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Montana Grizzlies get active in transfer portal, add flurry of commits

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Posted at 6:06 PM, Jan 16, 2024

MISSOULA — The season ended just over a week ago for the Montana Grizzlies in the FCS national championship game, and already UM has its sights set on the fall of 2024 and reloading to make another run.

Montana has seen a flurry of commitments over the past several days from a number of players in the NCAA transfer portal, both from the FBS and FCS levels. So far, nine known players have announced their transfer to the Grizzlies.

Here's a look at the known transfers either entering or leaving the UM program as of Tuesday evening:

Logan Fife, QB, Fresno State

Fife, a native of Tracy, Calif., listed at 6-feet, 205 pounds, announced his commitment to Montana via social media on Tuesday morning after spending four seasons at Fresno State. For the Bulldogs, he played in 21 games and completed 143 of 224 passes for 1,585 yards while throwing six touchdowns and nine interceptions. He also ran for 88 yards and four more scores.

In 2023, Fife played in 12 games for the Bulldogs, and completed 52 of 91 passes for three touchdowns and two interceptions and 642 yards. He has two years of eligibility remaining.

Everett Johnson, OL, Cal

Johnson was Montana's first addition through the transfer portal, as he announced his commitment to the Grizzlies the day after UM topped North Dakota State to advance to the FCS national championship game.

Johnson, a native of Turlock, Calif., who is listed at 6-7, 300 pounds, spent four seasons at Cal and played in 15 games and drew two starts. He has two years of eligibility remaining.

Andres Lehrmann, DE, Youngstown State

Lehrmann announced his commitment to the Grizzlies on Sunday.

Lehrmann is a grad transfer who spent five seasons at Youngstown State. A native of Doral, Florida, and listed at 6-2, 255 pounds, Lehrmann played in 39 career games at Youngstown State and racked up 59 total tackles, 10 for loss, 5.5 sacks and one forced fumble.

This past season, he played in 13 games and totaled 22 tackles, 4.5 for loss, with three sacks and one forced fumble. He has one year of eligibility remaining.

Stevie Rocker Jr., RB, Arizona

Rocker announced his commitment to Montana on Monday via social media after three seasons with the Wildcats.

The Tucson, Arizona native who is listed at 6-feet, 215 pounds, played in 11 games as a true freshman in 2021. He carried the ball 31 times for 153 yards. He also caught seven passes for 59 yards. He played in just one game in 2022 and was not listed as having played in 2023 at Arizona.

Rocker has two years of eligibility remaining.

Vai Kaho, LB, San Diego State

Kaho committed to the Griz on Monday after spending four seasons with the Aztecs.

A grad transfer and native of Reno, Nevada, who is listed at 6-1, 230 pounds, Kaho played in 41 games for the Aztecs and totaled 37 tackles, three for loss, and half a sack.

In 2023, he played in 11 games and had 23 tackles, including one for loss, and half a sack. He has one year of eligibility remaining.

Johan Silver, K, Kent State

Montana once again added a kicker through the transfer portal as Silver announced his commitment on Jan. 2.

The native of Fremont, Ohio, played for Kent State in 2022 and 2023 and has three years of eligibility remaining. In 2022, he converted four PATs for the Golden Flashes.

Patrick Hayden, DT, Monmouth

The Grizzlies found some luck not just at the FBS level, but at the FCS level as well as they added Hayden on Tuesday.

A native of Deptford, New Jersey, who is listed at 6-2, 280 pounds, spent five seasons with the Hawks and joins Montana as a grad transfer with one year of eligibility. Hayden has played in 29 games and recorded 60 total tackles, including nine for loss, and five sacks.

In 2023, he played in nine games and finished with 17 total tackles, two for loss, and one sack.

Kade Cutler, S, Montana State

Montana got a rare in-state transfer in Cutler, who committed to the Grizzlies back on Dec. 27 after spending two seasons with the rival Montana State Bobcats.

A safety at MSU, the Philipsburg native, who is listed at 6-feet, 206 pounds, played in three games in 2023 and registered one tackle against Eastern Washington on Nov. 11. He has three years of eligibility remaining.

Cutler was a standout prep athlete for the Drummond-Philipsburg co-op football program and at Philipsburg High School. With the Flint Creek co-op, Cutler led the Titans to 8-Man state championships at QB and DB in 2018 and 2020 and was a reserve when they won it all in 2017.

Kenzel Lawler, CB, Utah

Montana picked up a commitment from Utah cornerback Kenzel Lawler later Tuesday evening, which Lawler then announced Wednesday morning.

The native of Corona, California who is listed at 6-feet, 184 pounds, spent four seasons with the Utes, and appeared in 14 games between 2022 and 2023, mainly on special teams.

Lawler is a grad transfer with two seasons of eligibility remaining.

As well as players joining the Grizzlies, a few have entered their names in the transfer portal and are leaving Montana. So far, five known players have done so, which include:

  • QB Clifton McDowell (story here) was UM's starting quarterback in 2023 who led them to the FCS national championship game.
  • RB Iverson Young, a native of Waxahachie, Texas, a true freshman who entered the portal before the season concluded and has since committed to Missouri State. Young appeared in just two games at UM and rushed for 12 yards on seven carries.
  • WR Nick Williams, a native of Oceanside, Calif., who played for UM for three seasons and appeared in six games catching three passes for 38 yards.
  • CB Robert Whitehead, a native of El Cajon, Calif., who spent two seasons at UM and appeared in one game against Northwestern State in 2022.
  • OL Ethan Barney, a native of Sumner, Wash., who spent two seasons at UM and did not appear in a game.