Photos By J. Alan Paul Photography
Nick DeLuca and Nate Tanguay are returning from injury to join forces with All-American safety Tre Dempsey for one goal—returning to Frisco. But first, they need to take care of business in the regular season. The Bison will look to the defense, Code Green, to lead the way.
Key Figure: 23
DeLuca made 23 combined tackles against Eastern Washington (15) and Iowa (8). He also had a pick-six against the Eagles and led the team in tackles during the come-from-behind upset against Iowa. He was playing with a torn labrum.
Nick DeLuca was supposed to have a memorable senior season last year at NDSU leading his defense in a chase for another FCS title. In the second half of the first game against Charleston Southern, the middle linebacker’s shoulder gave out and his left labrum tore. In an act of ultimate team sacrifice, the captain returned to the field against Eastern Washington and Iowa.
Ultimately, the pain wouldn’t subside and surgery was needed. His season was over. After being granted another year of eligibility in December, DeLuca decided to return for one last run with his Bison brothers and end his career on top.
The bad luck continued this September. DeLuca injured his knee in practice that required a minor procedure. He missed the Eastern Washington and Robert Morris game. The senior captain shocked Bison Nation with a triumphant return to the field against Missouri State this past weekend. The two-time Butkus Award Watch List honoree showed why he’s one of the best linebackers in college football with his nine tackles in three quarters of play. No knee brace, no problem. DeLuca is back and “Code Green” just got a lot scarier.
DeLuca on his goals for the season
“Everything is still there, if not more. Once you get taken away from football, you come back with a different perspective and you see things that you may not have noticed before.”
DeLuca on what he has left to accomplish
“I’m just trying to leave a legacy that I was a guy who worked hard and did the right thing. As far as on the field, just be a guy that my teammates can count on.”
DeLuca on if last season was successful or not
“I would say both. We had a lot of successes on our team that went overlooked, but at the same time, we didn’t meet our final goal of getting back to the national championship game. We take that to heart and go into this year with that motivation.”