BOZEMAN – The Montana State Bobcats signed 17 new recruits to open up the nationwide early signing period on Thursday morning. And there is something that really stands out in this group of commits.
Of the 17 that signed, eight are on the offensive and defensive line. And that was something MSU head coach Jeff Choate stressed for this class. He believes in order for the Bobcats to take the next step from an FCS playoff team to a championship contender, they has to start building from up front.
“I think what (this recruiting class) is about is us continuing to build and develop and put a premium on the line of scrimmage. And if we do that over time, we will have developed the depth, the mass, the size that we need to go compete at that elite level with those top 10 teams in the FCS. And I think we’ve closed that gap, but we’ve got work to do,” said Choate.
And they added some good size up front, like defensive lineman Ethan Bullock of Big Timber (6-foot-6, 220 pounds) and Billings Centrals Marcus Wehr (6-3, 220 pounds). On the offensive side, they brought in Helena High lineman Holden Sampson (6-3, 265 pounds) and an out of state commit in from Boise, Idaho in Jack Vering (6-6, 245).
Right after the North Dakota State playoff game, Choate hit the recruiting trail knowing that lineman were at the top of his list. He admitted that it was demoralizing to see the Bison rip off run after run to the tune of 407 total rushing yards in their Power set.
Now he’s recruiting big, long bodies to help stop that.
“On the defensive side, teams are trying to spread you out more and more horizontally, and there’s only one of two ways to make up that space — you either have to be faster or you have to be longer. What we are trying to do is that if we aren’t playing with a bunch of speed sometimes, at least we can cover that space with the length,” said Choate.
Choate added that there are still a few spots left in his recruiting that he wants filled with more lineman. But his next signing class he’s targeting something else.
“As we turn to the next signing period in February, you’ll see more of an emphasis on the skill positions,” said Choate. “Not so much the wide receiver position, but particularly the defensive backfield.”