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Montana Western lands 24 signees in 2024 football class

Montana Western football
Posted at 11:44 AM, Feb 07, 2024

(Editor's note: Montana Western news release)

DILLON — The University of Montana Western football program landed 24 signees in its 2024 signing class, the program announced Wednesday afternoon.

"Overall, this year's group has some quality speed and a ton of athleticism," head coach Ryan Nourse said. "The staff worked diligently to find really good student-athletes with high competitive character from all over the region."

"We reloaded the battery on both offense and defense and feel very confident that in a couple of years these guys will be making a positive impact on and off the field for Bulldog Football," Nourse continued.

2024 Spring Additions
Name, Pos. (Ht, Wt, Cl, Hometown, School, HS)
Jace Fitzgerald, LB (6-1, 230, JR, Dillon, Mont., Beaverhead County HS, Montana State University)
Tyrus Mcphie, OL (6-1, 285, FR, Sky View, Utah, )
Kaden Wilcox, DB (5-9, 170, FR, Natrona, Wyo., Natrona HS)

High School
Name, Pos. (Ht, Wt, Hometown, School, HS)

Jose Alvarez, OL
6-3, 275, Washougal, Wash., Washougal HS
Alvarez is an offensive lineman who joins the Bulldogs from Washougal High School in Washougal, Wash. Alvarez was a four-year varsity athlete for the Panthers where they won a pair of league championships. He earned all-league honors and lineman of the year honors three times and was a team captain for two seasons. Alvarez also competed in wrestling for the Panthers. He is the son of Mary and Jose Alvarez and plans to major in biology while at Montana Western.

Austin Cottrell, RB
5-11, 210, Rexburg, Idaho, Madison HS
Cottrell is a runningback who joins the Bulldogs from Madison High School in Rexburg, Idaho. He was a two-year varsity athlete for the Bobcats where he recorded 437 yards on 68 carries throughout his career. Cottrell is the son of Jeff and Tahni Cottrell and plans to major in kinesiology while at Montana Western.

Jace DeShazer, LB
5-10, 215, Libby, Mont., Libby HS
DeShazer is a linebacker who joins the Bulldogs from Libby High School in Libby, Mont. After competing for the Loggers for four seasons, DeShazer was named All-State in 2023 and was named all-conference on both offense and defense twice. He also competed in wrestling while in high school where he won the state championship in both the 182 and 205 weight classes in high school. He is the son of Doug and Ashley DeShazer and plans to major in kinesiology while at Montana Western.
Link to Highlights

Wesley Donaghey, RB
6-1, 185, Bozeman, Mont., Gallatin HS
Donaghey is a runningback who joins the Bulldogs from Gallatin High School in Bozeman, Mont. He was a three-year varsity athlete who earned second team all-conference and honorable mention all-state honors in 2023. During his high school career, Donaghey totaled 975 rushing yards on 159 carries, averaged 6.1 yards per carry and had 10 touchdowns. He also competed in track and field at Gallatin High School. He is the son of Robert and Kristie Donaghey and plans to major in business while at Montana Western.

Connor Dunlea, WR
5-11, 180, Malin, Ore., Lost River HS
Dunlea is a wide receiver who joins the Bulldogs from Lost River High School in Malin, Ore. He was a three-year varsity athlete for the Raiders where he collected numerous accolades throughout his career. He was named first team All-State defensive back twice and earned All-State last year as a runningback, kick returner, and punter. In addition, he earned numerous all-league honors as a runningback and defensive back in all three seasons. He earned 1A offensive and defensive player of the year last year as his team won the state championship twice. Dunlea totaled 994 return yards, had 10 interceptions and totaled more than 1,000 rushing yards while at Lost River and is a national honor society member. He also competed in baseball and basketball where he earned first team all-league honors twice in baseball. Dunlea is the son of Dennis and Jana Dunlea.
Link to Highlights

