When Dustin Adams is walking the sidelines of the Orange Bowl on New Year's Day, a mercurial 2012 will be behind him.
The Minot High product - now a redshirt offensive lineman for BCS-bowl bound Northern Illinois - was committed to the University of Hawaii to begin the year before signing with the Huskies in February.
Now, on the cusp of 2013, the 6-foot-3, 300-pound guard intends to make another move.
Adams plans to transfer from NIU in an effort to change his major from business management to engineering. The school located an hour from Chicago doesn't offer his newly-desired pursuit,.
"You really learn how important academics are when you get (to college)," Adams said. "And I think I could do more with an engineering degree. If I can play and go to school close to home that's just a bonus."
North Dakota State and University of North Dakota have piqued his interest, but he hasn't ruled out continuing his career at a Football Bowl Subdivision program. He'd lose a year of eligibility due to NCAA transfer rules but would be eligible immediately at a Football Championship Subdivision program if he opted to go that route.
"(Sitting out) will definitely go into the decision," said Adams, who hopes to know his next destination by the time 16th-ranked NIU faces No. 13 Florida State on Jan. 1.
NIU head coach Dave Doeren recently accepted the vacant opening at North Carolina State, but his departure wasn't a major factor in Adams' decision to leave the Dekalb campus.
The 2011 Minot Daily News player of the year has taken in his experience with the Mid-American Conference champion Huskies, though, and believes the lessons will be fruitful wherever he suits up next.
One of the more memorable experiences for Adams was blocking for NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch in fall camp. Lynch, who finished seventh in theHeisman Trophy voting, has passed for 2,962 yards while rushing for 1,771 this season.
"He's something else," Adams said of Lynch. "He's one of the best athletes I've ever seen and he's even a better person off the field."
When NIU locked up the at-large bid to one of the four BCS bowls, naysayers came out in droves. ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit even said the Huskies had no business being in the game.
Adams has his own sentiments for the doubters.
"(Media, fans) have been underestimating our team as a whole," Adams said. "We have the same amount of scholarships as anyone else, have a high APR and have done things the hard way to get here. Anyone who doesn't think we belong is going to be in for a big surprise on Jan. 1."
Magicians dangerous from perimeter
Second-ranked Minot's 3-0 start is the product of its depth, size experience and ability to score in bunches.
The Magicians' perimeter adequacy has been especially noteworthy, though.
In wins over Fargo North, Bismarck and Jamestown, Minot has combined for 25 treys with seven players making up the total. Senior gunner Bryan Bloms has accounted for 11.
"We have 15 other players that believe in (Bloms)," Minot coach Dean Winczewski said. "So if he doesn't believe in himself at that point, there's a problem."
In Minot's two home games the Magicians are shooting a shade under 50 percent from 3-point range. They did struggle at No. 2 Bismarck, however, going 5-for-19 from deep before using other means to get past the Demons.
Interestingly, Minot has been efficient from the outside without its top guard. Austin Frank (12.5 ppg), an all-West Region guard a year ago, sat out the first three games with a suspension. He returns on Saturday when the Magicians travel to Dickinson.
Haugen in pursuit
Of Cody Haugen's 15 wins this season, the Minot High 145-pound grappler has won 12 by way of pin.
The MHS record for pins in a season is 29 and, considering the fact the Magicians aren't even halfway through its season, Haugen could exceed the record.
Not that he's too concerned about it.
"I don't really think about (the record)," said Haugen, who is ranked No. 1 at his weight. "The goal is to win a state championship and improve."
Haugen (15-1) finished with 15 pins a year ago before taking third at the Class A tournament.
Four years ago Bismarck High guard Luke Martinez was scoring regularly against the stingiest defenses in the West Region.
Two years ago Martinez was an all-NJCAA selection at Williston State College.
Now, a senior at the University of Wyoming, Martinez is helping the Cowboys to their best start in school history.
Wyoming, a member of the Mountain West Conference, is 11-0 after Martinez powered the Cowboys with 25 points in a win over Denver on Tuesday night. Martinez, a starter, now averages 13 points a game.