Editor’s Note: Carroll College Sports Information Press Release
HELENA — Carroll College head football coach Mike Van Diest announced the recruiting class for the 2018 season. The group consists of athletes from around the country including Washinton, Oregon, Utah, Texas, Missouri, Colorado, California, Idaho, Nevada and a total of eight from Montana.
Below is the complete 2018 recruiting class. More players may be signed as the summer progresses.
The Saints begin the season against Rocky Mountain College in Billings on Aug. 23 at 5 p.m
2018 football signees
Caleb Adams – RB – McKenney, Texas – Prosper HS – 5-10 • 185
A physical running back that earned league MVP honors in 4A Texas. He was a powerful offensive threat and will look to contribute immediately.
Van DIest on Adams – “Caleb is a great football player, we’re really excited about him. He can be a guy that can come in and he’ll look maybe for playing time as a freshman. He can play in a wide-open offense, can catch the ball in the backfield and run with it. He’s pretty stout with good speed. He was All-District, All-State in Texas which is pretty impressive. He was the MVP of their district and he’s also a basketball player.”
Micah Ans – DB – Billings, Mont. – Billings Senior HS – 5-11 • 165
Ans brings speed to the DB position. He played Safety at Billings Senior here he earned All-State honors but projects as a corner at Carroll. He will also run sprints for the Carroll track and field team.
Van Diest on Ans – “Micah led the state in interceptions, and also one of the top track athletes in the state. He will be coming here to also run the 400 for coach Clark. He is an outstanding football player and a very good student with a 3.7 GPA. He wants to be a biology major. He played safety at Billings Senior but because of his speed we’re going to try him out at the corner spot.”
Bridger Arvantes – OL – Denver, Colo. – Ponderosa High School – 6-3 • 250
Arvantes was one of the first commits of the 2018 class. He brings depth at the offensive line. He can play center or guard and also has experience long-snapping.
Van Diest on Arvantes – “Bridger comes in as a center, but could also probably play guard and has played defense as well. He’s also been a long snapper for punt and PATs which is exciting. He was up here for junior day last year and impressed the heck out of our coaches and we offered him on the spot. He committed a couple weeks later, before his senior season. His dad used to work at the VA hospital here in Helena so he is familiar with the area.”
Colton Ball – LB – Clarkston, Wash. – Asotin HS – 6-3 • 215
One of the most versatile athletes in the recruiting class, Ball was a two-time first-team player and was a big-time offensive threat. He looks to play the bandit position for the Saints where his size and speed can be utilized.
Van Diest on Ball – “He was first-team all-league running back and outside linebacker, can play inside linebacker and defensive end. We’ll try him at our bandit position. He could play tight end for us, he could play outside or inside backer. We’ll just see how big he’s going to get here in the next couple of years.”
Hunter Bledsoe – QB – Mission Viejo, Calif. – Jserra Catholic HS – 6-0 • 180
The lone quarterback signed in this class, Bledsoe has the skill, size and strength, but he missed his entire senior year because of an injury.
Van Diest on Bledsoe – “Hunter is going to be the question mark of the freshman class. We signed Hunter late, he’s out of a great HS in Southern California, the same school that Tucker Johnson attended. Hunter did not play this last year due to a shoulder injury. He’s kind of an unknown. He comes from a very good program and has great credentials in terms of what he’s done in his high school years. Hunter is the one freshman QB we recruited this year so we’re excited about him. It’ll be a great opportunity to redshirt him.”
Cameron Brown – RB – Bountiful, Utah – Viewmont HS – 6-1 • 195
Brown has the size, speed and strength to compete for playing time right away. He was stellar in Utah, where he was a consensus All-State honoree. He put together over 1,500 yards of total offense and 15 touchdowns his senior year to lead Utah 5A in rushing.
Van Diest on Brown – “We are very excited about Cameron. With his size, speed and toughness, he is the kind of back we like to have. He might be a guy that could play as a true freshman. He is an outstanding player in his conference and rushed for over 1,300 yards. He also took third in state wrestling at is weight. He is the type of guy that will attract a lot of guys to him with his personality and leadership.”
Henry Cadonau – OL – Portland, Ore. – Edison HS – 6-3 • 260
Cadonau is a long snapper specialist from the Portland area, but the coaching staff will look to see where he fits on the offensive line with his size and athleticism.
Van Diest on Cadonau – “Henry comes from a great program in Edison HS. He is a terrific football player, he’s a great deep snapper with great size. He played offensive guard and a little bit of center, but he’s a guy that can run. He’s very athletic and we’re going to try him at the offensive line, probably in the guard position and we’ll give him a chance to see how he does as a deep snapper too.”
Andrew Carter – OL – Gooding, Idaho – Gooding HS – 6-3 • 305
Carter is big but can move. Along with football, he also played tennis in high school. He will concentrate on the center position and may work his way into the rotation in 2018.
Van Diest on Carter – “Andrew is a diamond in the rough. He’s from the same high school that produced Alec Basterrechea. Andrew is big and a tremendous tennis player. He comes from a great family. He’s been up here this summer and he’s going to be a guy that we take a hard look at and could possibly get into the two-deep this year. He’ll be learning the center position to start with and we’ll see if he can pick that up in our offense. He does a great job snapping the football and just played recently in the Shrine Game.”
