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With several injuries in the North Dakota secondary in 2017, many younger players had to take a step forward.

Football players

Photo by Hillary Ehlen

Injuries riddled the Fighting Hawks secondary in 2017. Due to this misfortune, several young players were thrust into game action. However, that has better prepared the Fighting Hawks secondary as 2018 rolls on. Now, these younger players are ready to take the next leap forward this season.

#12 Hayden Blubaugh

Sophomore – Aurora, CO
6’ 0”, 190 lbs

Blubaugh was just one of the defensive backs thrown into action as a freshman due to extensive injuries to the rest of the secondary. As a true freshman, he proved he belonged on the field for the Fighting Hawks on defense and special teams. Coming into 2018 as just a sophomore, Blubaugh already has valuable experience on the field which will work to his advantage.

Stat check: Blubaugh in 2017

Games: 11

Tackles: 41
Solo Tackles: 27
Pass Break-Ups: 6

Blubaugh In 2018

Tackles: 5
Pass Breakups: 2
Interceptions: 1

#6 Evan Holm

Junior – Edina, MN
5’ 11”, 180 lbs

Marred by injury last season, Holm only started in four games for UND. However, he was exceptional at the time he was healthy. He recorded eight tackles in the season opener against FBS opponent Utah. In 2016, Holm racked up 16 tackles and one interception as a freshman.

Stat Check: Holm in 2017

Games: 4
Tackles: 13

Interceptions: 1

Holm In 2018

Tackes: 15
Pass Breakups: 5

#20 Lenny Nelson IV

Junior – Roseville, CA
5’ 10”, 209 lbs

Nelson IV comes to Grand Forks from Sacramento, California, where he played for American River College in 2017. Needless to say, he was dominant for the Beavers with his ball-hawking prowess. That is sure to pay off for a re-loaded UND secondary.

Stat Check: Nelson IV In 2017 (American River College)

Tackles: 39
Tackles For Loss: 1.5
Interceptions: 6
Interceptions Yards: 104

Nelson IV In 2018

Tackles: 2
Sacks: 1
Sack Yards: 6

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Written by Nolan Schmidt

Nolan is the Editor of Fighting Hawks Magazine. He is originally from Bismarck, ND and is a graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead. Outside of work, Nolan loves to write fiction short stories, among other things.

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