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Feb 6, 2013 5:06 PM by Q2 Sports

Griz sign 8 in-state players, 24 total

MISSOULA - The Montana Grizzlies signed 24 players Wednesday including eight in-state athletes.

"I am just tremendously excited about this class, as are the rest of our coaches," said Head Coach Mick Delaney. "This time of the year everybody's a player obviously - it's what happens down the road in a couple of years. With everything that's been happening we set out with basically 12 scholarships, and we've been able to secure more than 20 players."

17 of the 24 players signed by Montana were recruited to play offense.

"From top to bottom this class has the things that we felt we needed to have to be a better football team - that is some height and speed at wide receiver; some speed at the corner positions; some physical guys at safety," Delaney added. "At the running back position we had to have two quality guys, and I think we got that. With three (senior) linebackers leaving this year we had to have some help there and I think we filled that. And then at the tight end position obviously we need help there, and I think we got that with two freshmen who are capable physically to come in and play as true freshmen.

"So, once again, from top to bottom, this class is excellent. And to put them with last year's class, I think they're two as good recruiting classes as you could ever hope for. You know we'll see down the road, but I couldn't be more happy with the work that our coaches have done to put this class together."

Griz FB Class of 2013

CLASS BREAKDOWN (24 players):
By position: Wide receiver: 6; defensive backs: 5; tight ends: 4; running backs: 3; WR/DB: 2; quarterback: 1; defensive line: 1; offensive line: 1; linebacker: 1.

By States (10): Montana: 8; Washington: 4; Oregon: 3; Arizona: 2; California: 2; Idaho: 1; Indiana: 1; Minnesota: 1; South Dakota: 1; Utah: 1.


MONTANA GRIZZLY FOOTBALL: 2013
Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Year Exp. Hometown (Previous School)
Jamal Anderson DB 5-11 180 So. JC Fontana, Calif. (San Bernardino Valley Col.)
Nate Bradley NT 5-11 250 Fr. HS Billings, Mont. (West HS)
Austin Carver WR 6-0 165 Fr. HS Dillon, Mont. (Beaverhead County HS)
Mick Delaney WR/DB 6-1 180 Fr. HS Bozeman, Mont. (Bozeman HS)
Treshawn Favors RB 5-9 175 Fr. HS Glendale, Ariz. (Mountain Ridge HS)
Nico Graham WR 5-11 175 Fr. HS Missoula, Mont. (Big Sky HS)
Jordan Harper WR 6-2 205 Fr. HS Great Falls, Mont. C. M. Russell)
Josh Horner TE 6-4 ½ 205 Fr. HS Great Falls, Mont. (C.M Russell HS)
Josh Janssen WR 6-0 185 Fr. HS Missoula, Mont. (Loyola HS)
Ryan McKinley DB 6-1 187 Fr. HS Anthem, Ariz. (Boulder Creek HS)
John Nguyen RB 5-7 187 Fr. HS Seattle, Wash. (Bellevue HS)
Chris Parker DB 6-0 175 Fr. HS Sioux Falls, SD (Washington HS)
Mike Ralston TE 6-5 ½ 245 Fr. HS Eugene, Ore. (Sheldon HS)
Marq Rogers WR 6-4 181 Fr. HS Fort Wayne, Ind. (Concordia Lutheran HS)
Cameron Rokich OL 6-5 245 Fr. HS West Jordan, Utah (Juan Diego Catholic HS)
Marquin Russell CB 6-0 185 Fr. HS Lakewood, Wash (Lakes HS)
Noah Scarver TE 6-4 234 Fr. HS Minneapolis, Minn. (Washburn HS)
Tucker Schye LB 6-4 215 Fr. HS Malta, Mont. (Malta HS)
Makena Simis QB 6-2 195 Fr. HS Boise, Idaho (Capital HS)
Cooper Sprunk TE 6-4 215 Fr. HS Portland, Ore. (Jesuit HS)
Connor Strahm WR/DB 6-2 215 Fr. HS Eugene, Ore. (Sheldon HS)
Travon Van RB 5-11 195 Jr. TR San Diego, Calif. (Marshall)
Kendrick Van Ackeren Safety 6-1 215 So. TR Bellevue, Wash. (Hawaii)
Zach Vis WR 6-3 185 Fr. HS Lynden, Wash. (Lynden HS)

