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FOOTBALL: Colton Herman brings Alaskan roots, ‘Gang Green’ physicality to Bemidji State

As an Alaska native and the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year coming out of high school, you’d think Colton Herman would be in a class all by himself at Chet Anderson Stadium. But curiously enough, the program’s MVP pipeline to the Last Frontier was actually established in 2006.

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Bemidji State's Colton Herman (8) tackles Minnesota State Moorhead’s Carter Blackwell during an October 2021 game at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer
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BEMIDJI -- Believe it or not, Colton Herman isn’t the first of his kind on the Bemidji State football team.

As an Alaska native and the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year coming out of high school, you’d think Herman would be in a class all by himself at Chet Anderson Stadium. But curiously enough, the program’s MVP pipeline to the Last Frontier was actually established in 2006.

“He’s our second Gatorade Player of the Year from Alaska. George Percak-Dennett was the first one,” BSU head coach Brent Bolte said. “There’s some stat that came out randomly, which listed the (teams with Gatorade) Players of the Year. It’s Alabama and all these crazy good schools -- and Bemidji State. In the last two decades, we have two.”

Yes, notoriety often finds the Beavers. And in this instance, so did Herman.

“Coming from Alaska, colleges don’t really look at you there,” said Herman, an Anchorage native and now a sophomore defensive back for BSU. “You obviously have to go make a name for yourself down in the (continental U.S.).”

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Herman participated in plenty of camps in the midwest during his recruitment days. He credited former longtime coach Rich Jahner for bringing him to Bemidji, and it’s benefitted the Beavers ever since.

“Before I came here, something we really talked about was being physical. Being the ‘Gang Green’ defense,” Herman said. “We’ve got to be physical with teams, and that’s what I try to do: just be as physical as I can.”

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The Beavers tackle a Winona State ball carrier during the second half on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

He’s delivered some hits this season, currently ranking third on the team with 15 tackles. Herman also has a team-high four pass breakups and is one of two players with an interception so far.

“It’s fun to have a safety who has corner skills,” Bolte said. “He can match up in the slot, we use him at nickel, both safety spots, and he’s a good edge pressure guy. … As he becomes more and more confident, I think you’ll see him show up more and more on the stat line.”

Herman will hope to add to his totals when Bemidji State meets Upper Iowa at 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, in Fayette, Iowa, for a Week 4 matchup. The Peacocks enter 0-3, but the Beavers (1-2) will be on guard against any inklings of trap game.

And they’ll have one Alaskan to help make it happen.

“We have a pretty good pulse in that state,” Bolte said. “We’ve always looked in Alaska. It seems odd that you do it that way, but they’ve had some good players over the years.”

Yet, when it comes to visiting back home, Herman has one piece of advice.

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“It’s about a five-hour flight. Or 52 hours if you want to drive, but you don’t really want to do that,” he said.

Brendan Beaulieu on record watch

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Bemidji State senior Brendan Beaulieu (19) scores a touchdown during the second quarter against Winona State on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Senior wide receiver Brendan Beaulieu is on pace to make program history this weekend.

Beaulieu is currently 70 yards shy of breaking the BSU record of 2,677 career receiving yards, set by Anthony Schreiber in 2007. Additionally, a 100-yard receiving game would be Beaulieu’s 11th and break a tie with Ryan Welle for most in school history.

Beaulieu is also four TDs shy of tying Malik Williams’ career record of 27 touchdown receptions, set just last season. Beaulieu is also nearing Schreiber’s career receptions record of 196, a total that Beaulieu will surpass with 40 more catches.

Beaulieu already owns the program record for single-season catches (76) and receiving yards (1,318), both of which he set last season.

Micah Friez is the sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he joined the Pioneer in 2015 and is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing. Follow him on Twitter at @micahfriez for Lumberjack and Beaver updates.
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