Hastings transfers to Morningside College: Ex-MVP standout leaves NDSU to play closer to home

Hastings will be eligible to play for the Mustangs this spring

Mount Vernon/Plankinton's Jesse Hastings carries the ball as Bridgewater/Emery-Ethan's Rylee Schultz gives chase on during the 2019 season at Joe Quintal Field in Mitchell.

Jesse Hastings wanted to be on scholarship and wanted to play closer to home.

Enter Morningside College.

The former Mount Vernon/Plankinton all-state running back spent this past season at FCS powerhouse North Dakota State University. Hastings was a preferred walk-on at NDSU, with the hopes of being a future Bison scholarship player.

But he didn’t want to wait and see how long before potentially being on scholarship. Hastings added dropping from NCAA Division I to NAIA and possibly playing sooner didn’t factor into his decision.

“I have a goal in my life where I want to start my own fitness gym,” Hastings said. “I just decided that I should probably go somewhere that I am getting the scholarship to play football. It comes down to just playing football for me and I truly believe that at Morningside, I could succeed.”


Morningside College, which offered him a scholarship in high school, was the only school Hastings contacted after leaving NDSU. He will be eligible to play this spring when Morningside resumes its season.

The allure of playing closer to home also attracted him to Morningside College, which is located in Sioux City, Iowa. Hastings has a host of family in the Sioux Falls area, while cousin and Lennox High School graduate Haden Mendel is a Morningside linebacker.

“Now when I go to a game, it’s going to be my entire family there -- not just my mom and my dad’s side of the family,” said Hastings, who will major in business and minor in sports management. “It’s going to be aunts and uncles. We can all be together while my cousin plays on the defensive side and I play on the offensive side.”

Hastings was a multiple all-state selection for Mount Vernon/Plankinton. He rushed for 1,713 rushing yards (9.1 yards per carry) and 30 touchdowns during his senior campaign. He ended his career with 5,008 rushing yards and 83 rushing touchdowns. Defensively, he racked up 156 career tackles in his career.

A 6-foot, 230-pounder, Hastings was recruited to play fullback at NDSU. But he’ll play running back for Morningside College, which has won the past two national championships. The Mustangs and Dakota Wesleyan University are both members of the Great Plains Athletic Conference.

The Mustangs, who went 8-0 during the fall season, are riding a 37-game winning streak and have won 51 straight GPAC games.

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