Jamaal Anderson, CB, 5-11, 180, So., JC, Fontana, Calif. (San Bernardino Valley College): Jamal is currently enrolled at Montana and expected to participate in spring football...he was an all-conference selection at cornerback as a freshman in 2011 at San Bernardino Valley College, and was also an all-conference pick as a punt returner there...he was an outstanding prep athlete at Summit High School in Fontana.
Quoting Head Coach Mick Delaney: "Jamaal is a young man who we recruited out of high school, and things didn't work out for him academically, so he went to a junior college. He called during the fall and asked if he could come back and said that he just loved U of M and wanted to come here and play. We are just tremendously excited to have Jamaal in the Griz program."

Nate Bradley, NT, 5-11, 250, Fr., HS, Billings, Mont. (West HS): Nate has been accepted admission to attend Montana... he was a three-year starter on the defensive line and a two-year starter on the offensive line at Billings West High School...his prep football coach was 27-year mentor Paul Klaboe...was selected to play in Montana'a annual East-West Shrine Game...7-4 last season...also an outstanding track athlete in the shot put and discus...his major is undecided.
Quoting Head Coach Mick Delaney: "Nate is a young man who when you look at him and say ‘there's no way that he can play because he's undersized.' But we had him in camp too, and he's just a dynamic, energy guy. He's not very tall, but he's tremendously strong and will probably win the state shot put this year. We're extremely happy to have Nate, and I think he will be a good contributor to this class."

Austin Carver, WR, 6-0, 165, Fr., HS, Dillon, Mont. (Beaverhead County HS): Austin has accepted admission to attend college at UM...he was all-state at wide receiver as a junior and senior at Beaverhead County High School...also a starter in basketball...he was the 2012 Class "A" 100-meter champion...his prep football coach was former (1978-80) Griz player Terry Thomas....his older brother, Bryce, was a four-year letterman and wide receiver for the Grizzlies from 2009-12.
Quoting Head Coach Mick Delaney: "We are very fortunate to have Austin join the Griz football program. He will work hard and make an impact on our team and be a good player for us, just as his brother was. He is a very good all-around athlete. He was obviously a starter in football, he starts on the basketball team, and he's the defending State A 100-meter champ. He had the opportunity to go to several Frontier Conference schools, but chose to be a Griz. We are fortunate and excited that Austin is going to be part of our football team."

Mick Delaney, WR, 6-1, 180, Fr., HS, Bozeman, Mont. (Bozeman HS): Delaney caught 13 passes for 203 yards for the 2012 Hawks, who lost 38-36 at Butte in the State AA title game...he was also a key contributor on special teams...his high school coach was Troy Purcell...he will major in business...Birth date: April 10, 1995.
Quoting Head Coach Mick Delaney: "He's a young man who is going to have to work extremely hard, and I think he will. He understands football - his dad was a coach. I just really look forward to have him on the team that I am coaching. I think he will be a real positive influence on the Grizzly football team."

Treshawn (pronounced: tray-shawn) Favors, RB, 5-9, 175, Fr., HS, Glendale, Ariz. (Mountain Ridge HS): Treshawn gained 1,065 yards and scored 12 touchdowns on 214 carries (4.98 average) as a senior for the Mountain Ridge Mountain Lions, who went 5-5...he also caught 14 passes for 182 yards and had three receiving TDs...he had an injury-shortened junior season in 2011 (he ran for 411 yards in four games)...averaged 23.7 yards per kickoff return as a senior, and 25.9 yards as a junior....his head coach was Bobby Green...he is not sure of a major...Birth date: Dec. 16, 1994.
Quoting Head Coach Mick Delaney: "Treshawn will be a dynamic running back for us. This was a hard get for us. Coach (Justin) Green did a great job in the recruiting wars with Treshawn. He had opportunities to go to North Dakota State, Northern Arizona, and a few FBS schools. He's got that great speed and quick start, and stop-start. I think he will be a great addition to our backfield."