Tony Collins – LB/TE – Fort Worth, Texas – Southwest HS – 6-4 • 220
Collins is the second player in this class from the Dallas/Fort Worth area. He is a long and athletic defensive end and tight end. He gets uphill in a hurry and can tackle well in space. He was also a very good blocker and has the frame to be a prototypical tight end. He was a four-time All-Conference honoree.
Van Diest on Collins – “Tony is one of our latest signees. We’re very blessed to get Tony here. We’ll see where he’s going to play. He might be a great pass rusher, we might put him at tight end as he comes in. He did track and played basketball so he is a pretty good athlete. He is in their leadership program at their high school and he’s just an outstanding young man. He has a 3.4 GPA and comes from a great football league.”
Alex Colter – K/P – Kalispell, Mont. – Flathead HS – 6-1 • 190
Colter was an All-State kicker from Northwest Montana. He also punted. The coaching staff is amping up the competition at the kicker position and Colter will add to that competition.
Van Diest on Colter – “Alex is an all-conference kicker and has done a little bit of punting. We’re excited about him, he was all-state this last year as a kicker. He also plays lacrosse in the spring. He’ll come in and see what he can do kicking.”
Matt Culpin – TE – Helena, Mont. – Capital HS – 6-3 • 225
Matt is a local product with a big upside. He has the size to contribute at the tight end position where he earned Honorable Mention All-Conference marks. He will also get looks at the H-back position.
Van Diest on Culpin – “Matt seems to get better and better every year. He had a good junior year and followed that up with an even better senior year. He started every game as both a junior and a senior. We are looking for him to be a good tight end and H-back in the same mold as an Erik Dawson.”
Tanner Harrell – DL – Shepard, Mont. – Shepard HS – 6-2 • 225
Harrell comes from a Shepard program that is led by former Saint Bradon Arlian. He was an All-State honoree on both the offensive and defensive line. He was on the Great Falls Tribune’s Super-State team. He also notched All-conference wrestling and All-State track and field honors. He projects to the defensive line for the Saints.
Van Diest on Harrell – “Tanner was one of the first commits that we got out of Shepard High School. He was coached by one of our former player Brandon Arlian and he just raved about Tanner. Tanner went both ways and he played in the Class B All-Star game and the Mon-Dak game as well. He is an outstanding football player. He was All-State in both offense and defensive line and we are going to play him on the d-line here.”
Matt Heutmaker – LB – Highlands Ranch, Colo. – Mountain Vista HS – 5-11 • 220
Heutmaker played tough competition in his league in Colorado where he earned All-Conference honors. Will play inside linebacker for the Saints.
Van Diest on Heutmaker – “Matt was an all-conference inside linebacker. He comes from a great football program that plays in one of the toughest leagues in Colorado. He was also Academic All-State and I am excited to see what Matt can do in our system as a Mike or Will linebacker.”
Tyler Hunter – OL/DL – Hermiston, Ore. – Hermiston HS – 6-3 • 250
Hunter comes to Carroll from Eastern Oregon where he was an outstanding career on the offensive and defensive line. He brings size and athleticism and can play on both sides of the ball.
Van Diest on Hunter – “Tyler played both offensive and defensive line. He comes out of the same high school that produced the Barnett brothers. We will look at him on both sides of the football and see where he fits in best. We are excited to get a freshman with his size.”
Rex Irby – DB – Boise, Idaho – Bishop Kelly HS – 5-11 • 200
Irby is one of the best defensive players out of the state of Idaho. His speed, strength and athleticism stood out. He had 110 tackles, three interceptions, four forced fumbles, eight pass breakups and a kick return touchdown. He was also a member for the school record 4×100-meter relay team and the starting point guard on the basketball team.
Van Diest on Irby – “He is First-team All-State his senior year. He was a three-time All-conference player at defensive back and a USA Today Idaho defensive back. He also competed in four different events in the state track meet. He is unbelievably athletic. I think he has a chance to play as a freshman and work his way into the two-deep. He has a terrific upside. He played in a very good football program at Bishop Kelly.”
Preston Johnson – OL – Ramona, Calif. – Palomar Junior College – 6-4 • 300
Johnson brings size and experience to the offensive line. He has quick feet and played in a tough junior college league where he was one of the best offensive tackles in the league. He also earned Academic All-Conference honors.
Van Diest on Johnson – “Preston fills a big need for us out of Southern California from Palomar Junior College. He was one of the best linemen that they had. We expect him to come in and play left tackle. He will be here all summer working out. Just a great football player. He was also a shot putter and wrestler in high school.”
Robert Kvinsland – QB – Gig Harbor, Wash. – Idaho State – 6-3 • 225
Kvinsland came in the spring and immediately brought competition to the quarterback position. He has the prototypical QB frame and has experience playing at Division I Idaho State. He was a high school teammate of Major Ali.
Van Diest on Kvinsland – “We wanted to shore up that position. Along with Reese, we had Kolby Killoy in the same year as Reese, but we needed somebody with game experience. We wanted to add an upperclassman to create some competition and leadership.”
