Size and speed.
Jeff Choate identified those foundational elements of building a football program as touchstones of Montana State’s February signing period, and Wednesday he said the 15 players who signed their National Letters-of-Intent or admissions offers to join the Bobcat program next fall do an excellent job checking those boxes.
“We wanted to improve our size along the line of scrimmage and our speed in the secondary,” Choate said of his program’s goals for the second signing period of 2018-19. “We feel we’ve accomplished that. When you look at this year’s class as a whole we gained both size and talent in both lines, added versatility to the roster, and increased our speed profile as a program.”
Choate said MSU also tapped into an element that doesn’t appear on signing day lists. “Recruiting to this university’s academic excellence is an important part of our process, and this year a lot of the young men joining us qualified for academic aid,” he said. “We’ve attracted a lot of high academic achievers, and we want our student-athletes to compete in the classroom every day, like they compete in the weight room and on the field.”
High School – February
Tua Areta, OL 6-3 380 Fr Kent, WA Meridian
Tylor Bohannon, WR/CB 6-1 175 Fr Sacramento, CA Grant
Dominic Brown, CB 6-2 185 Fr Oxnard, CA Oxnard
*Jack Galt, LB/FB 6-0 210 Fr White Sulphur Springs, MT White Sulphur Springs
*Logan Gilliard, DL/LS/TE 6-3 205 Fr Bigfork, MT Bigfork
^Jacob Kettels, OL 6-4 280 Fr Lynden, WA Lynden
Elijah King, ATH 5-10 175 Fr Elk Grove, CA Consumnes Oaks
Hudson Klundt, OL 6-3 290 Fr Twin Falls, ID Twin Falls
Jaharie Martin, LB 6-0 238 Fr Lakeland, FL Lakeland
Jamahd Monroe, WR 6-2 180 Fr San Diego, CA Lincoln
*Rylan Ortt, S 6-1 185 Fr Missoula, MT Sentinel
*Justus Perkins, OL/DL 6-0 245 Fr Bozeman, MT Bozeman
TJ Session, OL 6-4 270 Fr Menifee, CA Vista Murrieta
*Brock Spiegelberg, RB/LB 6-0 210 Fr Casper, WY Kelly Walsh
Eric Zambrano, CB 6-3 190 Fr Upland, CA Upland
High School – December
Ethan Bullock, DL 6-6 220 Fr Big Timber, MT Sweet Grass County
DeMareus Hosey, RB 6-0 190 Fr Justin, TX Northwest
Alex Johnson, LB 6-2 185 Fr Helena, MT Helena
Ryan Lonergan, TE 6-4 220 Fr Bozeman, MT Bozeman
Joe Olson, RB 6-0 195 Fr Bozeman, MT Bozeman
Cole Oster, LB 6-1 210 Fr Castle Rock, CO Castle Rock
Holden Sampson, OL 6-3 265 Fr Helena, MT Helena
Blake Schmidt, DL 6-3 250 Fr San Diego, CA Monte Vista
Jaden Smith, WR 6-6 190 Fr Kennedale, TX Kennedale
*Blake Thelen, QB 6-3 185 Fr Great Falls, MT Great Falls
*Tanner Trafton, WR 6-5 190 Fr Lewistown, MT Fergus
Jack Vering, OL 6-6 245 Fr Boise, ID Capital
Marcus Wehr, DL 6-3 220 Fr Billings, MT Central
*-Confirmed intent to attend by signing offer of admission ^-Greyshirt, will enroll January 2020
Transfers – December
Name, Pos. Ht Wt Class Hometown High School Previous College
Blake Flovin, ILB 6-1 1/2 230 Jr Sunnyvale, CA Archbishop Mitty Foothill/Holy Cross
Amandre Williams, OLB 6-2 1/2 248 Jr Maple Valley, WA Tahoma Washington
High School signees: Click on players name to access film
6-3, 380, Fr, Kent, WA (Meridian)
Player Notes: Second Team All-North Puget Sound League… four-year varsity athlete in track as well as football.