Nico Graham, WR, 5-11, 175, Fr., HS, Missoula, Mont. (Big Sky HS): The local product from Missoula's Big Sky High School had 43 catches for 691 yards and three touchdowns as a senior despite missing two games.... his head football coach was Matt Johnson...first-team all-state pick for Class AA...Nico has also excelled at track for the Eagles...possible majors include education, communications, criminal justice...Birth date: June 29, 1994.
Quoting Head Coach Mick Delaney: "Nico comes to us as one of those guys in Montana, particularly in Missoula, who grew up loving the Griz, and wanted to do anything he possibly could to be a Griz. When we started recruiting Nico from our camp last summer, from day one this is the place that he wanted to be. He'll be a nice wide receiver for us."

Jordan Harper, WR, 6-2, 205, Fr., HS, Great Falls, Mont. ©. M. Russell HS): Jordan is currently enrolled at Montana and expected to participate in spring football...recently returned to Montana following a two-year LDS mission...participated in the East-West Shrine Game and Montana-North Dakota All-Star game following his senior season at C.M. Russell High School....a two-time all-state player for the Rustlers...started on CMR's 2009-10 state championship basketball team...prep football coach was Montana Hall of Fame mentor Jack Johnson...also academic all-state pick.
Quoting Head Coach Mick Delaney: "Jordan is a good all-around athlete. We recruited Jordan out of high school, and at that time he had a responsibility with his mission. He's kind of a hybrid guy, between a tight end and a wide receiver type of player. He had a tremendous high school career."

Josh Horner, TE, 6-4 ½, 205, Fr., HS, Great Falls, Mont. (C.M. Russell HS): Josh was moved to quarterback from tight end this past fall at C.M. Russell High School, and he threw for 1,392 yards and 10 touchdowns and rushed for 1,036 yards and 27 scores...caught 4 passes for 67 yards and a score before the position change... prep mentor in football was Montana Hall of Fame coach Jack Johnson...plans to major in biology...Birth date: July 15, 1994.
Quoting Head Coach Mick Delaney: "Josh is playing basketball right now on a real good C.M.R. team. We had him in camp, and he played quarterback, he played tight end, he played defensive end, and he played a little wide receiver. He's just an excellent, all-around athlete. That goes along with the recruiting philosophy of recruiting as many quarterbacks as you can, because they are athletes who can play multiple positions. We're looking at Josh right now as an H-back, tight end, defensive end type of guy. He's going to grow into a really, really nice sized young man who is very, very tough and a good football player."

Josh Janssen, WR, 6-0, 185, Fr., HS, Missoula, Mont. (Loyola HS): Janssen was an all-state performer at local Loyola Sacred Heart, which earned its first ever State B football title in 2012... his high school football coach was Dan Weber...as a senior he caught 43 passes for 958 yards and 15 touchdowns for the 12-0 Rams...he will major in sports performance...Birth date: Dec. 7, 1994.
Quoting Head Coach Mick Delaney: "Josh is another camp kid from last summer, and he came into camp and caught every single ball that was thrown in his direction for four days. I just think Josh is going to be one of the surprises of this class. He's tough, he's physical, he catches the ball well, and he runs very well."

Ryan McKinley, CB, 6-1, 187, Fr., HS, Anthem, Ariz. (Boulder Creek HS): McKinley had three interceptions and 38 tackles in 2012 for Boulder Creek High School...his prep football coach was Dan Friedman...he had offers from two-time defending FCS champion North Dakota State and Northern Arizona, among many others...he will major in history...Birth date: Nov. 27, 1994.
Quoting Head Coach Mick Delaney: "Ryan has good size for a corner. He's got really good speed. He's a physical football player. He is also an excellent student. We're really excited to have him in our program. Again, coach Green did a really nice job in a recruiting war with North Dakota State, and with Northern Arizona. Those are tough gets for us when the young man is from Arizona. Our players from Arizona, Josh Dennard, Joey Counts, and now Ryan McKinley and Treshawn Favors, are excellent football players, and we are happy to get our feet in the door in the Phoenix, Arizona, area."

