Jeff Choate announces Montana State Bobcats’ early football signings

Posted at 4:30 PM, Dec 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-19 18:30:14-05
Montana State coach Jeff Choate looks on during the Bobcats’ playoff game against Incarnate Word at Bobcat Stadium. (SLIM KIMMEL/MTN Sports)

(Editor’s note: Montana State University media release)

BOZEMAN — Montana State football coach Jeff Choate’s philosophy of winning football games from the line of scrimmage out was on full display Wednesday, when he announced the first 17 members of the 2018-19 Bobcat recruiting class.

Eight of the 17 play either offensive or defensive line or tight end, and Choate said that’s no accident.

“I think you can see our commitment to both sides of the line of scrimmage,” Montana State’s fourth-year football coach said. “We signed a number of guys on both the offensive and defensive lines that we think will either develop as great Bobcats or come in and compete right away.”

That commitment helped Choate lead the Cats to an 8-5 record and the program’s first FCS Playoff win since 2012 this fall. And while he was pleased to build his program from the ball out, he’s also happy to build this year’s recruiting class close to home.

“I’ve said many times that we’ll go where we need to go for arms and legs, but that the heart and soul of Bobcat Football starts at home,” Choate said. “We’re thrilled to add players from across the state, starting with Bozeman High School.”

In addition to size up front, Choate also likes the athleticism this class adds on the perimeter.

“We have some big skill guys at tight end and linebacker and receiver,” he said. “We’ve added a couple of players in Blake Flovin and Amandre Williams that help us at linebacker, and as we close out this period (in February) defensive back will be a primary target for us, as well.”

High School – Montana

Ethan Bullock, DL, 6-6, 220, Fr, Big Timber, MT, Sweet Grass County
Alex Johnson, LB, 6-2, 185, Fr, Helena, MT, Helena
Ryan Lonergan, TE, 6-4, 220, Fr, Bozeman, MT, Bozeman
Joe Olson, RB, 6-0, 195, Fr, Bozeman, MT, Bozeman
Holden Sampson, OL, 6-3, 265, Fr, Helena, MT, Helena
*Blake Thelen, QB, 6-3, 185, Fr, Great Falls, MT, Great Falls
*Tanner Trafton, WR, 6-5, 190, Fr, Lewistown, MT, Fergus
Marcus Wehr, DL, 6-3, 220, Fr, Billings, MT, Central

High School – Out-of-State

DeMareus Hosey, RB, 6-0, 190, Fr, Justin, TX, Northwest
Hayden Isenhart, DE, 6-4, 230, Fr, Aurora, CO, Grandview
Cole Oster, LB, 6-1, 210, Fr, Castle Rock, CO, Castle Rock
*Rudder Romo, DL, 6-3, 265, Fr, Anchorage, AK, IMG Academy
Blake Schmidt, DL, 6-3, 250, Fr, San Diego, CA, Monte Vista
Jaden Smith, WR, 6-6, 190, Fr, Kennedale, TX, Kennedale
Jack Vering, OL, 6-6, 245, Fr, Boise, ID, Capital

*-Confirmed intent to attend by signing admissions acceptance


Blake Flovin, ILB, 6-1 1/2, 230, Jr, Sunnyvale, CA, Archbishop Mitty Foothill/Holy Cross
Amandre Williams, OLB, 6-2 1/2, 248, Jr, Maple Valley, WA, Tahoma Washington


Ethan Bullock, DL

6-6, 220, Fr, Big Timber, MT (Sweet Grass)

Player Notes: Helped lead the Herders to conference titles in basketball as a junior and football as a senior… a three-year starter and two-time all-league and all-state selection at defensive end, and a two-time all-league offensive lineman… also earned all-conference honors as a junior in hoops.

From MSU Coach Jeff Choate: “A young man from Big Timber, Ethan is long-levered and fits into our big-skill recruiting model. He can play tight end, has played defensive line. He is a prototypical Bobcat, a tough, hard-nosed Montana kid, we’re excited to have him.”

High School Coach: James Moody

DeMareus Hosey, RB

6-0, 190, Fr, Justin, TX (Northwest)

Player Notes: Rushed for 1,933 yards (288 carries) with 26 touchdowns as a senior, 1,460 yards (214 carries) with 15 touchdowns as a junior… was named Dallas-Fort Worth Player of the Week early in the season this year and twice as a junior… Texas AP Second Team… Class 6-5A 1st Team All-District as a junior and senior… 2018 District MVP and all-state selection.

From MSU Coach Jeff Choate: “We’ve had some good luck with kids from down in Texas, and DeMareus is a six-foot, 195 lb kid who runs really well. He has great vision, good top-end speed. Coach McGhee did a really good job developing a relationship with DeMareus, and we’re excited about his future here.”

Hayden Isenhart, DE

6-4, 230, Fr, Aurora, CO (Grandview)

Player Notes: Logged 51 tackles with four sacks and a forced fumble as a senior.

