University of Montana Western head football coach B.J. Robertson has released the names of 20 student-athletes who have signed Frontier Conference/NAIA Letters of Intent to play football for the Bulldogs and attend classes at Montana Western. The 2014 recruiting class thus far includes 18 players from Montana, one player from California, and one signee from Nevada. With the initial signings of the 2014 class Coach Robertson has added eight offensive lineman, five wide receivers, three defensive lineman, three defensive backs and a linebacker.
Alex Brunett – 6’ 1” 190 pound defensive back from Jefferson High School. In his senior campaign he recorded 42 tackles and six interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns. As well as an outstanding safety for Jefferson High School he also threw for 1,906 yards and 19 touchdowns. Following his senior year he was voted first team all-conference defensive back as well as the first team all-conference quarterback. Alex was also voted first team all-state and has been selected to play in the Class B all-star game as well as the Badlands Bowl. He is the son of Neil and Denise Brunett.
Cody Connelly – 6’ 2” 150 pound receiver from Billings Senior High School. He accounted for 29 receptions and 306 yards for better than a ten yard average per reception and scored two touchdowns. He is the son of Michelle Placek.
Scottie Crigler – 6’ 1” 200 pound receiver from Billings Senior High School. He has received all-conference honors on the grid-iron following his senior season. Scottie has been a member of the 4x1 100 meter state champion relay team and was voted as an all-state selection in track and field. He has fourth and fifth respectively in the 100m and 200m races at the divisional meet in Montana Class AA. He is the son of Keith and Tammy Crigler.
Donovan Hucke – 6’ 0” 260 pound offensive/defensive lineman who finished his high school career at Beaverhead County High School with an undefeated state championship season. He played offensive center and defensive line for the Beavers. He accounted for 54 tackles that included two sacks and recovered five fumbles. Donovan was selected as a member of the all-conference and all-state football teams for his play as a center. His play on the defensive line also earned him all-conference honors. He has been selected as a participant in the East-West Shrine game this coming summer. He is the son of Wade and Cathy Hucke.
Wyatt Jenson - 6’ 1” 260 pound offensive/defensive lineman from Polson High School. Following his senior football season he was selected as a first team all-conference guard and a second team all-conference defensive tackle. He is the son of Shaun and Marie Jenson.
Jeremy “Bubba” Keller – 6’ 2” 190 pound defensive back and wide receiver from Billings West High School. Jeremy was voted as one of the team captains and earned Honorable Mention All-State for his play in the secondary his senior season. He also received 2nd team All-Conference as a corner as well as Honorable Mention All-Conference as a wide receiver. Keller had 20 receptions for 197 yards, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery, and had 34 tackles his senior year. He is the son of Fred and Cindy Keller.
Jarred Kvamme – 6’ 2” 245 pound offensive guard who played for Helena Capital High School. Jarred was a two time honorable mention All-State performer, receiving those honors as a junior and senior. He was also selected to the 2nd team All-Conference team following those two years as well. He is the son of Rick and Kathy Cochrane.
Wyatt Laakso – 6’ 2” 225 pound offensive lineman from Bozeman High School. Wyatt had 95 career knockdowns and had better than half of those his senior year when he tallied 53. Laakso was selected as the 2013 first team all-state center as well as the first team all-conference center. He is the son of Rod and Shelley Laakso.
Aaron Loewen – 6’ 3” 250 pound offensive lineman from Red Lodge High School. Aaron has played offensive tackle during his career for the Rams. With his play on the field he was honored as a first team all-conference selection his senior year. He is the son of Bryan and Tammy Loewen.
Blake Manning – 6’ 1” 180 pound linebacker from Ontario High School in Chino, Cali. His senior year he started on both sides of the ball for the Knights at running back and safety. He had a 6.62 yard average with his 417 yards on 63 rushing attempts. He scored four touchdowns and added nine receptions for 115 yards. Defensively Blake ranked No. 1 in the Southern Section for sacks by a defensive back recording six while also tallying 11 tackles for loss from his safety position. He is the son of Sam and Deborah Manning.
Denzel Maua – 6’ 2” 245 pound offensive lineman from Billings Senior High School. He was the starting left tackle for the Senior High Broncs. Denzel was voted a team captain by his peers. He earned academic all-state his senior year. He is the son of Tau and Lisa Maua.
