BOZEMAN, Montana — They came to Montana State as a trio, a running back transfer from Boise State who provided the initial connection and a pair of offensive linemen with potential provided they could develop and acclimate.
MSU head coach Jeff Choate played his college football at Montana Western in Dillon. There, he first crossed paths with Art Roper, who is now the offensive line coach at Rocky Mountain High in Meridian, Idaho outside of Boise.
In 2015, Art’s son Jake Roper rushed for 1,470 yards and 20 touchdowns, leading the Grizzlies to the Idaho 5A state title and earning first-team All-State honors for the second straight season. Jake Roper was ranked by MaxPreps as the No. 1 player in the state of Idaho his senior year.
That earned him a preferred walk-on spot at Boise State. He spent the 2016 season, Choate’s first campaign at the helm at Montana State, practicing with the Broncos.
The following season, the Griz advanced to the semifinals of the Idaho 5A playoffs thanks to another strong showing from Art Roper’s offensive line, a unit anchored by center Zach Redd and tackle Connor Wood.
The talented duo were two of the first players Montana State offered entering Choate’s first recruiting cycle. When Jake Roper landed at MSU for spring practices in 2017, that sweetened the pot.
Photos by Brooks Nuanez. All Rights Reserved.