College football: UMD's Bofferding finding his place in the world and on the field

Minnesota Duluth football coach Curt Wiese said it took him all of five minutes to realize Beau Bofferding was exactly the type of player and person he was looking for during a December 2011 visit to Bofferding's home in Marshall, Minn.

Minnesota Duluth wide receiver Beau Bofferding receives a pass during practice on Wednesday. Clint Austin /

Minnesota Duluth football coach Curt Wiese said it took him all of five minutes to realize Beau Bofferding was exactly the type of player and person he was looking for during a December 2011 visit to Bofferding’s home in Marshall, Minn.

Bofferding said the feeling was mutual, and he committed to UMD within an hour of completing his official visit the following month.

Now a sophomore in his third year in the program, Bofferding is showing Bulldog fans what kind of player he is, too.

Bofferding, a 5-foot-8, 180-pound wide receiver and running back, had a career-high 10 pass receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown in UMD’s 23-22 overtime victory at Augustana last week. This week the Bulldogs face Bofferding’s hometown university, Southwest Minnesota State, in a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference game at 6:05 p.m. Saturday at Malosky Stadium.

“We were taking a tour of the fieldhouse during my campus visit, and I remember walking up the stairs and telling my dad, ‘Dad, this is it. I’m going to be a Bulldog,’ ’’ Bofferding recalled. “At that point in time, everything was going so well, and I knew this was the place where I wanted to be. I haven’t been disappointed.”


Bofferding was the type of recruit the Bulldogs love. His interests fell right into their recruiting wheelhouse. He is an avid outdoorsman, and his love of all things outside, including hunting, fishing, hiking and snowmobiling, are well-suited to the Northland. Yet Duluth is only two hours from the Twin Cities and only five hours from Bofferding’s hometown.

“I’ve been hunting and fishing my whole life,” Bofferding said. “It’s just something I grew up doing, and I’ll continue doing the rest of my life. Duluth gives me plenty of opportunities to do that.”

Bofferding was a 2011 Minnesota Mr. Football Award finalist as a senior at Marshall High School. He was the Marshall Independent player of the year and an Associated Press second-team all-state selection after rushing for 1,423 yards and a state-best 27 rushing touchdowns during the regular season. The Tigers finished 9-1. His 59 career TDs rank fifth most in Minnesota prep history.

Bofferding also was a standout in track, qualifying for the Class AA state meet three straight years in multiple events. He finished third in the 400 meters both his junior and senior years. He had top times of 48.2 seconds in 400, 22.2 in the 200 and 10.9 in the 100.

With that kind of speed, colleges looked at him for both football and track. Bofferding, a public health major, said he received football interest from nearly all the NSIC schools, as well as some interest from South Dakota, North Dakota State and Minnesota. He said Southwest State, Bemidji State and Minnesota State-Moorhead made athletic scholarship offers but everyone else backed off after he committed to Duluth early.

Bofferding said it was no disrespect to Southwest State.

“It was pretty difficult saying no to them,” Bofferding said. “You grow up watching the Mustangs your whole life, but for me, college is about getting out and going away from home. I wanted to do some different things and experience some change.”

Bofferding’s parents, Tom and Karen, have made every one of his college football games, often parlaying it with a trip to the family’s cabin near Leech Lake two hours west of Duluth.


Tom Bofferding will hunt ducks or fish for walleye on a Thursday or Friday before a game while Beau is back in Duluth going to school and preparing for the opponent.

“You know, I really miss it - I really miss it - but I can hunt and fish the rest of his life, but I can’t play football the rest of my life,” Beau said.

After being redshirted in 2012, Bofferding started slowly with the Bulldogs last fall, catching just two passes for 16 yards and running the ball nine times for 59 yards. He remains in a hybrid role as the Bulldogs are thinner at running back this season.

“I don’t have a preference,” Bofferding said. “I just want to be on the field.”

Bofferding rushed the ball four times for 13 yards but didn’t catch a pass in UMD’s season-opening win against Concordia-St. Paul two weeks ago, but then had what Wiese called his “coming out party” last week against Augustana.

Bofferding’s 10 receptions were the eighth-highest single-game total in program history.

“Beau is a very fast, explosive athlete,” Wiese said. “He is a guy who works as hard as anybody on his strength and conditioning in the offseason. All of that hard work paid off on Saturday.”

Trailing 16-6 early in the fourth quarter, UMD was reeling. That is when the Bulldogs started going five wide and sending Bofferding on crossing routes. He looked like Wes Welker in the slot as UMD forced overtime and then won after Augustana’s kicker missed an extra point. Augustana couldn’t stop it, so UMD kept going to it.


“I’ve never been a part of anything like that. That was crazy,” Bofferding said. “You put in a lot of work in college. You pretty much play the sport year-round, so to finally get a chance to go out there and do it, it’s pretty special. I kind of felt like I got the monkey off my back and was in the zone. It felt like my senior year of high school, where you don’t have to think so much anymore but can just go out there and play.”

Bofferding said he and his mother were home in Marshall when Wiese visited on a recruiting trip three years ago.

Karen Bofferding said they hadn’t met a coach quite like him during the recruiting process and her son agreed. They were impressed with his straight talk and felt like the things he spoke about were true.

“Mom said she could tell Coach Wiese cared about me as a person. That he wanted me up here for a purpose other than just football,” Bofferding said. “I said, ‘I know it. Duluth is something special. Coach Wiese just told us all about it and I can’t wait to get up there on an official visit and see what it’s really like.’

“I felt the same way Coach Wiese felt. After visiting with him, I felt like Duluth was the right place for me. I just realized what Coach Wiese was saying was really what it was all about. That was what I wanted to surround myself with for the next four or five years of my life. And so far, it’s been nothing but even better, so I’m very thankful for that.”


SW Minnesota State  (1-1) at No. 4 UMD (2-0)

What: NSIC game


When: 6:05 p.m. Saturday

Where: Malosky Stadium

TV: My9


Radio: KQDS-AM 1490;




Beau Bofferding

Jon Nowacki is a former reporter for the Duluth News Tribune
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