John Nguyen (pronounced: win) , RB, 5-7, 187, Fr., HS, Seattle, Wash. (Bellevue HS): John rushed for 1,217 yards and 18 touchdowns while helping the Wolverines run their winning streak to 40 games... Bellevue went 14-0 in 2012 and won its fifth straight Washington Class 3A state title for coach Butch Goncharoff....rushed for two touchdowns in the 2011 3A title game as a junior...he is the younger brother to 2012 Griz football MVP Peter Nguyen, a running back who finished his career ranked sixth in school history with 1,985 rushing yards...his major will be business...Birth date: Oct. 14, 1994.
Quoting Head Coach Mick Delaney: "John looks a lot like Peter, but they play completely different. John is a real strong, run forward type of guy and very physical. I was just talking to (his high school mentor) coach Butch last week, and he said ‘you'll really be surprised at the type of football player that John is. He'll run between the tackles and get the tough, hard yards for you, and hold up and just be an excellent football player for you'."

Chris Parker, DB, 6-0, 175, Fr., HS, Sioux Falls, S.D. (Washington HS): Parker had 10 pass deflections and an interception last season at Washington High, which won its third state football title in four seasons...he also had 38 tackles - seven for losses - at corner, forced a fumble and recovered another...on offense he had 13 catches for 187 yards...on special teams he had 18 punt returns for a 19.2-yard average and 2 TDs; 5 kickoff returns for a 37.4-yard average and another touchdown...he had similar stats as a junior - 13 pass deflections, two picks, and two touchdowns via kickoff returns...prepped at the same school as Griz junior safety Matt Hermanson, and his coach there was Matt's dad, Brian Hermanson...he is interested in a career in dentistry...Birth date: Oct. 31, 1994.


Quoting Head Coach Mick Delaney (on Parker): "Chris is a 6-foot-10 high jumper, and is just a tremendous athlete. He really thinks that he can jump 7-feet this spring, which would be outstanding. "He's got great quickness and will come up and hit you hard when he tackles you. We're excited to have him join our secondary crew."

Mike Ralston, TE, 6-5 ½, 245, Fr., HS, Eugene, Ore. (Sheldon HS): Although Mike caught just a handful of passes in 2012 at Sheldon High (5 for 29 yards and 2 TDs), he is an excellent athlete and he could be pressed into action right away...he's reported to have a 40-inch vertical jump...he also had team-highs of 8 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss playing defensive end for the Irish, who went 14-0 and won the Oregon Class 6A title....his head coach was Marty Johnson...he will major in business... Birth date: Dec. 10, 1994.
Quoting Head Coach Mick Delaney: "Mike Ralston is an amazing young man. There again, he had some other opportunities. He turned down San Diego State, and don't ask me why, but he did. He's a big-time, good-looking kid. He's everything you want in a tight end. He's very physical, he runs very well, and in Sheldon's offense he actually was a wide receiver most of the time, catching balls in space. We need three or four tight ends, and we feel like we have two quality freshmen, and Mike is one of them."

Marq Rogers, WR, 6-4, 181, Fr., HS, Fort Wayne, Ind. (Concordia Lutheran HS): Marquin was one of the top receivers in Fort Wayne's Summit Athletic League with 50 catches for 683 yards for Concordia Lutheran High School...his high school football coach was Tim Mannigel...he was one of the fastest 400-meter runners in the prep ranks a year ago, running a 48.1...a physical therapy major...Birth date: July 2, 1994.
Quoting Head Coach Mick Delaney (on Rogers): "He's one of those tall receivers that we set out to try to get. He runs very well and catches the ball very well, and he's also a physical guy who can block. (Assistant coach) Ross Brunelle did a good job of recruiting him. When he and his mom came out and visited, they loved Missoula and they loved The University of Montana. He had a lot of opportunities back in the Mid-West and in the Missouri Valley Conference, and chose to come to Montana. We are excited to see what Marquin can do."

Cameron Rokich, OL, 6-5, 245, Fr., HS, West Jordan, Utah (Juan Diego Catholic HS): Cameron was a starter for his 12-1 Juan Diego Catholic High School team in Draper, Utah...an all-region pick as a senior...team was ranked third in the state in 3A...his prep coach was Don Colosimo...he is undecided on a major...Birth date: March 29, 1995.
Quoting Head Coach Mick Delaney: "Cameron is a little bit slight weight-wise right now, but he has a big frame, and he's going to be exactly the type of guy that you want to have. He's got good leverage; big, long arms and a large wing span. He is going to be a good football player for the Griz in the future."