Jake McElroy - 5’ 10” 225 pound lineman from Loyola Sacred Heart High School. He played center and nose guard for the Rams. As a senior he was an all-state performer and voted team defensive MVP by his peers. For his play along the line he was also honored as a member of the first team all-conference team as a center and nose guard. He has been selected to play in the East-West Shrine game and Class-B all-star game. He is the son of Joe and Jen McElroy.
Braydon McKitrick - 6’ 5” 250 pound athlete who has exhibited his athleticism while being a member of the football, basketball, track, and rodeo teams while attending Ennis High School. On the gridiron Braydon received 2013 first team All-State and 3 year All-Conference accolades. His junior year he recorded 46 tackles, 4 sacks and 6 pass deflections and followed that year with 43 tackles that included 3.5 sacks and 7 pass deflections his senior season. McKitrick was a key member for the 2013 Ennis Mustangs who won the state 8-Man football championship and has been selected as a participant in the Bob Cleverly 8-Man All-Star game. He is the son of Mike and Cindy McKitrick.
Brennan Nielsen – 6’ 1” 180 pound receiver from Billings Senior High School. Following his senior campaign Nielsen received honorable mention all-conference. He was voted by his teammates to be a team captain for the 2013 season. During the 2013 track season Brennan placed first at the divisional meet in the javelin and 3rd as a member of the 4x4 relay. He was selected as a first team all-state track performer in the javelin. He has been a member of the Bronc Buddy Big Brother Big Sister of Yellowstone County. He is the son of Lindsey and DeeAnn Nielsen.
Connor Schulte - 5-foot-10 240 pound offensive guard from Butte Central High School. As a sophomore he was selected as an honorable mention All-Conference defensive player and he followed that honor with second team All-Conference offensive tackle his junior year. Following his senior season Connor was honored as a first team All-Conference guard and was also selected as the Butte Central’s Last Man Award by his high school team. He is the son of Pat and Tane Schulte.
Jesse Seliskar – 5-foot-11 215 pound center from Helena High School. Jesse was a two time letter winner for the Bengals. He was selected as a second team All-Conference performer as well as an honorable mention All-State player his senior year. He is the son of Jeff and Candace Seliskar.
Josh Shaver – 6’ 0” 160 pound receiver from Lowry High School in Winnemucca, Nev. He had 22 receptions for 434 yards, two rushing attempts for 33 yards, and one return for 17 yards. Josh scored five touchdowns for the Buckaroos. He earned all-league second team honors for his play on the field. During his high school career he was part of the state championship basketball team and a two time state champion in golf. He is the son of Kim Shaver.
M.J. Simkins – 5’ 11” 165 pound athlete who has received second team offensive All-Conference honors following both his junior and senior years as a receiver on the gridiron. M.J. received both first team All-State and All-Conference honors for his play in the Beavers secondary. Simkins accounted for 29 receptions, 462 yards, and 5 touchdowns as a receiver and added 3 touchdowns on 19 of 24 passing. Defensively he totaled 40 tackles and 3 interceptions for the state champions. He is the son of Mark and Kathy Simkins.
Kolby Tamol – 5’ 10” 250 pound offensive lineman from Capital High School. He was selected as a first team all-conference player and a second team all-state performer for his play his senior season. Kolby was also voted a team captain for the Bruins by his teammates his senior year. He has been a two time track team captain and is a state champion power lifter in 2012. He is the son of Cacey Maser and Bill Tamol.
Whitley West - 5’ 9” 200 pound athlete who has played fullback, receiver, defensive end, and linebacker while playing for White Sulphur Springs High School. In 2013 West had 40 carries for 204 yards, four rushing touchdowns and nine successful rushes for PATs. As a receiver he grabbed 30 receptions for 373 yards for an average of 12.4 yards. He had seven touchdowns and four PATs receiving. Defensively he had 95 tackles and four interceptions as an inside linebacker. Following his senior season he was selected to the first team all-state team, a first team all-conference linebacker, and second team all-conference full-back. West has also been chosen as a Bob Cleverly Class C All Star football game participant. He is the son of Brad and Michie West.
The University of Montana Western has launched a national search for the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs position.