It's always a competitive environment for Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference programs recruiting Minnesota high school football players. This year was no exception, as more than 100 prospects signed their National Letter of Intent to 11 of the 16 NSIC schools on National Signing Day.
As the classes were finalized on Wednesday, three leaders emerged in the fight for the top-rated class based on Northstar Football News Class of 2017 prospect rankings. Bemidji State was the leader by total numbers, signing 19 players from around Minnesota, including 13 in the top-half of the overall rankings. Augustana's class got a late boost with the addition of Cretin-Derham Hall's Denzel Fondungallah, a Division-I talent who was committed to Northern Iowa until late January.
Ultimately, the NFN staff chose the Minnesota-Duluth recruiting class as the best in the NSIC this year for Minnesota prospects. It is the second-straight recruiting cycle that coach Curt Wiese and his staff signed the league's best group.
The Bulldogs signed five players ranked No. 106 or better in the 2017 list, including three in the Top 80. The headliner is Lakeville North running back Wade Sullivan. Sullivan was an Associated Press first-team all-state selection and the MFCA Mr. Football winner in 2016. He is the first Mr. Football awardee who didn't sign with a Division I program since the award began in 2003.
Winona State and Concordia-St. Paul finish the Top 5. It's the first year the Warriors and Golden Bears have been honored as a top-five group since Northstar Football News began ranking the NSIC classes in 2014.