Marquin (pronounced: mar-quinn) Russell, CB, 6-0, 185, Fr., HS, Lakewood, Wash. (Lakes HS): Russell had 33 catches for 482 yards and six touchdowns last season for the Lakes High Lancers, a perennial power...on defense, he had four interceptions, returning two for touchdowns...Marquin was a state 400 champ...had a pick-six as a junior....his prep football coach was Dave Miller...he will major in business...Birth date: Jan. 22, 1995.
Quoting Head Coach Mick Delaney: "He's a kid who visited here and just loved it. He's from a military family. His dad just got back from his second or third stint in Iraq, and he got home the day that we did the home visit, and that evening Marquin committed to us. He's a tremendous athlete. He ran a 48.2 400 meters last year, which is getting down to one of the top times in the country. He's got good size. Lakes has a lot of good football players, so it's nice to go in there and get a player out of there."

Noah Scarver, TE, 6-4, 234, Fr., HS, Minneapolis, Minn. (Washburn HS): Scarver caught 27 passes for 283 yards (14.1 yards per catch) and 7 touchdowns as a senior at Washburn High, which went 6-3 that season...his high school coach was Giovan Jenkins...he also led Minnesota's prep ranks with 14 sacks, playing defensive end.
Quoting Head Coach Mick Delaney: "Noah is in the same realm as Michael (Ralston). He's not quite as big weight-wise, but he's a big, physical tight end who is just going to get bigger and stronger. He's an excellent basketball player. He comes from an excellent high school football program. A lot of fine athletes have come out of there and played for the University of Minnesota Gophers and other places. For coach Ty (Gregorak) to go into the Minneapolis area and us to get a young man like Noah, it is a good fit for both of us, and of course good for Griz football."

Tucker Schye (pronounced: shy), LB, 6-4, 215, Fr., HS, Malta, Mont. (Malta HS): The defensive leader for the State B runner-up Mustangs, Schye had 100 tackles in 12 games, including 20 sacks...he also forced 10 fumbles, five in the playoffs, and had an interception return for a touchdown...Tucker was all-state in 2012 and helped the Mustangs to the State B basketball title last March...he is interested in a career in law...Birth date: April 7, 1994.
Quoting Head Coach Mick Delaney: "Tucker's one of those big, tall, thin kids right now, but he's 15 or so pounds heavier right now than Jordan (Tripp, a UM senior linebacker) was at the same time, but he has a lot of the same qualities that Jordan had. He runs really, really well. He's a state place-winner in the 200 meters. He plays with a lot of energy and plays hard. We're very excited about Tucker Schye."

Makena Simis (pronounced: mah-ken-ah simm-is), QB, 6-2, 195, Fr., HS, Boise, Idaho (Capital HS): Makena completed 180 of 263 passes for 2,240 yards and 24 touchdowns as a senior at Boise's Capital High School... he also ran for 535 yards and eight TDs...first team all-state for Class 5A...5A Southern Idaho conference "Player of the Year"...chosen East-West Shrine Game captain ...second team all-state QB as a junior...had 5,085 total career yards and 51 TDs...his head coach was his father, Todd Simis...he is undecided on a major...Birth date: April 20, 1995.
Quoting Head Coach Mick Delaney (on Simis): "Makena played for his dad at Capital High School, and that's one of the top two or three programs in the entire state of Idaho. He's a smart player and really understands the game of football. He was our first commit, and that says something. He had a lot of people recruiting him early as a junior, and he just shut everything down and said, ‘I want to be a Griz,' and he stayed with it through the whole process."

Cooper Sprunk, TE, 6-4, 215, Fr., HS, Portland, Ore. (Jesuit HS): Cooper has been accepted to attend UM...he was a starter at tight end for the 12-3 Jesuit HS Crusaders...prep football coach was Ken Potter...his prep football team lost to eventual 6A champion Sheldon HS 35-28 in the state semi-finals...he also competes in track and field in the javelin.
Quoting Head Coach Mick Delaney: "We were fortunate to get Cooper to come to The University of Montana as a preferred walk-on. He has good size, and he's a starter on the Jesuit basketball team which won the state championship last year and is off to a great start this season. He's a multi-sport athlete, who I think is going to have a great chance to play here. We're extremely happy to have him join us."

