Coaches in any sport, leaders in the arts or business love players, performers or employees who have versatility. The more roles you can fill, the more flexibility you can allow the rest of the people around you. One of the most versatile high school football players in the state of Minnesota in 2017 was Becker's Nick Radunz. The senior not only played all five offensive line positions this fall; he also played all three defensive line positions in the Bulldogs' three-man defensive front.
The Bulldogs' season – for them – started slowly.
“It was an up and down season,” Radunz said. “We battled the whole way through. Obviously, our goal was to get to U.S. Bank Stadium, but I feel like we battled adversity well and showed people we were a force to be reckoned with.”
After they started the season 3-4, the Bulldogs rattled off four straight wins before falling in the AAAA state quarterfinals.
Radunz felt his season – like the teams – was solid but uneven.
“It went pretty well. I had my ups and downs just like everybody. I feel like I battled adversity well.”
Part of his adversity was having to fill in at every offensive line position.
“I started at least one game at each offensive line position,” Radunz told northstarfootballnews.com. “It was a focus for me in the offseason. I knew the offense inside and out. When they would call a play, I even knew what the receivers were going to do. I feel like that really helped me when they had to move me.”
The mental piece of his musical chairs offensive line season was only part of the adjustment.
“Tackle you have to be quick on your feet. I had to be able to move and get a jump off the line. That was tough for me because I usually play guard and nose tackle. At guard, I was able to use my body a little more and go man on man with people. Center was new for me. My main goal was to make sure the guy in front of me didn't make the tackle and to get the ball to (quarterback) Josh Fobbe.”
Radunz feels most comfortable at right tackle.
“My strength is my attitude. There is nothing better than putting the guy across from you in the ground. That is the best feeling in the world. That is the attitude I had, and that is what I tried to bring to the team.”
As a sophomore Radunz played some offense but didn't start. As a junior, he started on defense and this year he started both ways. Even with his limited time on offense, Radunz knew the playbook so well because he had some help at home – North Dakota State lineman Dillon Radunz.
“We spent a lot of time after my sophomore year getting to know the playbook, getting to know stances and counts and I guess it never left me even with a year off from offense.”
Nick was just as valuable as a jack of all trades on the Becker defensive line.
“I played all three defensive line positions,” NFN's 41st ranked senior said. “I tried to be a leader on both lines. I am able to take a double team and hold the line of scrimmage. If I can do that and not get moved backward, I am doing my job.”
This winter Radunz is on the wrestling team and has a lifting program through his defensive line coach. He is planning on playing baseball in the spring.
“The (wrestling) season is going well. I am 13-1, and the team is 7-1.”
Recruiting season has gone well too.
“I am having fun. Everyone likes getting the attention,” Radunz said. “It is nice to know I am doing something right and to be recognized as one of the better players in the state.”
Radunz is being recruited as both an offensive player (mostly as a guard) and as an interior defensive lineman.
“Most of them like my attitude,” Radunz – who feels he is best at the three-technique – said. “I might not use the best technique. I might not use my hands right, but I get my guy on the ground, and that is what they like.”
He has offers from NDSU, Southwest Minnesota State, Concordia-St. Paul and St. Cloud State. He will bring multiple talents and a get out of my way attitude to whatever program to which he commits.
“I am going to go where I feel at home – where my coaches are my best friends because they care about you but will kick your butt if I need it.”