Jesse Hastings has found the right fit.
The bruising running back accepted a preferred walk-on offer to play for FCS powerhouse North Dakota State University. Hastings received the offer on Sunday after attending a three-day camp on campus.
And by Tuesday morning, the Mount Vernon/Plankinton all-stater knew he wanted to be a Bison.
“It fits me,” Hastings said. “The offense and how they run the ball and their coaching staff … it just feels right.”
NDSU hangs its hat on a power rushing attack, which fits Hastings and his playing style. The 6-foot, 230-pounder packs a punch on both sides of the ball and projects to play fullback/H-back for the run-heavy Bison. The preferred walk-on designation means Hastings is guaranteed a spot on the roster, but won't receive an athletic scholarship in their first year on campus.
“They are pretty unique in the fact that they still use the fullback position,” MVP coach Brent Olson said. “I’ve always told Jesse if it was 1983 with Nebraska-Oklahoma running the fullbacks the way they did, he would be a sought-after kid. … NDSU still uses that around 45-50 percent of the time in this offense. He’s a unique player in their unique system that they still use that spot. So I think it’s a good fit for him.”
South Dakota State University also offered Hastings as a preferred walk-on. NAIA power Morningside College and NCAA Division II University of Sioux Falls also offered Hastings.
Hastings contemplated visiting other schools during the recruiting process, but playing for a national power was too tempting to pass up. NDSU has won seven of the last eight FCS national titles.
“It’s crazy watching them,” Hastings said. “It’s something I want to be a part of.”
The senior-to-be ran for 1,468 yards and 25 touchdowns last season. For his career, Hastings has rushed for 3,258 yards and 53 touchdowns on 369 carries, to go with 197 tackles and eight sacks on defense.
Last season, Hastings rushed for 326 yards on 19 carries and scored four touchdowns against Chamberlain. While nursing a shoulder injury, he ran for 218 yards and four touchdowns on nine carries in a Class 11B quarterfinal game against Lead-Deadwood.
Hastings is also a multi-sport athlete. He was the Class B 220-pound runner-up in wrestling, while he’s also a sprinter for the MVP track team.
He plans on majoring in athletic training at NDSU and that also led to his decision.
“Right when I stepped on campus for the three-day camp, it just kind of gave me butterflies and it felt right,” Hastings said.