How They Got Here: The Volsons

Tanner Volson and his brother Cordell are both offensive linemen for NDSU. They grew up in Balfour, a small town between Bismarck and the Canadian border.

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Photos by Tim Sanger

Recruiting is the lifeblood of any program. The Bison football team is no exception with its melting pot of talent that arrives in Fargo from across America. It’s this fusion of skill and personality that makes the NDSU football locker room as attractive as any in the country for aspiring Division I football players from Florida, California and everywhere in between. Eight current members of the Bison tell their stories of how they landed in Fargo and one future Bison explains his reasoning behind picking the Herd.


Tanner and Cordell Volson

Recruiting Coordinator: Randy Hedberg

Year: Senior, Sophomore

Position: Offensive linemen

Hometown: Balfour, N.D.

High School: Drake-Anamoose High School

Interest Pool

  • Wyoming
  • North Dakota

How They Got Here

The Volson brothers grew up in the small town of Balfour in north central North Dakota, smack-dab in the middle of Bismarck and the Canadian border. Growing up, NDSU had always experienced more success than the other Division I school in the state. That’s why when Tanner Volson was in junior high, he made it his goal to be a Bison.

Tanner Volson, right

“I come from a not-that-great-of-a-9-man team to begin with. Never made the playoffs in my career there, and a lot of people said I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t make it,” remembers Volson. But when he started popping up at NDSU’s summer camps, the coaches started to notice the country-strong Volson.

Volson made a name for himself at a Valley City State lineman camp and that’s when NDSU’s offensive coordinator Brent Vigen started contacting him. It was a no-brainer for Volson to eventually sign and join the long list of North Dakota offensive linemen at NDSU.

Two years later, his brother Cordell Volson would join him in Fargo. NDSU beat North Dakota again for the younger Volson and overcame a Wyoming offer.

“Having my brother here made it that much easier,” Cordell Volson said. “Your first year of college, you’re going to miss family or whatever and being home, but having your brother there to give you a little kick in the butt every once in awhile, that’s big time.”


Cordell Volson, left

Cordell Volson also mentioned the times he’d come visit his brother in college, which helped with getting to know his future teammates. It also gave coaches like Tim Polasek and Randy Hedberg a chance to push NDSU over the top and reunite the Volson brothers more than 200 miles from their humble hometown.

Staying Loyal After Coaching Change

“When that happened, me and Luke [Bacon] were still in contact because we’re from the same area. We both texted each other and said ‘Did you hear the news? Yeah, I’m worried if we still have a spot there.’ I had U of Mary or Jamestown contact me before an NDSU coach, and they said ‘There’s still a spot for you here if you change your mind about NDSU.’ So there were some smaller schools who tried to slide in, and then NDSU contacted me shortly after and said, ‘You still have your spot here. We’ll stay true to all the commits.'” – Tanner Volson


“You just felt at home here. It was the coaches and everybody here, you felt like a part of it even when you weren’t a part of it yet. When you go somewhere it’s going to feel right, and it felt right here.” – Cordell Volson

How They Got Here: The Volsons
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