MARSHALL - The recruitment process have been nothing new for Marshall's Beau Bofferding. He started receiving looks from colleges as a sophomore in track and field, and after the fall of his junior year, football coaches started taking notice of the 5-foot-9, 170-pound speedster running back.
Going on a visit to Minnesota-Duluth last weekend, Bofferding knew he found a home to continue his athletic career. This week, Bofferding verbally committed to the Bulldogs, a perennial Division II powerhouse, for football and track and field.
"I got up there and something clicked right away," Bofferding said. "I met up with the coaches and they were great guys. ... It was really awesome for me. Seeing that at a school I really want to be at, it was a done deal. That's where I wanted to be.
"I have no regrets at all. I know that's where God meant for me to be. I'm really happy I made that decision."
The Division II national champions in 2008 and 2010, the Bulldogs went 11-3 in 2011 and tied with St. Cloud State and Minnesota State-Mankato for the best record in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference at 8-2. UMD got as far as the D-II quarterfinals, falling to the national runner-up, Wayne State (Mich.).
"When I was sitting down talking with Coach (Bob) Nielson, he had one of his national title trophy sitting in his office," Bofferding said. "I know with the group of guys and the coaching staff, they're only going to get better. The national championship is their goal every year, and Duluth proves that every year they're a national champion-caliber team. Just seeing the guys up there, it's very exciting. I want to get started today."
At Marshall High School, Bofferding finished his career with 5,224 all-purpose yards and 72 total touchdowns. Ranked fifth all time in the state for career rushing touchdowns (59) according to MNFootballHub.com, Bofferding ran for 1,423 yards and 34 rushing touchdowns this fall.
Though he's moving from the backfield to the slot position, Bofferding also showed his ability as a pass-catcher in 2011 with 24 receptions for 431 yards and three touchdowns.
"They said their weak spot was at the slot last year, and they said I got a good shot of playing right away," Bofferding said, "but you have to earn that. So I'm going to bust my butt up, bring my hard work there and where ever they put me on the field or if I redshirt, I'm fine with that."
The prospect of being on the track and field team was also a big draw for Bofferding, who got his blessing from Nielson, who is also the athletic director at UMD. Looking to make it to state for the third year in a row this spring, Bofferding qualified in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes last year. His best finish was in the 400, placing third in Class AA with a time of 49.58 seconds.
"He knows I'm a track runner, too, and he highly encourages it for his football players, especially at the skill positions to keep your speed up, stuff like that," Bofferding said.
"I know it's a lot, but that's me. I always want to stay busy. I have a passion for track and getting the chance to do that in college, doing both, I'm really excited about that."
This winter, Bofferding turned down playing basketball, focusing his time and effort on preparing for track season and bulking up for college football. Bofferding knows he'll be sporting maroon and grey in the fall, but that won't stop his hard work as he sets his sights on the high school track season.
"I'm working hard, running a lot, still hitting the weights a lot, trying to put on 10 pounds before football season," Bofferding said. "I just want to get ready as soon as I can. This winter, I'm going to get there."