SUNBURST — There are very few surprises on National Signing Day these days. Athletes typically announce commitments well in advance, but Montana State surprised a lot of people on Wednesday, landing one of the most sought-after Class C recruits in the state.

Sunburst tight end Treyton Pickering originally signed with Montana Tech last fall, but when the Cats came calling, the record-setting Refiner knew it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

“It feels pretty good, it was kind of a dream growing up,” Pickering said Wednesday. “Playing backyard football, I kind of wanted to play for a big school, and that kind of dream came true and it’s really exciting. I’m thankful for Tech for giving me an offer and looking at me early, but when Bozeman came and offered me a chance to play in the Big Sky, it was kind of a dream and I appreciate the offer from Tech.”

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Pickering, who holds eight school records, is only the third Refiner to ever with and NCAA football team and the first in over 30 years. He joins former Sunburst greats Bruce Hogan (1964) and Gary Kimmet (1969) both of whom also played at Montana State.

“He told me as a freshman he wanted to play in front of 23,000 people,” said Sunburst head coach Dean Lerum. “That’s a big dream. We’re lucky to get 300 people at a game here. He got to go down and meet the coaches, coach (Jeff) Choate, coach (B.J.) Robertson, he got to go down there and they had a real good talk with him.”

Pickering has never played 11-man football before, but he’ll get some practice this summer. In addition to the 6-Man all-star game in Highwood, Pickering he will play in the Badlands Bowl and the 72nd annual Montana East-West Shrine Game in Great Falls.

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