Bison Athletics

Season Preview: The Playmakers

Don’t be fooled by the departure of Christian Watson, this position group is deep and ready to make a big-time impact in 2022.

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Don’t be fooled by the departure of Christian Watson, this position group is deep and ready to make a big-time impact in 2022.

#0 Zach Mathis

Senior, Tampa, FL
Position: WR
Height: 6’ 6’’
Weight: 205
High School: Berkeley Prep HS


#9 DJ Hart

Junior, Atlanta, GA
Position: WR
Height: 5′ 11”
Weight: 188
High School: North Gwinnett HS

#11 Phoenix Sproles

Senior, New Hope, MN
Position: WR
Height: 6’ 0’’
Weight: 188
High School: Robbinsdale Cooper HS

#12 Braylon

Henderson Junior, Wylie, TX
Position: WR
Height: 5’ 9’’
Weight: 205
High School: Plano East HS

17 RaJa Nelson

Junior, Lakeville, MN
Position: WR
Height: 5′ 8”
Weight: 190
High School: Lakeville North HS

Q&A WitH Phoenix Sproles

Did you ever consider not coming back for another season?

I did. Obviously, my eligibility without COVID would have been done anyways. But, ultimately, I knew this is the place where I wanted to be.

What does it mean to be in your final chapter with NDSU?

It’s kind of like a complete story. I had the injury and I’ve also played close to 50 games already, which is more than what most normal college football players play.

I’m feeling fully healthy again and I’m just excited to be back after a season of playing 15 games in a row. Yeah, just happy to be here. Really excited to be back with my team.

What do you think you improved on most over the offseason?

I think just confidence. I think I’ve always been a confident football player. But I think after the spring, when I had my injury, a lot of confidence went away. Not even just physicality, but mentally as well.

I didn’t know if I was going to be the same player again. I didn’t know if I was going to have the same playmaking abilities that I had in 2019. But this past season, I had some really explosive plays and I needed those to show myself I could still do it.

I’m just more confident and more sound in my technique.

Is there anything we haven’t touched on that you’d like to say to our readers? A lot of us get asked about the passing game and the receivers not getting footballs. I just want to make something clear that, as receivers, we know our offense. We know we’re not going to get the ball 100 times per game on offense. That’s just not what we do here at NDSU. We know that coming into NDSU and we chose NDSU for a lot of other reasons besides throwing the ball. I get a lot of messages on social media asking if I wished I got the ball more. Of course, what receiver doesn’t want that. But that’s just not what we do. That’s not how our offense works. We know that and that’s why we are so good at what we do. Our mission is to dominate the run game and be efficient in the passing game. We know that and we’re perfectly okay with that. If Coach Roehl wants to run the ball every single play of the game, we’re going to block all game. That’s what we do here. That’s why we’re so successful. So, I just want to make that people do stop asking me that. I know my job as a receiver. My job is not to ask for plays. It’s to make plays when I’m called upon.

Season Preview: The Playmakers
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