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Bombers' blocker Noble signs with UMD

Cannon Falls offensive lineman Austin Noble signs his National Letter of Intent to play football for the University of Minnesota-Duluth Wednesday at Cannon Falls High School. (Republican Eagle photo by Joe Brown)

CANNON FALLS – After mauling opponents in the Hiawatha Valley League and Southern Football Alliance, Cannon Falls’ Austin Noble will start lining up next fall against the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.

During national signing day Wednesday, Noble signed his National Letter of Intent to play for the University of Minnesota-Duluth, starting this fall.

“I toured a lot of places in Division I and Division II, and once I got up to Duluth on my official (visit), it felt like home and I knew that’s where I wanted to be,” Noble said. “That made the decision pretty easy for me.”

A two-time All-State second team selection, a two-time All-Conference selection and a two-time All-Area pick, the 6-foot-4, 270 pounder is slated to play tackle on the Bulldogs’ offensive line.

“If I get moved to guard or center, that’s a possibility, too,” Noble said. “I’m not the tallest guy in the world, so it’s always a possibility to get moved to the interior.”

Late in his recruitment, Noble said his final three came down to UMD, South Dakota State and North Dakota State. Ultimately, that first impression of Duluth was enough for the Bombers’ standout to choose the Division II route.

“When I look in the long-term scheme of things, I realize the NFL is a slim, slim chance,” Noble said. “The Division I route would have been a better possibility for that, but Division II, I’m getting a good education and I’m happy where I’m at. I have a shot of playing quicker in my career.”

And in joining the Bulldogs, Noble joins one of the most successful D-II programs in recent years. UMD won the Division II National Championship in 2008 and 2010, and have qualified for the NCAA Division II playoffs for six straight seasons.

In 2013, the Bulldogs went 11-2 overall and reached the second round of the national tournament before losing to eventual national champion Northwest Missouri State 45-21.

“The recruiting process was fun. You get to go around, meet new people and check out parts of the Midwest that a lot of kids don’t get a chance to see,” Noble said. “I loved it, but now that I’ve decided where I’m going, it’s a great feeling to know I got a place to call home in the fall.”

Joe Brown

Joe Brown is the sports editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he worked at the Marshall Independent and the St. Cloud Times. For updates on local sports, follow Joe on Twitter at @RE_JBrown.

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