(Also, individual storylines to watch this football season)
My name is Dan Slaubaugh and I am extremely excited to be joining the team here at Bison Illustrated.
A little bit about me:
I am currently a senior at North Dakota State University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in strategic communication with a minor in journalism.
Ever since I was little I have loved sports. The competition, drama, emotion, patriotism and laughter that sports bring to the table brought an unmatched passion for me. Sports are universal. Anywhere I go I can connect with people through sports whether I know them personally or not. It’s something that I’ve always been around and paid attention to, which is why I’ve been groomed to love it.
This love of sports has transformed into a career path. I plan to pursue a full-time job in sports media as I approach graduation next May. Whether that’s covering a team for a media outlet, landing a communications position in a professional organization or working as a sports information director in college athletics, I’m not too picky.
In addition to covering the Bison at Bison Illustrated, I also run a (shameless plug) Minnesota Timberwolves centric blog called On The Prowl and contribute to SB Nation’s Tampa Bay Rays blog. Sure, I write a lot, but a la Michael Scott “sometimes I just start a sentence and I don’t even know where it’s going. I just hope I find it along the way. Like an improv conversation. An improvisation.”
When I’m not immersed in the sports scene or in my studies, you can find me selling paint part-time at Sherwin Williams (because one has to pay for the weekly Chick-Fil-A stop somehow), fiercely competing in an old-fashioned game of Settlers of Catan and growing in my faith through a Christian organization called Cru.
But enough about me, you’re most likely here as an avid Bison fan looking for sports coverage on your favorite university. So let’s get to it.
Ranked number one in the STATS FCS Preseason Top 25 media poll released Monday, August 6, the defending national champion North Dakota State Bison garnered 151 of the 157 first-place votes.
They are loaded on both sides of the ball, returning 16 of 22 starters — with 11 of the 16 named as preseason All-Missouri Valley Football Conference selections — possessing a plethora of veteran leadership and experience. One could certainly argue it would be a surprise if they didn’t bring home another trophy from Frisco, winning their seventh title in eight years. So naturally, what intrigues me most about the upcoming football season are the individual storylines. Allow me to expound.
Can Easton Stick have a stellar senior season and continue to work his way onto NFL draft boards?
With a 34-3 collegiate record as a starter and a skill set many suggest can compete at the pro level, the senior quarterback ranks as the number two FCS prospect at his position for the 2019 NFL Draft by NFL Draft Scout.
“(Easton) Stick is 6-foot-2 with better speed and while he can’t make all the throws (Carson) Wentz could, he still has the arm strength and runs the same offensive system that is attractive to scouts,” wrote Hero Sports’ Sam Herder in February.
As a result of a dominant run game engineered by a overbearing offensive line and a power offense, Easton Stick’s numbers won’t blow you away. His efficiency will, though, ranking third in passing efficiency (169.5) and fifth in passing yards per completion (15.04) in all of FCS football a season ago.
Don’t miss your first chance to see Stick in action at the Fargodome this fall. I know NFL scouts won’t.
How quickly will Greg Menard return to his dominant form after his ACL tear a year ago?
A preseason All-American selection, senior Greg Menard was set for a dominant season last fall. Then he suffered a season-ending knee injury during the first week of fall camp, and the Bison had lost their All-American defensive end. Being it not the way Menard wanted to go out, he optioned his redshirt in hopes of one last strong, healthy season in a Bison uniform.
Menard enters the 2018 season just one year removed from finishing third in the Missouri Valley Football Conference with 11 sacks and fourth in the league with 15.5 tackles for loss. The Lakeville North, Minnesota, product has set himself up for a bright future post-college. Whether that’s on the football field or in the workforce has yet to be determined, but Menard certainly possesses the accolades (three straight MVFC Commissioner’s Academic Excellence Awards) to suggest the kid has a bright future.
But first things first, Menard is ready to give opposing offensive lines fits in 2018.
Will Jabril Cox continue to establish himself as an early-round selection in the NFL Draft (whenever he may declare)?
An elite talent with the physical makeup needed to succeed at the next level, sophomore Jabril Cox caught the attention of NFL scouts last year as a freshman.
“Just a freshman, but he is an athletic freak with size, speed and a sideline-to-sideline style. Could have a Dexter Coakley-caliber career in the FCS. Grade: Late rounds,” wrote Fox Sports in an early January article highlighting the NFL prospects participating in the 2018 FCS title game.
A highly-recruited linebacker out of Kansas City, Cox quickly made a name for himself as a freshman last year. He finished the season first on the team in tackles (75), tackles for loss (13.5), and fumble recoveries (3), playing all 15 games and spearheading the top FCS defense in the country.
If he can accomplish all those things as a freshman, I can’t wait to find out what he’s capable of after another full offseason in the weight room.
These are just a few of the many storylines worth following in another season of Bison football, one that ought to be filled with sellout crowds, tailgating frenzies and a slew of push-ups from the national guard members in the end zone after Bison touchdowns.
I’m Dan Slaubaugh and this is your Slaubaugh Scoop.
Thanks for reading. Have a wonderful September. Go Bison.