From MSU Coach Jeff Choate: “We have a couple of Colorado kids in this class, and that’s our effort to dip down into the Denver area. Coach (Kyle) Risinger did a nice job developing relationships with this young man. He’s an exceptional two-way player, he played both tight end and defensive line, and we’re going to play him on defense to start. He has good length, a high motor, and is a really smart kid.”

Alex Johnson, LB

6-2, 185, Fr, Helena, MT (Helena)

Player Notes: A two-time first team all-state and all-conference choice at Helena High… also a three-year starter for the Bengals in basketball… a seven-time academic all-state choice, and National Honor Society member.

From MSU Coach Jeff Choate: “Alex is an ultra-smart young man from Helena High School with good length, position versatility. He played some safety, some outside linebacker, some tight end for Coach Evans. He’s an exceptionally good student, high academics, and I think that’s what drew him to Montana State. He’s another quality Montana recruit.”

High School Coach: Scott Evans

Ryan Lonergan, TE

6-4, 220, Fr, Bozeman, MT (Bozeman)

Player Notes: Two-time First Team All-State choice at tight end, and second team as a defensive end… caught 64 passes for 1,121 yards as a senior, scoring 12 touchdowns… also logged 12.5 sacks… a two-year basketball starter, earning first team all-state as a junior… team captain as a senior.

From MSU Coach Jeff Choate: “Ryan Lonergan, I think, is the best prospect in the state of Montana. He won multiple MVPs at different camps he attended, both at Boise State University and the University of Washington, for his position group. He’s an exceptional athlete and a very good basketball player, and was a critical element on both the defensive line and tight end for a nice run for the Bozeman Hawks this year.”

High School Coach: Levi Wesche

Joe Olson, RB

6-0, 195, Fr, Bozeman, MT (Bozeman)

Player Notes: Rushed for over 900 yards in six games before an injury ended his 2018 season… a two-year starter for the Hawks, h earned second team all-state and all-conference as a junior… also earned all-state honors in track and field as a junior.

From MSU Coach Jeff Choate: “Had he not been injured I think Joe would have been first team all-state this year. I think he was the best runner in the state of Montana. We had an opportunity to see him at camps, and he consistently performed at a high level. He’s a tough, hard-nosed kid with exceptional vision and balance. He was an exceptional skier growing up, and that lends itself to his vision and balance.”

High School Coach: Levi Wesche

Cole Oster, LB

6-1, 210, Fr, Castle Rock, CO (Castle View)

Player Notes: Two-time all-conference choice at Castle View High School… played safety and running back in high school, rushing for 238 yards and five touchdowns in a 36-35 early-season win over Wasatch Valley from Utah… registered 64 tackles with six sacks and an interception last fall… his father Charles played football at Augustana University… a National Honor Society member who earned Academic All-State honors.

From MSU Coach Jeff Choate: “Positional versatility is what comes to mind with Cole. He has the ability to be a down safety and outside linebacker, will be exceptional on special teams, he has a lot of value. He had a great senior year. He was identified during our camps and we’re excited about his future here.”

Holden Sampson, OL

6-3, 265, Fr, Helena, MT (Helena)

Player Notes: First Team All-Class AA offensive lineman… second team all-state as a junior… the cousin of Bobcat All-America Shaun Sampson.

From MSU Coach Jeff Choate: “Another Helena High kid, Holden was first team all-state as an offensive lineman. I think he was probably the best offensive lineman in AA and did a great job for the Bengals. I know he’s going to have a bright future here. He’s also a legacy, his cousin Shaun (Sampson) was an All-America here.”

High School Coach: Scott Evans

Rudder Romo, DL

6-2, 265, Fr, Anchorage, AK (IMG Academy)

Player Notes: Played high school football at IMG Academy in Florida.

From MSU Coach Jeff Choate: “Rudder is a young man who selected Montana State for its excellent academic program, and who will add depth to the interior of the defensive line. He’s originally from Alaska and graduated from IMG Academy in December. He plays with a great motor and has good football intelligence.”

Blake Schmidt, DL

6-3, 250, Fr, San Diego, CA (Monte Vista)

Player Notes: Helped lead Monte Vista to the Grossmont Valley title as a senior, and to the 2017 San Diego D3 CIF crown as a junior… a team captain who was Conference Defensive Player of the Year as a senior… All-CIF and first team all-league as a senior.

From MSU Coach Jeff Choate: “Blake is a steal, a great wrestler, very good athlete. His dad is originally from Big Timber and he came up in the summer and attended our camp. He’s a big, good-looking, physical, versatile football player who will have an immediate impact on our defensive line with the loss of three defensive line starters. We’re very excited about Blake.”

Jaden Smith, WR

6-6, 190, Fr, Kennedale, TX (Kennedale)

Player Notes: Played on a Kennedale team that won 2016, 2017 and 2018 District titles… the 2017 team played in the state championship game… earned First Team All-District honors in 2017 and 2018… a basketball standout who was 2017 District 6th Man of the Year and District Defensive Player of the Year in 2018.

