FRENCHTOWN — From 4-H, to high school football captains, Duncan Richardson and Tel Arthur have been through it all together.
Now, add future college football teammates to that list.
The close friends and Frenchtown seniors are both headed to Montana Tech to further their football careers. Richardson announced his commitment over Twitter back on Nov. 8 and Arthur announced his decision on Tuesday.
I am extremely excited to announce that I am going to continue my football and academic career at Montana Tech! #CanYouDiggIt21⚒ #Family #CountOnMe @MonTechFootball @CoachKyleSamson @CoachBrautigam @coachdthatcher pic.twitter.com/Kox27bJrzZ
— tel arthur (@TelArthur) December 9, 2020
"The coaches, just from talking to them, it's a sense of family that really got me to go there," Richardson said. "They brought an energy when I talked to them that I'm really looking forward to. They really care about you as a player and person as well and I feel like that's a special thing they have going there."
Richardson chose a scholarship offer from Tech over offers from Carroll College, Montana Western and the University of Mary, an NCAA Division II school located in Bismarck, North Dakota. Arthur weighed offers from Tech, Rocky Mountain College and Carroll as well as a preferred walk-on spot at Montana.
For seniors like Richardson and Arthur, the college recruiting process looked different in 2020 with COVID-19 restrictions. While having limited interactions with coaches, teams now have to weigh their ability to add players with current NAIA players receiving exempt seasons.
Excited and blessed to announce I have committed to Montana Tech!!#CanYouDiggIt21⚒ #Family #CountOnMe @MonTechFootball @CoachKyleSamson @CoachAndersonMT @CoachMagana @CoachBrautigam pic.twitter.com/ePoLwO1quI
— Duncan Richardson (@DuncR57) November 9, 2020
Still, both players felt Tech was the best fit for them. The Orediggers initially extended an offer to Arthur in the spring while Richardson received his offer at the start of the high school season.
Despite the hurdles and long processes, both are now one more step to making their college football dream a reality.
"It was a big relief (to make a commitment)," Arthur said. "I was really weighing the Griz and Tech as my top two, but it was a very long and stressful ordeal. I just had to think of the positives and negatives of both schools and ultimately chose Tech. It was really special to commit."
With Arthur and Richardson leading the way as team captains, Frenchtown finished 7-3 on the year and advanced to the first round of the Class A playoffs. The Broncs didn't have a lot of returning starters, so Frenchtown snuck up on the Western A even with some new faces throw into the mix.
"We just kind of had some kids coming off of (junior varsity) without any varsity time that were starting," Richardson said. "So I'm very proud of what we did. I love my team. I'm very thankful that we were able to have a season. Coming into the season we weren't sure if we were going to have like two games and maybe get shut down. The fact that we were able to have a full season is just awesome."
Richardson, who stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 240 pounds, was a two-way starting lineman for the Broncs in 2020 at center and defensive tackle. Defensively, Richardson racked up 106 total tackles, 45 solo, and 15 for loss. He added 5.5 sacks, one interception and two forced fumbles to his total as well.
Arthur, who is listed at 6-1 and 220 pounds, was also a workhorse on both sides of the ball, starting at linebacker and running back. Offensively, Arthur carried the ball 102 times for 594 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also caught 13 passes for 99 yards and two more scores. Defensively, Arthur tallied 107 tackles, 36 solo, and 10 for loss.
For their efforts, both players earned all-state honors in Class A.
So after a successful 2020 campaign and growing up as close friends on the field and off from a young age, the duo couldn't be happier to continue to call each other teammate for the foreseeable future.
"I'm just excited for what the future holds," Richardson said. "It's every kid's dream to go play at the next level with one of their best friends, you know? I'm just absolutely stoked about it and I'm so happy that he made the decision to commit to Tech too."
"It's super exciting," Arthur added. "Especially when we finally hit the field together as starters for the first time, that will be a special moment since we've been playing together forever."
Richardson will play defensive line at Tech while Arthur will suit up at linebacker.
While Richardson made his commitment right after football season ended, Arthur took his time. Knowing his friend was weighing Tech and UM as his top two options, Richardson said he didn't want to put any pressure on Arthur so he would make the decision that was best for him.
"Tech always kept contact with me and they really wanted me so I guess the ultimate decision to go there was the coaching staff, the family that surrounds that place and Duncan played some role in it," Arthur said. "Being able to play with a teammate I've been playing with forever would be really cool to do in college."
"It's a blessing," Richardson added. "We've been playing since fourth grade I think in Missoula Youth Football and it's just crazy. Back then you'd never think of that, but you'd always hope for it but never really thought it was a possibility and at this point it's awesome."