Bartholomew Ogbu won three FCS championship rings with the Bison.
With two years of eligibility remaining, the former Shiloh Christian standout will finish his college football career somewhere else.
Ogbu, who will graduate from North Dakota State in May with a degree in business administration, announced on Thursday that he has entered the transfer portal. Ogbu will be able to play immediately wherever he goes.
"It's something I had been thinking about for a long time," said Ogbu, who played seven games at defensive end for the Bison in their run to the national championship. "It was a difficult decision, especially with my teammates and the bonds we've created over the years.
"With us winning the national championship and graduating in the spring, this was the right decision for me to go to a new environment to pursue my master's degree and play. That was the main reason why I made the decision."
He said he plans to decide before the semester is over where he'll go next.
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As the top high school prospect in the state in 2018, Ogbu had notable offers from Vanderbilt of the SEC, Georgia Tech from the ACC, plus Wyoming, Liberty and North Dakota, among others.
At NDSU, he earned both the Missouri Valley Football Conference Commissioner's Academic Excellence Award and MVFC Honor Roll recognition. He'll purse a master's of business administration (MBA) at his next school.
Where that happens remains to be seen.
"I'm leaving my options open at this moment," Ogbu said. "I want to make sure I go through the process again."
Ogbu was a standout for the Skyhawks in football and basketball after coming to Bismarck from Nigeria as a freshman in high school.
After redshirting in 2018 at NDSU, he played four games in 2019 before being sidelined by an ankle injury. During the spring season he played in two games before carving out a bigger role in the fall for the Bison. In seven games, he had 2.5 tackles-for-loss and 1.5 sacks.
"I worked hard to get back to 100 percent this year. I was healthy the whole year and it was a big confidence boost to get out there and play seven games," Ogbu said. "I learned a lot at NDSU. It was a great experience I am very thankful for.
"I'm excited for the future and what's next."
Reach Tribune sports editor Dave Selvig at (701) 250-8246 or email@example.com