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A blog about sports in Montana, with an emphasis on Flathead Valley High Schools.
Montana Sidelines - Sports Around The Flathead ValleyMontana Sidelines - Sports Around The Flathead Valley
Ash Touts Bobcats’ Latest Football Recruits
Glacier's Jeffries signs to play in Bozeman next year
BOZEMAN — Rob Ash has spent most of his life in or near rural areas, so he knows all about harvests. And Montana State’s seventh-year head football coach will always remember 2013 for his program’s Montana recruiting harvest.

“We’re very excited about the players we signed from the state of Montana,” Ash said Wednesday while announcing a class of 20 players which features 11 from the Treasure State. “Our in-state recruits represent great balance, and we signed players we considered the best at each classification in the state except six-man.”

That trend begins with Gunnar Brekke, the Montana Gatorade Player of the Year from Class AA Helena Capital, and Glacier High’s Devin Jeffries, who was the Class AA Defensive Player of the Year. It extends through Class A (starting quarterbacks Ben Folsom of the 2011 state championship squad at Beaverhead and Jacob Stanton of the 2012 title-winning Billings Central team), Class B (Bo Hughes engineered Loyola’s 2012 state championship while Quinn McQueary of Manhattan High was considered one of the state’s top players in any class). At Class C 8-man, Cody Vitt led Fairview to a perfect regular season and a final mark of 11-1.

“We were able to sign the top players in all classifications in the state this year except for 6-man,” Ash said, “and that’s very exciting. To me this indicates the respect our program has gained in Montana.”

Ash said the quantity of players in this class with positional versatility, including experience at quarterback, speaks to a high level of athleticism and football savvy. “That’s become one of our philosophies,” he said, “finding players who are versatile and athletic, who have played multiple positions or played on both sides of the ball. We also like recruiting coaches sons, players who show good instincts for the game.”

Figuring in two players who joined the Bobcat program in January as Division I transfers, Tanner Roderick from Nevada and Ijumaa Armstrong from Hawai’i, MSU’s 2013 signing day class includes 20 players. Two of them are Montana Gatorade Players of the Year. Brekke becomes the first incoming freshman to arrive in Bozeman as a Gatorade Player of the Year since 1994 (Lance Lanning, Havre), and is the second Helena Capital star with that honor to play at MSU. Quarterback Jeff Tuss won the award in 1988, arriving at MSU in1995. Roderick was the 2010 Gatorade Player of the Year. The addition of two Montana Gatorade Players of the Year in the 2013 class doubles the number of players with that honor that have ever played at MSU.

The excellence of this year’s recruiting class extend well beyond Montana’s borders. Ash said each of the program’s nine out-of-state recruits bring “excellent credentials to our program, and are tremendous prospects,” he said. Three new Bobcats come from Texas, two from the Dallas area and one from Houston. Five players come to MSU from California, and one from Washington. “We got a good mix of speed and strength, power and skill,” in this group, Ash added.

Ash also lauded Armstrong and Roderick for their work so far in MSU’s winter workout program. “They have both worked hard and impressed people,” he said. “I’m looking forward to seeing them play in the spring.”

Here's a list of MSU's recruits with video highlights for each player.
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