HAVRE — There’s no sugarcoating the results, 2022 was a challenging season on the field for the MSU-Northern football team, who finished 0-10 under first year head coach Jerome Souers.
“It was tough on the players, tough on the coaches, tough on the fans,” Souers said. “I mean, it was tough on everybody. But we knew we had to get through it and we got through it and we learned a few things.”
But behind the scenes it was a different story.
“I’m proud of the guys. They never, never gave up. And those guys are all in and they're all training hard and they're in the weight room in the offseason,” he said. “I think we doubled our guys on the Dean's list this year, so we're doing better in a lot of ways and I'm pleased with the direction that we're going.”
Souers and the Lights unveiled their 2023 signing class on Friday. With 25 names added to the roster, including several athletes from the Hi-Line.
MSU-Northern hired the veteran mentor Souers in January of 2022, so he and his staff have had the benefit of a full year to recruit and change the culture.
“There’s been a retention issue in the football program here. We wanted to take a little different approach as to where we went for our talent both academically and athletically,” Souers said. “We want guys to fit in this type of environment. We found that there's wisdom in the thought that we stay closer to our latitude when we're expanding outside of the Hi-Line. And I think we signed our fair share of Hi-Line guys. We're committed to doing that. That's our future.”
But one signing class is not going to change a program. Souers has coached for nearly 40 years, including a 20 year run at Northern Arizona where he became amassed the most coaching wins in Big Sky Conference history.
He believes changing the culture and fortunes of a struggling program requires a patient and deliberate approach. That will serve the program well in the long run.
“There's a lot of hype in recruiting sometimes. We feel good about our class, it's a solid class,” he said. “We need to continue to do better and continue to upgrade as we go. But I think we're on the right direction with the way we're recharging the lifeblood of this program.”
The full list of MSU-Northern recruits is below:
|1||Maiuri||Dante||QB||6-1 220||Hellgate HS MT/CSC Tr||Walla Walla, Wash.|
|2||Ready||Tyree||OC||6-0 260||Rochester CC||Detroit, Mich.|
|3||Grover||Ashton||LB||5-10 210||Lewistown HS||Lewistown, Mont.|
|4||Knapton||Allec||TE/P||6-2 200||Columbia Falls HS||Columbia Falls, Mont.|
|5||Kopp||Oakley||QB||6-1 185||West Jordan HS||West Jordan, Utah|
|6||Lundstrom||Fred||OL||6-3 290||D Nakota State C.S.||Wahpeton, N.D.|
|7||Lehnerz||Ben||SL||5-8 165||Power HS||Power, Mont.|
|8||Woldstad||Colter||WR||6-2 195||Harlowton HS||Harlowton, Mont.|
|9||Wilson||Austin||LB/DB||6-0 200||Wolf Point HS||Wolf Point, Mont.|
Fall 2023 signees
|10||Revert||Mateo||OL||6-4 280||Clearwater Acad. HS/FL||Burlington, ON. Canada|
|11||James||Logan||QB||5-10 175||Wickenburg HS||Wickenburg, Ariz.|
|12||Aanstad||Tucker||OL||6-5 250||Scobey HS||Scobey, Mont.|
|13||Haynes||Phillip||OL||6-1 250||Scobey HS||Scobey, Mont.|
|14||Rodriguez||Ethan||DL||6-2 250||Big Fork HS||Big Fork, Mont.|
|15||Cline||Braydon||ATH||6-2 215||Big Sandy HS||Big Sandy, Mont.|
|16||Platt||Ashton||QB||6-0 185||Great Falls HS||Great Falls, Mont.|
|17||Enea||Gio||LB||5-11 205||Pittsburg, HS||Pittsburg, Calif.|
|18||Badehurst||Damon||TE||6-0 215||West LA CC||Vancouver, Canada|
|19||Chiles||Mason||DB||5-10 185||Mountain Pt. HS||Meridian, Idaho|
|20||Wilson||Cooper||DB||6-3 190||Bonney Lake HS||Bonney Lake, Wash.|
|21||Wright||De'Amoni||DE||6-1 235||Garfield HS||Seattle, Wash.|
|22||Watkins||Mike||LB||6-0 220||Garfield HS||Seattle, Wash.|
|23||Perkins||Payton||TE||6-2 245||Culbertson HS||Culbertson, Mont.|
|24||Avance||Colin||DT||6-0 245||Culbertson HS||Culbertson, Mont.|
|25||Terry||Crawford||LB||5-11 215||Havre HS||Havre, Mont.|