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Braden Zuroff didn't want to rush his recruitment process.

The New Salem-Almont-Glen Ullin football star played it slow and steady and the process came up gold ... and green.

Zuroff, an all-state running back for the Holsteins, committed to North Dakota State as a preferred walk-on over the weekend.

"I just wanted to be patient in making my decision," he said. "Once they started recruited me, it's definitely something I wanted to pursue and it ended up working out good."

Zuroff will play running back for the Bison. Like most freshmen at NDSU, his first year likely will be spent as a redshirt. He'll also have an opportunity to earn a scholarship.

"They said toward the middle of next year that will probably be decided. If I continue to improve and work hard, hopefully that's something that will happen," Zuroff said. "That's the thing about a school like NDSU. Nothing is handed to you. You have to work hard to earn your spot."

Zuroff, who also plays basketball and baseball, was a big-play machine and touchdown-maker for the 9-man state runner-up Holsteins last season. He had 35 TDs total and over 2,100 all-purpose yards. Additionally, he also had 40.5 tackles from his defensive end spot.

Bemidji State of the Northern Sun and NAIA power Dickinson State were also in hot pursuit, but getting a chance to play for the premier FCS program was too much to pass up. The Bison won their second straight national title earlier this month and have won seven of the last eight FCS crowns.

"I kind of wanted to play at the highest place possible," Zuroff said. "I want to be pushed hard and see where I can end up."

NDSU also matched up academically. Zuroff plans to study civil engineering and if that doesn't pan out, there are many Plan Bs available.

"NDSU has over 100 majors so there are a lot of options if I change my mind," he said.

For now, he's glad to have the football deal sealed and is focused on helping the Bearcats continue their strong basketball season. 

"It kind of feels like a weight is off," Zuroff said. "I'm looking forward to getting a chance to go to such a great program."

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Reach Tribune sports editor Dave Selvig at 701-250-8246 or david.selvig@bismarcktribune.com.

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