Eli Finlayson, RB
5-11, 190, Elko, Nev., Elko HS
Finlayson is a running back from Elko High School in Elko, Nevada. As a three-year varsity athlete for the Indians, Finlayson was a three-time All-State athlete who also earned all-league and all-region honors. Across three seasons, he recorded 3,367 rushing yards and a total of 50 touchdowns. In addition, Finlayson also competed in track and wrestling where he was a state champion wrestler. He is the son of Matt and Piper Finalyson and plans to major in kinesiology while at Montana Western.
Link to Highlights

Jaxson Green, TE
6-3, 235, Superior, Mont., Superior HS
Green is a tight end who joins the Bulldogs from Superior High School in Superior, Mont. He was a three-year varsity athlete for the Bobcats where he was named All-State, first team all-conference, and grabbed second team all-conference honors. Green also competed in wrestling and track and field while earning his spot on the honor roll. He is the son of Brandon Green and Toni Labbe and plans to major in business while at Montana Western.

Jamal Guy Jr., DB/WR
5-11, 180, Seattle, Wash., Chief Sealth HS
Guy Jr. is a defensive back and wide receiver who joins the Bulldogs from Chief Sealth High School in Seattle, Wash. He was a four-year varsity athlete for the Seahawks where he was named second-team all-league defensive back three times and a first team all-league wide receiver. During his senior season, he totaled 540 receiving yards, 25 receptions, nine touchdowns, 32 solo tackles, 10 pass breakups, and a 40-yard interception return. Guy Jr. is the son of Jamal Guy Jr and Jaletra Mcknight and plans to major in business while at Montana Western.

Bryce Hager, QB
6-1, 200, Torrington, Wyo., Torrington HS
Hager is a quarterback who joins the Bulldogs from Torrington High School in Torrington, Wyo. He was a four-year varsity athlete for the Trailblazers who earned all-conference honors in 2021, 2022, and 2023. He earned All-State recognition after last season and was named 2A offensive player of the year after he led his team to a state championship. Hager also competed in wrestling and baseball in high school where he earned all-conference honors in baseball last season. Hager is the son of Dylan and Erin Hager and plans to study business at Montana Western.
Link to Highlights

Josh Jenkins, LB
6-0, 200, Bozeman, Mont., Gallatin HS
Jenkins is a linebacker who joins the Bulldogs from Gallatin High School in Bozeman, Mont. He was a three-year varsity athlete who earned honorable mention All-State honors and second team all-conference recognition after last season. In his senior season, Jenkins totaled 66 tackles with 42 being solo tackles. Jenkins also competed in lacrosse for the Raptors. He is the son of Mike and Kathi Jenkins and plans to study business while at Montana Western.
Link to Highlights

Koby Johnson, K/P
6-2, 185, Washougal, Wash., Washougal HS
Johnson is a kicker and punter who joins the Bulldogs from Washougal High School in Washougal, Wash. He was a three-year varsity athlete for the Panthers who was a two-time league champion. He earned all-league as a kicker/punter twice and earned all-region honors his senior year. In addition to football, Johnson also competed in soccer and basketball where he was named team captain in soccer for three seasons. Johnson is the son of Derek Johnson and Holly Johnson and plans to major in business while at Montana Western.
Link to Highlights

Bryant Kelly, OL
6-2, 315, Pocatello, Idaho, Highland HS
Kelly is an offensive lineman who joins the Bulldogs from Highland High School in Pocatello, Idaho. He was a three-year varsity athlete for the Rams who won a pair of conference championships in 2022 and 2023 and was also the 5A Idaho State Football Champions. He earned second team all-conference honors after last season and also competed in track and field while at Highland. Kelly is the son of Tyler Kelly and Lindsay Fehringer and plans to major in environmental science while at Montana Western.
Link to Highlights

Aiden Lammers, RB
6-0, 200, Shepherd, Mont., Shepherd HS
Lammers is a runningback who joins the Bulldogs from Shepherd High School in Shepherd, Mont. Lammers had a successful senior season last year after he led the state of Montana in rushing with 210.3 rushing yards per game and a total of 26 touchdowns. He was named All-State and all-conference as a runningback and earned all-conference honors as a linebacker. He also became the all-time rushing leader at Shepherd High School after last season. Lammers is the son of Scott and Jessica Lammers and plans to major in business while at Montana Western.

