Bemidji State head football coach Brent Bolte and his staff have slowly built one of the best Division II programs in the state of Minnesota. In 2014, the program struggled through a 3-8 season – winning only one game in…
Bemidji State head football coach Brent Bolte and his staff have slowly built one of the best Division II programs in the state of Minnesota. In 2014, the program struggled through a 3-8 season – winning only one game in the NSIC. Since then, they have won at least seven games per season. With another signing day in the rearview mirror – Bolte took some time to talk about – among other things – their recruiting class, their approach this season, and what he liked about the kids from Minnesota.
What are your general thoughts on the 2019 season for your program?
We are looking forward to the 2020 campaign. Coming off an 8-3 season riddled with injuries, we have high hopes for this group of young men coming back. We return seven starters on offense, eight starters on defense, along with all our specialists.
What are your overall thoughts on this recruiting class?
We are excited about the incoming class. We felt we brought in a well-rounded, deep class that brought depth and athleticism across the board on the offense and defensive side of the ball.
What was the strength of the Minnesota class this year?
I thought the strength was the depth and balance of the class overall. We felt we were able to address our needs, particularly in the trenches on both sides of the ball, a must competing in the NSIC.
Position-wise, what was your focus this recruiting season?
Our goal was a well-rounded, balanced class like every year. I was impressed by the quality and depth of the class on the offensive line and defensive line in particular.
Outside of football skills, what do you look for in a potential recruit?
Obviously, you want your recruits to be great in the classroom, which will hopefully allow them to carry that over to their degree path in college. I also like to recruit multisport athletes that are highly competitive in a variety of areas and have shown leadership qualities and characteristics. We do a lot of work getting to know our recruits, their parents, and doing our diligence by talking with their coaches and even the coaches they play against.
What about your program/school do you stress when talking to a recruit?
We stress our “grind the axe” mentality and sell the heck out of what has allowed us to be successful. That is getting guys who are willing to outwork their peers and maximize their potential. The concept of “we, not me” and what’s for the betterment of the program and not just them as individuals is what allows us to keep growing and moving this program forward.
With the unfortunate end to the programs in St. Cloud and Crookston – those kids needed a place to go. What was your approach to the guys in this class that were committed to either of those programs?
First off, I want to say how impressed I was with how both staffs handled the situations and went above and beyond to help their players get placed. I will be honest; I’m not sure if I would have been able to act as classy as those staffs did in the face of that situation.
In terms of our recruitment of their athletes, we looked specifically at what our needs were and what players we had recruited out of high school on their squads. We ended up taking a total of five players from SCSU and UMC, they have been here working hard and have been great additions to the squad.
Did you have any last-minute commits or anything that surprised you as this class came together?
We had a good grasp on our recruitment of our Midwest talent, but we did add two talented players from Texas and Arizona late in the process, which was an added bonus to our class, and we felt those addressed our areas within this recruiting cycle.