UND football taps rare recruiting path with Division III All-American Myles Terry

May 2—GRAND FORKS — An offseason theme for the UND football program has been searching for transfers moving up from a lower level.

In February, Fighting Hawks coach Bubba Schweigert addressed the trend.

"Last year, some of the best transfers in our league came from Division II," Schweigert said. "Football is football. If a guy can play and be dynamic at whatever level, I think he can contribute at a lot of levels."

UND will put that theory to a new test with its latest recruiting addition.

Division III All-American defensive end Myles Terry of Mary Hardin-Baylor has committed to UND with two seasons of eligibility remaining.

"I just know whenever I get there, I have to work," said Terry, who spent the last two years at the Belton, Texas, college. "D-3 to D-1 is a big jump. I'll go in with a low head; I'm a humble person. I'm going to attack it and contribute the best I can."

The 6-foot-3, 235-pound Terry started all 10 games at Mary Hardin-Baylor last season, recording 53 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks.

Terry, a political science major who plans to eventually attend law school, is expecting to be in Grand Forks at the end of the month.

Before 2024 spring ball, UND added two outside linebackers from lower levels in Upper Iowa's John Butsch, who was an all-conference first team pick in 2023, as well as Valley City State's Riley Gerhardt, who was an All-American at the NAIA level in 2023.

Although UND has experience testing the Division II, NAIA, FBS and junior college transfer options, the Division III route will be unique.

It's quite the journey for Terry.

Terry was born in Wisconsin before moving to just north of Houston when he was 6.

Terry elected to play Division III football rather than the junior college route because of academics.

"I've always done well academically," Terry said. "I was No. 22 out of about 600 in my graduating class. My family and I discussed my options and didn't feel like junior college would help me because I already took a lot of college classes when I was in high school. We knew at Division III, most times, they're able to provide more academically."

But Terry didn't hit the ground running at Mary Hardin-Baylor. In fact, he spent the first few games as a freshman on the junior varsity.

"They have varsity and junior varsity, and coming in as a freshman, they bring in like 150 freshmen," Terry said. "There's a big pool of new people and returning guys to beat out. Then even when I was on varsity, I was behind a fifth-year senior."

Terry had a breakout sophomore season after those humbling beginnings.

"I had a great offseason," he said. "I broke the power clean record at the school for defensive ends as a freshman. That gave me momentum into the next season. I led the team in sacks and tackles for loss and was second in tackles behind our linebacker."

Terry entered the transfer portal after the season for three primary reasons.

One, Mary Hardin-Baylor is a private Christian institution and Terry said he was paying a lot out of pocket to attend school. He wanted to earn an athletic scholarship.

Secondly, Terry was interested in the redshirt availability that Division III doesn't provide.

Third, Terry felt he had to do his own recruiting outreach out of high school and didn't field the scholarship offers he should have seen.

Once in the portal, UND was one of the first schools to contact Terry, who said he had a great initial conversation with Schweigert.

Terry, a 20-year-old who turns 21 in September, entertained recruiting calls from all levels.

"North Dakota was there from the start," he said. "It felt different, the way they were pursuing me. My mindset in the portal was to go somewhere I was really wanted. I don't want to be another guy on a roster. I want to go try have an immediate impact.

"I had other (Division I schools) talking to me, but they weren't as passionate as North Dakota. I don't think they could offer me what North Dakota could offer. North Dakota has sold me from the jump."

UND will have a new-look defensive line in 2024 after graduating defensive ends Barty Ogbu and Jaelen Johnson and seeing top pass rusher Ben McNaboe transfer to Ohio.