The Crookston Pirate officially signs with the Fighting Hawks.

    In the morning of Wednesday, February 7, Cade Salentine signed his letter of intent to play football for the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks.

    “It’s been a dream of mine for a while and now it’s finally coming true,” Salentine said on playing at the collegiate level. 

    In 2017, Salentine played nine games for the Pirates rushing for 1,563 yards and 19 touchdowns while helping Crookston reach the Section 8AA Semifinals for the first time since 2012.

    The University of North Dakota first became the front-runner for Salentine’s collegiate career back when Salentine was a sophomore in high school and contacted by members of the UND staff. The Fighting Hawks were the first to contact Salentine which led to him attending UND football camps where he made contacts with coaches.

    “I liked the university and I liked the coaches,” Salentine said. “The team has been formed well, it’s a Division I school so for me it was the right fit.”

    The decision came to Salentine’s mind while he played another sport. Assistant Coach and Defensive Coordinator for the Hawks Eric Schmidt came to a Pirates hockey game to give Salentine his pitch.

    “He talked to me and he said, ‘the capability for you to play at this level is all in your hands,’” Salentine said. “He said I’m coachable and I’m what they need to be an athlete at that level. He gave me all the reasons why I should go and no reasons why I should not. So he did a good job of persuading me.”

    As far as what position Salentine will play in Grand Forks, he said he may redshirt his first year and then transition to playing as an outside linebacker. When it comes to a major, Salentine considered biology as a field to pursue, but said he will keep his options open.

    Along with playing football, Salentine said he most looks forward to being acquainted with his new teammates.

    “I’m already in a group chat with all of them so I’m already connecting with them,” Salentine said. “They are a great group of people and I’m looking forward to forming new friendships.”

    Above, Salentine is pictured signing with his mother and father, Emily and Dave Salentine, and high school coach Scott Butt watching.