Crockett, Littlejohn, Vraa give NDSU Minnesota flavor into FCS title game


There will be no lack of Minnesota flavor when North Dakota State University (14-1) plays Illinois State (13-1) for a fourth straight FCS National Championship Saturday afternoon in Frisco, Texas.

Minnesota kids have played key roles in each run to national glory.

John Crockett, a star running back for coach Jeff Ferguson at Totino-Grace High School, is NDSU's most dominant offensive weapon. The fifth-year senior rushed for an eye-popping 1,920 yards and 20 touchdowns in 15 games. If he racks up his season average of more than 120 yards, he'll easily crack 2,000 yards for the season. Check out all the NDSU stats right here.

But Crockett isn't the only former Minnesota prep star going for another title with the Bison. Minneapolis North's Carlton Littlejohn, an outstanding linebacker for NDSU, is also going for the four-peat, as noted by Patrick Reusse of the Star Tribune. The former all-state wrestler leads the team in tackles with 109.

“When I came up here, I really had no clue what kind of support there was for the Bison,’’ Littlejohn told Reusse. “I had no idea it could be so crazy that ESPN would bring ‘GameDay’ here two years in a row to be part of it.’’

NDSU has a video series in Frisco, Texas, in which they follow a player around for a full day. Crockett was one of the player's profiled.

NDSU's leading wide receiver is also a Minnesota kid. Zach Vraa, Minnesota's Mr. Football winner from Rosemount in 2009, is NDSU's leading receiver with 39 receptions for 580 yards and four touchdowns. Tight end Kevin Vaadeland, a Park Rapids native, has 13 career touchdowns, including three this season.

They'll all go up against Illinois State, a team referred to as a "giant-killer" by USA Today.

NDSU and Illinois State were co-conference champions out of the Missouri Valley Conference. They did not meet in the regular season.

Next Up

covid-19, coronavirus

CDC says COVID-19 quarantine period can be cut to 10 or 7 days

You can come out of a 7-day quarantine following exposure provided you've had a negative test.

maple grove fire

1 person found dead inside Maple Grove business that burned down

A person had been unaccounted following the fire that destroyed Hanson Implement and Storage Tuesday night.

One-dollar bill, cash, money

Appeals court rules MN high school students can get unemployment benefits

They've been denied the benefits, and some were even asked to pay them back.

covid-19, coronavirus

Dec. 2 COVID-19 update: 77 more deaths in Minnesota

The death toll is closing in on 3,700 in Minnesota.

City Pages

Fan creates City Pages archive, Star Tribune tells him to remove it

After word spread that the defunct newspaper's website would go down, a fan created his own copy. Then he got a cease and desist letter.

Adam Thielen

Vikings activate Adam Thielen off COVID-19/reserve list

The star receiver missed last week's victory over Carolina.

Screen Shot 2020-12-02 at 10.27.14 AM

Naked man shot by St. Paul cop is charged for sexual assault of ex-girlfriend

The 31-year-old suspect remains at Regions Hospital after being shot.

Lindsay Whalen

Whalen's Gophers start season with only 7 players available

Whalen isn't happy that a transfer wasn't granted immediate eligibility to play.

Screen Shot 2020-12-02 at 9.21.08 AM

Baby steals the show in Minnesota family's viral TikTok video

Definitely busting out that wobbly baby move at the next party...

George Floyd protest

Activist groups release 'The People's Budget,' call for $53M Minneapolis police cuts

The People's Budget, spearheaded by Black Visions Collective and Reclaim the Block, would cut more than $53 million from MPD's budget.