Jan. 19—GRAND FORKS — Earlier this offseason, the UND football program picked up a Northern State transfer to patch a need on the offensive line with
the addition of Jake Oliphant
Now, the Fighting Hawks have went back to the NCAA Division II program in Aberdeen, S.D., to fill a need on defense.
Former Northern State safety Hunter Hansen, who has one season of eligibility remaining, is already in Grand Forks and working out in advance of spring ball.
Hansen, who was fourth for the Wolves in tackles last year despite missing three games, was a 6-foot-4, 230-pound safety. In Grand Forks, he's expected to transition to outside linebacker.
UND football has a couple of connections to Northern State. Former Wolves head coach Tom Dosch, who recruited Hansen to Aberdeen, now works for the UND Alumni Association and is the analyst voice for the football radio broadcast. UND defensive line coach Austin Flyger was defensive coordinator at Northern State in 2019.
Hansen said Flyger reached out to him after entering his name in the transfer portal.
"Coach Flyger hit me up first and that's really what it was," Hansen said. "He coached at Northern and knows me pretty well. I'm just looking for something new. I spent four years at Northern and loved it there, but I'm looking for a new challenge."
Hansen had 47 solo tackles in eight games last year at 7-4 Northern State. He had four career interceptions.
"I think linebacker is the best fit for my size," Hansen said. "If I have a chance to play at the next level, linebacker is my best opportunity."
UND enters spring ball with a new mix at outside linebacker after graduating Jaxson Turner, Ty Shannon and Ray Haas at outside linebacker.
Hansen is the second transfer addition at outside linebacker. Aaron Cooper of Cal Poly, who also has one season of eligibility remaining, signed with the team during the early signing period in December.
Hansen's dad Steve was a long-time high school football coach at Dell Rapids, S.D. Steve was also an All-American tight end at Northern State.
Hunter was a high school quarterback, throwing for 1,537 yards and running for 1,305 yards in his final two seasons.
Hunter also competed in the sprinting events for the track and field team at Northern State.