From MSU Coach Jeff Choate: “Jaden Smith is a big, rangy wide receiver. Coach (DeNarius) McGhee went down and mined some gold. With he and Mekhi Metcalf in back-to-back classes, and add Tanner Trafton in there, we have some really long, good red zone targets. Jaden played in a triple option offense so he doesn’t have the numbers some receivers get, and I think that’s what makes him a hidden gem.”

Blake Thelen, QB

6-3, 185, Sr, Great Falls, MT (Great Falls)

Player Notes: One of the most productive players in Montana in 2018, throwing for 3,005 yards with 28 TD passes and eight rushing scores… his father Terry Thelen played for the Cats in the mid-1980s before finishing at Carroll College… Second Team All-State quarterback and First Team All-State punter as a senior… chosen for the Badlands Bowl.

From MSU Coach Jeff Choate: “Blake is a young man who has always wanted to be a Bobcat, and is one of the best quarterbacks in the state. he contributed greatly to Great Falls High School’s resurgence in football, and he’s a very smart, tough young man. His father played at Montana State, and we’re excited that Blake is following in those footsteps.”

High School Coach: Mark Samson

Tanner Trafton, WR

6-5, 190, Fr, Lewistown, MT (Fergus)

Player Notes: First Team All-Class A and All-Central A choice as a senior… logged 564 receiving yards with four touchdowns in 2018… Academic All-State as a senior, and selected for the Badlands Bowl… also a first team all-state selection in basketball, and set a school record for career rebounds during his junior season.

From MSU Coach Jeff Choate: “Tanner Trafton has signed an acceptance of admission to join our program. He’s a really smart kid from a great family, and he helped Fergus County take the next step in developing their program. He’s attended our camps and has wanted to to be a Bobcat for a long time. He’s a long, rangy wide receiver and we’re excited about his future here.”

High School Coach: Vic Feller

Jack Vering, OL

6-6, 240, Fr, Boise, ID (Capital)

Player Notes: A two-time all-conference selection.

From MSU Coach Jeff Choate: “It seems to be a theme, we get good offensive line prospects from the Treasure Valley. He played at Capital High School in Boise. He’s a developmental offensive lineman, 6-6 and 240 and I think he’ll continue to grow so we’re very excited to watch Jack develop in our program.”

Marcus Wehr, DL

6-3, 220, Fr, Billings, MT (Central)

Player Notes: First team Class AA All-State choice as a senior., when he helped lead Billings Central to the Class A state title.. also earned all-state honors as a junior… Second Team All-USA Montana in 2017… chosen for the Badlands Bowl in the summer of 2019.. all-conference in the shot put as a junior.

From MSU Coach Jeff Choate: “Marcus was a great two-way player for the state champion Billings Central Rams. He was a two-way player for them, a dominant defensive lineman who took over the state championship game on defense against Hamilton. I’m really, really excited about his future here.”

High School Coach: Jim Stanton


Blake Flovin, LB

6-2 1/2, 240, Jr, Sunnyvale, CA (Foothill JC/Holy Cross/Archbishop Mitty)

Player Notes: Logged 56 tackles as a sophomore at Foothill in 2018, with a sack and two interceptions… recovered one fumble… redshirted at Holy Cross in 2016 before transferring to Foothill… earned All-Western Catholic Athletic League honors as a senior, second team as a junior, at Archbishop Mitty in San Jose, California… 107 tackles, two interceptions and seven touchdowns during his varsity career… National Honor Society member… team captain in football and wrestling.

From MSU Coach Jeff Choate: “Blake fills an immediate need for us at inside linebacker. He has really good balance, long arms, good vertical speed, and is excellent at the point of contact. He gives us an older guy in the (linebacker) room that will compete for playing time immediately.”

Amandre Williams, OLB

6-2 1/2, 248, Jr, Maple Valley, WA (Washington/Tahoma)

Player Notes: Transfers to Montana State from Washington, where he played from 2016-18… redshirted in 2016… logged six tackles and 1.5 sacks as a redshirt freshman in 2017… played in seven games in 2018, with seven tackles and a pass breakup… earned All-South Puget Sound League First Team honors at quarterback and defensive line as a senior at Tahoma High… threw for 3,235 yards and 29 touchdowns as a senior… also honorable mention all-league punter.

From MSU Coach Jeff Choate: “Amandre’s a young man I got to know through the recruiting process when I was at the University of Washington. He was one of the top defensive linemen and also quarterbacks in the state of Washington his senior year. He was a prolific passer, a great athlete, an all-around exceptional football player. He comes from a great family. His dad (Tyrone Williams) played in the CFL and at the University of Wyoming, so he’s got good bloodlines. He’s excited about the opportunity to reboot his career here.”