Connor Strahm, Safety/WR, 6-2, 215, Fr., HS, Eugene, Ore. (Sheldon HS): Connor had 92 receptions for 1,138 yards and 14 touchdowns, plus another 564 yards rushing for nine touchdowns on 78 carries... he had 53 tackles, three sacks, and four picks as a two-way star for Sheldon High School...he was the state 6A "Defensive Player of the Year" last season as a senior for the state champion, 14-0 Irish...he was all-state at wide receiver and defensive back as a junior and senior...chosen his league offensive and defensive MVP...his head coach was Marty Johnson...he is undecided on a major...Birth date: Dec. 24, 1994.
Quoting Head Coach Mick Delaney: "Connor is as good an athlete as we've got in this class. He played wide receiver, inside and outside, and he played safety on defense. He just had a tremendous year for the Sheldon Irish. It was a battle there too to get him to play for the Griz. He had a lot of other opportunities. He's an outstanding baseball player in addition to being a really good football player. Having two kids from Sheldon from coach Johnson's program will be a really positive thing on the field and off the field for the Griz."

Travon (pronounced tray-vonn) Van, RB, 5-11, 195, Jr., TR, San Diego, Calif. (Marshall): Travon is currently enrolled at Montana...he is a transfer from Marshall University...rushed for 551 yards and three TDs for the Herd in 2011... after three games in the 2012 season he led the team with 93 yards on 39 carries, and was moved then to defense, which led to his transfer to UM...at Helix High School in San Diego in 2008, Travon rushed for 1,237 yards...spent a year at a prep school, Milford (N.Y.) Academy...he's unsure of a major...Birth date: May 6, 1991. Quoting Head Coach Mick Delaney: "Coach Green played football with Travon's brother at San Diego State, so that's how that connection came about. He's going to be an immediate impact player for the Griz. He's physical and has great speed. He's a good student. He's here in school right now and will be out for spring ball. That's a real plus for us for him to join along with (running backs) Jordan Canada and Joey Counts, and a couple of younger kids who are battling for playing time there."

Kendrick Van Ackeren, Safety, 6-1, 215, So., TR, Bellevue, Wash. (Bellevue HS/Hawaii): Kendrick is also currently enrolled at UM...he played linebacker at Hawaii in 2012, which was his redshirt freshman season, and he had 25 tackles, eight of them solo...he was the Seattle Times' 3A Washington state Player of the Year in 2010 after helping Bellevue High School to a 13-1 mark and the Wolverines' third straight state title, when he threw for 960 yards and ran for 550, and on defense he had six interceptions...as a junior had 90 tackles, four fumbles caused and three interceptions....his prep coach was Butch Goncharoff...he will major in business...Birth date: August 19, 1993.
Quoting Head Coach Mick Delaney (on Van Ackeren): "You know that Bellevue (High School) connection is working really well for us. You take Bellevue and Sheldon High School in Oregon, and a couple schools in Arizona - those are the top football players in each of the states that they represent. We recruited Kendrick out of high school and he chose to go to Hawaii at that time, then they had a coaching change this past year. He's a good sized safety who can really run. We haven't had a safety like that physically for awhile. We are really looking forward to the impact that he will make in our secondary."

Zach Vis, WR (pronounced viss), 6-3, 185, Fr., HS, Lynden, Wash. (Lynden HS): Zach was one of the top-ranked wide receivers in the state of Washington for the 31-1 Lions last season...last season he had 52 receptions for 929 yards and 10 touchdowns...he also rushed for a TD...he set the state championship game playoff record with 271 receiving yards (on just nine catches) and his 3 scoring grabs tied the state standard in the title game against Tumwater in the 2A state championship game..in his career he had 157 catches, for 28 TDs, and 2,579 yards...his coach was Curt Kramme.
Quoting Head Coach Mick Delaney: "Zach is a really, really fine all-around athlete. He was at our camp this past summer. We were intrigued by his size - he's all of 6-3. Lynden has a great tradition in their program. They're a lot like Bellevue (High School), but they're in Northern Washington. They've won three, or maybe four state championships in a row. Zach starts on both the football and basketball teams. He was hurt during the (2012) season, so I think some people overlooked him. He missed about six or seven weeks, but then he came back and just had a tremendous effort in the state playoffs in the championship game."

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