Spring Football: Trio of Quarterbacks Competing for UND Starting Gig
The Hawks will compete in their annual Spring Game on Friday, April 13th
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — When the Fighting Hawks took the field last season, there was no question who would be leading the green and white. Now without four-year starter Keaton Studsrud, North Dakota football has some big shoes to fill.
“Keaton was great for our program,” head coach Bubba Schweigert said. “His freshmen year, his true freshman year he sacrificed a lot when we needed to call upon him and then was our starter since that time and was steady.”
It’s not just Studsrud’s near 5,500 career yards and 36 touchdowns the Fighting Hawks are going to miss most.
“Keaton, he always had that leadership role and a lot of guys looked up to him and he had control over the team and had just that voice that everybody listened to,” defensive lineman Tank Harris said.
“The biggest thing from Keaton was just his leadership,”quarterback Andrew Zimmerman added. “Everyone rallied behind him. He could make a play and every offensive lineman was on him, grabbing him, getting him up. That was just one of the biggest things is him as a leader.”
So who will be next to follow in the footsteps of number seven? Schweigert has three quarterbacks to choose from.
Option one: Redshirt freshman, Brock Boltmann.
“We like his competitive spirit and just a play-maker,” said Schweigert.
“Brock is more of the running-style quarterback,” Harris said. “He’s really nice in open space.”
“Brock is more of a get-out-of-trouble type guy,” running back John Santiago added. “That’s something you really need as a quarterback. You can’t freak out when things are happening.”
Boltmann finished his high school career at Edina with over 3,000 yards passing. He’s now up against junior transfer Nate Ketteringham, who played two seasons with Big Sky foe Sacramento State.
“Nate’s a smart guy,” Santiago said. “He’s been in a division-one program before. He’s really good in open space. If you look at our tape in 2017 when we played him, he was breaking off our defense a lot.”
“Nate will give you all of it,” said Harris. “He’s versatile, he can run, he can pass and he has a nice, strong arm.”
“He’s one competitive kid,” Zimmerman added. “I mean, he smacked Mason [Bennett] at the end and not a lot of quarterback’s are willing to do that.”
And then there’s Andrew Zimmerman, the only one out of the bunch to suit up and play for the Hawks after starting in four games last season.
“He’s got more experience because he’s been in our system longer and he has real composure and command of the huddle,” Schweigert said.
“Zimmerman is like the command guy,” Harris said. “He’s in there knowing what to every play and he’s constantly working to get better.”
“Andrew is just a smart guy,” Santiago said. “He’s pretty reliable in that aspect. I think he can deliver a good ball, so you always want a quarterback like that.”
But when it comes to choosing one of the three for the starting job …
“They’re going to be competing throughout the summer and throughout fall camp because we just don’t see a whole lot of separation and that’s good for our team,” Schweigert explained. “Right now we want them to keep competing and just become more complete players.”
The trio will continue to compete for the starting job day-by-day. The Hawks will compete in their annual Spring Game on Friday, April 13th.