Fareed Lawal, WR
5-11, 160, Spokane, Wash., Ferris HS
Lawal is a wide receiver who joins the Bulldogs as a graduate of Ferris High School in Spokane, Wash. He was a three year athlete for the Saxons where he earned offensive player of the year honors and was a team most valuable player. He also earned second team all-league honors. Lawal also competed in basketball, soccer and track in high school. He is the son of Idris Lawal and Olabisi Olubajo and plans to major in business while at Montana Western.

Trevor Lewis, DL
6-1, 210, Hamilton, Mont., Hamilton HS
Lewis is a defensive lineman who joins the Bulldogs from Hamilton High School in Hamilton, Mont. He was named honorable mention all-conference in 2022 and 2023 and was a conference champion twice. Lewis also was a member of Hamilton's state championship team in 2021. In addition, Lewis competed in track and field and wrestling at Hamilton and was named to the honor roll in 2023. Lewis is the son of RC Lewis and Sarah Crider and plans to major in secondary education and k-12 education at Montana Western.
Link to Highlights

Arie McLaughlin, DL
5-10, 255, Florence, Mont., Florence-Carlton HS
McLaughlin is a defensive lineman who joins the Bulldogs from Florence-Carlton High School in Florence, Mont. McLaughlin spent four seasons on varsity for the Falcons where he was a member of Florence-Carlton's three consecutive Montana Class B State Championships. McLaughlin recorded 121 tackles with 73 last season alone. McLaughlin earned All-State honors last year and earned all-conference honors twice for the Falcons. In addition, he earned Academic All-State honors four times and was named to the honor roll twice. McLaughlin also competes in wrestling, rugby and track where he took fifth place in the 2022-23 wrestling state tournament. McLaughlin is the son of Chris and Brittany McLaughlin and plans to major in secondary education and k-12 education while at Montana Western.
Link to Highlights

Kyle Mounts, DB
6-0, 175, Bozeman, Mont., Gallatin HS
Mounts is a defensive back who joins the Bulldogs from Gallatin High School in Bozeman, Mont. Mounts was named all-conference and All-State twice for the Raptors in his three varsity seasons. In two seasons, Mounts recorded 146 tackles and five interceptions as the Raptors made it to the state semifinals twice. He also competed in track and field in high school. Kyle is the brother of Bulldog football alumni Trey Mounts and current defensive back Brady Mounts. He is the son of Karena Askeland and Carey Mounts and plans to major in kinesiology while at Montana Western.

Elijah Naho'opi'i-Makakona, S
5-11, 160, Waipahu, Hawaii, Waipahu HS
Naho'opi'i-Makakon is a safety who joins the Bulldogs from Waipahu High School in Waipahu, Hawaii. He was a three-year varsity athlete for the Marauders where he was a three-time OIA champion and a Hawaii state champion. He was named first team all-conference, second team All-State and earned numerous honorable mention recognitions. Naho'opi'i-Makakon is the son of Moani and Scott McMillan.

Tristan Olson, WR
6-3, 185, Spokane, Wash., Mount Spokane HS
Olson is a wide receiver who joins the Bulldogs from Mount Spokane High School in Spokane, Wash. During his senior year, Olson recorded 28 receptions for a total of 680 yards and five touchdowns. He was named second team all league as a receiver despite his season being cut short due to injury. Olson is the son of Brooke Ballard and Marvin "Spike" Olson and plans to major in business while at Montana Western.
Link to Highlights

Jacob Punivai, OL
6-0, 295, Kaneohe, Hawaii, Kahuku HS
Punivai is an offensive lineman who joins the Bulldogs from Kahuku High School in Kahuku, Hawaii. Punivai was a member of three state championships with the Red Raiders who were a top 25 high school team in the nation. Last year, the Red Raiders defeated the defending national champions of St. John Bosco. Punivai was named scholar athlete of the year and second team OIA open division. He is the son of Darellyn and Tevita Punivai.

