longer shelf life. I think Sam has the talent to be drafted in the 6th or 7th, but the NFL has been downgrading RB’s more and more each year. I fully expect Sam to make someones opening day roster whether he is drafted or not.
Leevon Perry DT
Leevon is another member of the 2009 class and redshirted his first year. The following year he started every game as a redshirt freshman and every game as a sophomore. He was on pace to start every game as a junior until a chopblock late in the season vs SDSU ended his junior year. Leevon showed his toughness and came back strong his senior year helping NDSU to its 3rd straight championship. There hasn’t been much talk about Leevon getting drafted, but that doesn’t mean he wont get a camp tryout. Everything I have heard tells me Leevon still wants to play more football and I am not one to count him out. If he is 100% and committed to making an NFL squad he just may prove all the experts wrong.
Bryan Shepherd DB
Bryan transferred to NDSU from UNO after they canceled their football program in 2010. Bryan played his next 3 years in Fargo and contributed a bunch in the defensive backfield and was one of the most exciting guys to watch on special teams. There has been almost no talk about him playing professionally, but he is my sleeper in the group to surprise some team. It may be the CFL, but I don’t think Bryan is done playing. His speed matched with his aggression on the field and ability to play in all kinds of secondary packages makes him a very interesting prospect.
And the list doesn’t stop with those guys. Ryan Drevlow and Danny Luecke both have the size to move people at any level from the DT position. But I don’t even know if those guys hung up the cleats or still want to play. Cole Jirik is one of the toughest players to ever play at NDSU and his hustle on the field led to many a trip to see the trainers about his shoulders. He had surgery this summer and is on his way to 100% but the time he was recovering, others were trying out for NFL scouts. Cole has the ability, it will be interesting to see if anyone gives him the chance. Finally Michael Murphy the long snapper who started every game during his NDSU career should get a look by someone if he wants to keep playing. I cant think of one bad snap or pressure up the middle that got a kick blocked over his four years. With that type of consistency and a 240 pound frame who can get downfield to cover punt returns, he should at least get a tryout or two.