From MSU Coach Jeff Choate: “We wanted to focus on getting bigger and getting faster, and Tua helps us do that. He is a massive human being. His technique isn’t extremely polished, but he is super smart in addition to having great size, and he’ll pick up techniques quickly. We’ve played a true freshman in the middle of the defensive line each of the last two years, and Tua is a candidate this year.”
6-1, 165, Fr, Sacramento, CA (Grant)
Player Notes: Two-time all-conference performer as a receiver and defensive back at Grant.
From MSU Coach Jeff Choate: “Tylor was a great athlete for four years at Grant High, very versatile, and ultra-competitive. We have him slotted as a cornerback, and I’m very excited about his future in our program. Like Elijah King, Tylor trained with a former Boise State player, so there was a connection there. I think he’ll take advantage of a great educational opportunity and all the things that Montana State has to offer.”
6-2, 185, Fr, Oxnard, CA (Oxnard)
Player Notes: Logged 23 tackles as a senior, with seven interceptions… was Pacific League Defensive Player of the Year as a senior and two-time First Team All-Conference… was a four-year starter in football, and a two-year starter in basketball.
From MSU Coach Jeff Choate: “Dom might be the best defensive back I’ve evaluated on film in my time at Montana State. He’s a force in the secondary, a long athlete who can lock you up in man-to-man and is really excellent in zone, understanding concepts. One of his cousins played for us at Washington, and (former Bobcat great) Tiai Salanao has a great reputation at Oxnard, and his position coach is friends with Sam (Holt, an administrative assistant in the MSU program), so there were a lot of connectivity with Dom.”
6-0, 210, Fr, White Sulphur Springs, MT (White Sulphur S.)
Player Notes: Helped lead White Sulphur Springs to a league title as a junior… logged 33.5 tackles as a senior… played defensive end and tight end.
From MSU Coach Jeff Choate: “Jack is a tough kid and a good athlete, and he’s had his sights set on this opportunity for some time. I’m excited for him to get this opportunity, and look forward to watching his development.”
6-3, 205, Fr, Bigfork, MT (Bigfork)
Player Notes: Earned All-Class B and all-conference honors as an offensive lineman in 2018.
From MSU Coach Jeff Choate: “Logan is a good all-around athlete and a very competitive kid. He played as an undersized offensive lineman and plays hard. He’s part of successful programs in football and basketball at Bigfork.”
6-4, 280, Fr, Lynden, WA (Lynden)
Player Notes: Will greyshirt and enroll at MSU in January, 2020… a three-year starter who earned all-conference honors each of those seasons and all-state kudos as a senior… helped lead football team to two conference titles, and the 2017 Lynden basketball squad to a state championship.
From MSU Coach Jeff Choate: “Jacob comes from the same high school as Bryce Sterk, and he was one of the better offensive linemen in northwest Washington. We’ve been recruiting him for a while, and when he had a great recruiting trip he jumped in the boat. He’s a big-bodied guy who we think can develop into good offensive lineman at Montana State.”
5-10, 175, Fr, Elk Grove, CA (Consumnes Oaks)
Player Notes: Logged 107 tackles as a senior at Consumnes Prep… also caught 33 passes for 583 yards and six TD catches in 2018… 1st team all-metro, all-purpose player of the year, first team all-league, Optimist All-Star Game selection.
From MSU Coach Jeff Choate: “Elijah is a very versatile player. We see him as a defensive back but he’s also a very good slot receiver. He’s one of the better athletes in the Sacramento area. He was a standout in the high and low hurdles, and he’s a really high academic achiever. He’s a prospective engineering student so Montana State is a great fit for him, and he’s also a very creative artist. He’s an outstanding fit for our program.”
6-3, 290, Fr, Twin Falls, ID (Twin Falls)
Player Notes: First Team All-State Class 4A and all-conference as an offensive lineman as a senior in 2018… Second Team All-State as a junior… his father Travis played football at UM Western… former prep teammate Kole Bailey plays football at Boise State… also earned all-league honors in basketball, and played baseball.
From MSU Coach Jeff Choate:“We first saw Hudson in our team camp, but I knew of him because I coached his dad at Twin Falls High School and his head coach was an assistant on that staff. Hudson has very fluid hips, he’s a good basketball player with excellent feet. That athleticism gives him a chance to develop into an excellent offensive lineman. That camp connection was really important in our ability to evaluate Hudson, and the family ties helped, as well.”
