‘It’s quite surreal:’ Kindred’s Riley Sunram has 3 DI football offers, with 1 FBS entering junior season – InForum

KINDRED, ND — Riley Sunram, a rising junior for the Kindred Vikings, made it his goal to get on the Minnesota Golden Gophers’ radar while attending their soccer camp in late July.

He has exceeded these expectations.

The 6-foot-5, 265-pound Sunram left the Twin Cities with a scholarship offer from head coach PJ Fleck, Sunram’s third NCAA Division I offer that summer.

“I never thought it would start so early, I thought maybe it would start after this (high school) season,” Sunram said. “It was pretty exciting with the three offers I got. It’s pretty surreal. It doesn’t feel like it’s going to happen yet.”

Minnesota head coach PJ Fleck and Kindred Vikings lineman Riley Sunram.
Kindred Vikings lineman Riley Sunram (right) recently received a scholarship offer from Minnesota head football coach PJ Fleck.

Ryan Sunram / Forum special

It was a summer that was on the radar for Sunram, who also attended soccer camps at North Dakota State and the University of North Dakota. The 2024 recruit received his first Division I offer from NDSU in late June and offered him an AND in mid-July. The Gophers were Sunram’s first FBS offering from a Power Five conference program.

“I never thought it would happen at this level this summer,” Ryan Sunram said of his son Riley.

Riley said the Bison forecast him to play on either offense or defense, while AND and Minnesota consider him a defender. Sunram is a multi-athlete at Kindred who also plays basketball and competes in track and field. He said Bison associate head football coach Randy Hedberg attended one of Kindred’s basketball games last winter.

“I prefer D-Line, I think it’s a lot more fun to be honest,” Riley said, “but if anyone wants me to play offensive line, I’ll do that too.”

Riley recently received a three star rating from 247sports. He was a two-way starter for the Vikings in his sophomore season and helped Kindred win the North Dakota Class 11B state championship. He had a total of six tackles and a sack in a 37-14 win over Hillsboro-Central Valley in the title game.

“Riley Sunram is one of the most technically skilled players I’ve ever coached,” said Kindred head coach Matt Crane. “He’s great with his hands and feet so obviously he’s in a great position. He’s just getting to a size where he’s getting a lot of attention, and rightly so. It has a very high ceiling.”

Division I programs cannot contact Riley, who is heading into his junior season, until September 1, when he can receive private and electronic communications from coaches. Minnesota, AND and NDSU were able to offer Riley since he was on campus for camp.

“We might have to stay up that night because we might get some calls,” Riley said with a laugh of the September 1 date.

Riley said Kindred’s assistant coaches Brad Ambrosius and Nate Safe were valuable resources. Both are former NDSU players. Ambrosius played defensive end while Safe was an offensive lineman for the Bison.

“I think it’s fun going to all these camps and seeing colleges and meeting with coaches, but it’s overwhelming at times,” Riley said.

Riley’s parents are both former Minnesota State Moorhead athletes. Ryan played tight end for the Dragons while Jennifer (Duerr) Sunram competed in both volleyball and track and field MSUM. At Gophers camp, Ryan said he thinks it’s cool that he got to be on the field and near practices for Riley.

During 1v1 practice, Ryan said Fleck challenged Riley to do multiple reps in a row against a variety of other campers.

“Fleck stands there and watches,” Ryan said. “I thought, ‘This is going to be real.'”

After camp, both Sunrams were invited to the Gophers’ player lounge and then met Fleck in his office. It was at this point that Riley received his first FBS offer.

“That was pretty cool to meet[Bleck]and kind of surreal from my vantage point,” said Ryan, who is from Audubon, Minn.

Since his NDSU offer, Riley has gained Twitter followers from coaches or recruiting coordinators from various Division I programs including Kansas State, Iowa, Illinois, Washington, Washington State and Nebraska.

“He’s had a lot of schools following him lately,” Ryan said.

“It’s incredible,” Crane said. “I’m really looking forward to the child. He is so humble and works hard and lags behind. All the success is certainly deserved.”

Riley was awarded full state honors in his sophomore season as a second-team defenseman in the Class 11B. He hopes for a strong youth campaign.

“We still have work to do on that this fall camp,” Riley said. “It will not be easy.”

Ryan said Riley may also have to make some tough choices in the recruiting process, with multiple quality options.

“What I’m looking for is relationships,” Riley said. “I really like having good relationships with my coach and my teammates.”

Relative Vikings lineman Riley Sunram.
Kindred Vikings lineman Riley Sunram has received three NCAA Division I football offers starting his junior season with the Vikings.

Ryan Sunram / Forum special

Leave a Comment