Recruiting Central

Leighton sticks with Montana State despite national accolades

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Bryce Leighton is the first Under Armour All-American to ever sign a National Letter of Intent with Montana State. And the saga of his recruitment from Camas, Washington to Bozeman, Montana is a testament to the progress of MSU as a university and the acumen of Bobcat head coach Jeff Choate and his staff as recruiters.

Choate has put a priority on recruiting Western Washington since taking over as the head coach at Montana State before the 2016 season. The former Washington Huskies’ defensive line coach had connections at some of the best programs on the Westside of Washington, including in Camas, one of Washington Class 4A’s powerhouse programs and the classification’s state champs during the 2019 season.

So Leighton, Camas’s all-state punter, was on Choate and his coaching staff’s radar pretty early on in the spring after Leighton’s junior football season.

When Leighton was on his way to attend a camp at Penn State late in the spring of 2019, he received a call from MSU director of high school operations B.J. Robertson.

“That was the first time I really thought about Montana State,” Leighton said.

MSU extended in invitation to Leighton to attend MSU’s individual camp. It happened to be the same dates as the Kohl’s Kicking Camp’s final stop in Orlando, Florida for a national showcase of kicking and punting specialists. At that gathering, Leighton thrived, winning the punting competition and earning an invite to the Under Armour game.

Leighton still managed to make an unofficial visit with his dad to Bozeman during the summer of 2019 before he attended the Kohl’s showcase or earned an invite to the most prestigious high school football all-star game in the country. That was the first hook that helped lure him to Montana State.

Bryce Leighton is the first Under Armour All-American to ever sign a National Letter of Intent with Montana State. And the saga of his recruitment from Camas, Washington to Bozeman, Montana is a testament to the progress of MSU as a university and the acumen of Bobcat head coach Jeff Choate and his staff as recruiters.

Choate has put a priority on recruiting Western Washington
since taking over as the head coach at Montana State before the 2016 season.
The former Washington Huskies’ defensive line coach had connections at some of
the best programs on the Westside of Washington, including in Camas, one of
Washington Class 4A’s powerhouse programs and the classification’s state champs
during the 2019 season.

So Leighton, Camas’s all-state punter, was on Choate and his
coaching staff’s radar pretty early on in the spring after Leighton’s junior football
season.

When Leighton was on his way to attend a camp at Penn State late in the spring of 2019, he received a call from MSU director of high school operations B.J. Robertson. “That was the first time I really thought about Montana State,” Leighton said.

MSU extended in invitation to Leighton to attend MSU’s individual camp. It happened to be the same dates as the Kohl’s Kicking Camp’s final stop in Orlando, Florida for a national showcase of kicking and punting specialists. At that gathering, Leighton thrived, winning the punting competition and earning an invite to the Under Armour game.

Leighton still managed to make an unofficial visit with his dad to Bozeman during the summer of 2019 before he attended the Kohl’s showcase or earned an invite to the most prestigious high school football all-star game in the country. That was the first hook that helped lure him to Montana State.

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About Colter Nuanez

Colter Nuanez is the co-founder and senior writer for Skyline Sports. After spending six years in the newspaper industry with stops at the Missoulian, the Ellensburg Daily Record and the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, the former Washington Newspaper Association Sportswriter of the Year and University of Montana Journalism School graduate ('09) has cultivated a deep passion for sports journalism during his 13-year career covering the Big Sky Conference. In August of 2014, Colter and brother Brooks merged their passions of writing and art to found Skyline Sports.

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