6-0, 238, Fr, Lakeland, FL (Lakeland)
Player Notes: Played defensive end at Lake Gibson in 2016 and ‘17… played inside linebacker at Lakeland in 2018…. MVP of a state championship team… Polk County Defensive Player of the Year… 130 tackles, four blocked punts.
From MSU Coach Jeff Choate: “Jaharie was the leading tackler on a team that won a championship. He’s a physical player, an enforcer in the middle of the defense that can really run and hit. He’s a tremendous player and we’re really excited about his future in our program.”
6-2, 185, Fr, San Diego, CA (Lincoln)
Player Notes: Caught 63 passes for 1,366 yards as a senior at Lincoln High… scored 13 touchdowns… caught 19 passes for 460 yards as a junior for 460 yards and six touchdowns.
From MSU Coach Jeff Choate: “Jamahd is a 6-2 kid that can really run. One of missing elements in our passing game was vertical speed in the slot position to complement our quickness in space. He is a really good get for us. He’s an excellent student and I look forward seeing how he can contribute to our offensive success.”
6-1, 185, Fr, Missoula, MT (Sentinel)
Player Notes: Safety and quarterback at Sentinel, where he was first team all-state as a senior… threw for 2,097 yards and 18 touchdowns, while rushing for 738 yards and 14 touchdowns as a asenior… all-state in javelin as a junior… his father Dan played football at Montana.
From MSU Coach Jeff Choate: “As we talked to coaches around the state, Rylan’s name kept popping up as a kid to watch. He’s a tremendous all-around athlete that gives us versatility. I’m excited to watch his progress in our program.”
6-0, 240, Fr, Bozeman, MT (Bozeman)
Player Notes: An all-state offensive lineman as a senior, becomes the third member of the 2018 Bozeman High football team to join the Cats… his father Josh was a standout MSU cornerback in the 1990s.
From MSU Coach Jeff Choate: “A tough, scrappy player who is a good leader, Justus adds value on either side of the line of scrimmage. He’s a legacy, so becoming a Bobcat means a lot to him, and I’m excited to add him to our program.”
6-4, 270, Fr, Menifee, CA (Vista Murrieta)
Player Notes: Helped lead his team to an 8-3 record and Southwest League title as a senior in his first full campaign on the offensive line… Vista Murietta’s offense produced 3,000 total yards and 35 touchdowns… earned 1st team all-league, 1st team all-area, and Division I All-CIF honors.
From MSU Coach Jeff Choate: “The film on TJ was awesome. He really came on in the process of settling in as a one-way player on the offensive line during his high school career. When he had that opportunity he really flourished. He can play inside or out. He’s long and athletic enough to play tackle, and strong enough to play guard. He has the chance to be a really good offensive lineman for us.”
6-0, 210, Fr, Casper, WY (Kelly Walsh)
Player Notes: Joins the Bobcats as a preferred walk-on… earned Second Team All-USA Wyoming honors last fall… named to the Super 25 Team by the Casper Star-Tribune as a junior and senior.
From MSU Coach Jeff Choate: “Brock is one of the best all-around football players in the state of Wyoming. He was a prolific running back at Kelly Walsh and an excellent linebacker. He brings us toughness and adds value and versatility to our roster.”
6-3, 190, Fr, Upland, CA (Upland)
Player Notes: Logged 86 total tackles as a senior, with three interceptions and nine pass breakups at Upland… earned first team all-league, 2nd team all-area, and 1st Team All-CIF honors… intercepted four passes as a senior, returning two for touchdowns… also attended Summit High School (2015-17).
From MSU Coach Jeff Choate: “Eric was on our radar for a while because his (high school) position coach played for us at Boise State. He’s a 6-3 corner with great size and length who we’ve been on for a while, but he transferred in and worked his way onto everyone’s radar, Mountain West schools and even some Pac 12 programs expressed interest late. He had an awesome (recruiting) trip and I think the relationships really helped. I’m excited about Eric’s future at Montana State.”