Colter Ramos, WR
6-1, 180, Missoula, Mont., Big Sky HS
Ramos is a wide receiver who joins theBulldogs from Big Sky High School in Missoula, Mont. He was a two-year varsity athlete for the Eagles who recorded a total of 123 receptions and racked up 1650 yards and eight touchdowns in his career. He was named first team all-conference twice, earned second team All-State and first team All-State honors. In addition, Ramos competed in basketball and track and has been named to the honor roll all four years at Big Sky. Ramos is the son of Jess and Heather Ramos and plans to major in business while at Montana Western.
Link to Highlights

Jasper Robinson, TE
6-4, 220, Twin Falls, Idaho, Canyon Ridge HS
Robinson is a tight end who joins the Bulldogs from Canyon Ridge High School in Twin Falls, Idaho. Robinson was a three-year varsity athlete for the Riverhawks who was a two-year captain, first team all-conference tight end, and a two-time state playoff participant. Robinson also competed in basketball and golf. Jasper is the son of JR and Kelsie Robinson and plans to major in business while at Montana Western.

Wyatt Scott, DL
6-0, 260, Spring Creek, Nev., Spring Creek HS
Scott is a defensive lineman who joins the Bulldogs from Spring Creek High School in Spring Creek, Nevada. During his three years on varsity for the Spartans, Scott totaled 93 tackles, a pair of sacks, and a fumble recovery. He was named northern 3A second team all-east defensive line three times, second team all-north offensive line, second team All-State defensive line, and first team all-north defensive line. Scott's team also qualified for the state semi-final game in 2022. In addition to football, Scott also competed in track and field while at Spring Creek. Scott is the son of Jess and Tanya Scott and plans to study kinesiology while at Montana Western.
Link To Highlights

Matteus Senna, WR
5-10, 165, Kenmore, Wash., Inglemoor HS
Senna is a wide receiver who joins the Bulldogs from Inglemoor High School in Kenmore, Wash. He was a three-year varsity athlete for the Vikings who totaled 985 all purpose yards, 12 touchdowns, 42 catches for 581 yards, and 55 tackles during his senior season. He earned his team's offensive player of the year honor after last season. Senna is the son of Arienne Cintra and plans to major in business administration while at Montana Western.
Link to Highlights

Hunter Stewart, WR
6-2, 180, Hamilton, Mont., Hamilton HS
Stewart is a wide receiver who joins the Bulldogs from Hamilton High School in Hamilton, Mont. After two seasons in Stevensville, Stewart transferred to Hamilton where he recorded 54 receptions in two varsity seasons, totaled 839 receiving yards and totaled 121 tackles. He earned All-State honors after last season and earned all-conference in two positions while his team went 17-4 across two seasons. In addition to his honors on the field, Stewart also earned academic All-State recognition twice while also competing in basketball. Stewart is the son of Bruce and Tiffanie Murray and plans to study business while at Montana Western.

Elijah Thorness, TE
6-2, 200, Bigfork, Mont., Bigfork HS
Thorness is a tight end who joins the Bulldogs from Bigfork High School in Bigfork, Mont. An All-State tight end, Thorness comes off of a big senior season where he recorded 761 receiving yards, scored 12 touchdowns, and broke two records at Bigfork High School after last season (all-time receiving yards and single-season receiving yards). Thorness also competed in basketball and track while in high school where he was named all conference in basketball. Thorness is the son of Eric and Charis Thorness and plans to major in business while at Montana Western.
Link to Highlights

Zach Welch, S
5-10, 180, Lynden, Wash., Lynden HS
Welch is a safety who joins the Bulldogs from Lynden High School in Lynden, Wash. A two-year varsity athlete who earned all-league honors as his team was ranked first in division 2A last year. Welch also competed in track and field in high school. He is the son of Dane Welch and Sarah Rydman and plans to major in business while at Montana Western.
Link To Highlights