Tristan Lewis – LB – Coleville, Wash. – Coleville HS – 6-1 • 200
Lewis was a standout at Coleville High and has the accolades to prove it. He earned All-Conference honors three years was the conference defensive MVP his senior season. He also earned All-Conference honors on the offensive line.
Van Diest on Lewis – “There is good football being played north of Spokane and Tristan has shined in that area. He has played inside backer and outside backer, but we are going to play him inside. He is a little over six-foot tall and he was first-team All-Conference as a sophomore, junior and senior. He was the conference defensive MVP in 2017 and he also played offensive line and made all-conference.”
Sam Lidey – WR – Pocatello, Idaho – Highland HS – 6-1 • 200
Lidey was a member of two state championship teams at Highland. During his senior year, he led the Rams to title with seven catches for 92 yards in the title game. He had 55 catches for 735 yards and five TDs his senior year to earn offensive MVP honors. He was also a team captain for his senior season. He was a three-year starter at tight end, but the Saints will look at him at wide receiver.
Van Diest on Lidey – “Sam is an outstanding receiver. The great thing about Sam is his size. He can play inside slot, he can play outside, but we are going to keep him on the perimeter. He is a first-team All-Conference selection. I am also excited about his leadership. He was a team captain on one of the best programs in the state of Idaho.”
Conor McKenna – LB – Spokane, Wash – Eastern Washington – 6-1 • 205
McKenna was a force for Gonzaga Prep before playing for a year at EWU. He transferred to Carroll where he will look to make an immediate impact.
“Conor is a coach’s kid and he plays like it. He works hard, has a nose for the game and I think can help us right away. We have a strong history of players from Gonzaga Prep in Spokane and he will continue that legacy.”
Ryan Olson – DB – Portland, Ore. – Sunset HS – 5-10 • 165
Olson is fast enough to run with most any receiver he faces and is a ballhawk. He earned First-Team Metro-League honors at Wide Receiver and Second-Team Metro League honors at safety. He projects at the cornerback position for the Saints with his size and speed.
Van Diest on Olson – “Ryan played basketball, he ran track, he has done everything. He was an All-Metro wide receiver, he was an All-Metro defensive back. We are going to try to play him at corner. He is a tremendous athlete and comes in with a 4.3 weighted GPA and a 31 on his ACT he wants to major in biochemistry. He has a very good background, his dad went to Notre Dame and his grandpa was on our board of trustees.”
Jack Peed – DL – Rathdrum, Idaho – Lakeland HS – 5-11 • 245
Peed comes from Lakeland HS that produced Carroll great Bubba Bartlett. He earned First-team All-League honors for the Hawks.
Van DIest on Peed – “Jack is out of Rathdrum, Idaho, where we have a tradition of great players. He is a two-way player and earned first-team Offensive line honors. We are going to put him at the nose tackle position on our defense and I think he will be great there.”
Steven Powell – K/P – Bremerton, Wash. – O’Dea HS – 5-7 • 145
Powell kicked for O’Dea, one of the best football programs in the Northwest. He earned First-Team All-Class Kicker honors from Cascadia Preps and has earned All-League honors for three seasons. Could contribute right away for the Saints.
Van Diest on Powell – “Steven came through as a junior to our combine and we loved him. He is a kicker out of O’Dea High School in Seattle which is one of the top programs in the area. I think he is going to be a great kicker for us. He has a great leg as far as kickoffs. He has limited experience punting, but he is coming in here to see what he can do to compete for the kicking job. He was a soccer player and did a great job in the classroom. A very good football player and he has the ability to come in and win the kicking position.”
Jacob Resch – LB/FB – Billings, Mont. – Billings West HS – 6-1 • 215
A four-year letterman and two-way starter for Billings West, Resch earned All-State Honorable Mention honors at linebacker. He impressed his teammates and coaches, earning the Lunch Pail Award for the hardest worker on the team. He broke school records in the weight room.
Van Diest on Resch – “Jacob was an All-Conference linebacker out of Billings West High School Along with football, he also did track this spring. He ran sprints as well as throwing. He has tremendous strength and we are excited for him to come in as a two-way player.”
Tyler Smith – LB – Bozeman, Mont. – Manhattan Christian HS – 6-1 • 210
Smith attended Manhattan Christian but played for Manhattan High because Manhattan Christian didn’t have a football team. He earned All-Conference honors his senior year on both sides of the ball and was named Honorable Mention All-State on defense. He was the team lineman of the year and a team captain as a senior. He projects as a linebacker for the Saints.
Van Diest on Smith. ”Tyler is the classic tough small-school kid that we have had success with in the past. He was a defensive end, played offensive line and he’ll be an outside linebacker for us. He was a first-team all-conference on the offensive side, second team all-conference on defense. He played in the Class B All-Star game.”
John Thomson – LB – Las Vegas, Nev. – Faith Lutheran HS – 6-1 • 210
Thomson played earned All-Conference honors and second-team All-State marks among the tough competition in Nevada. He showed his chops as a pass-rusher breaking the Faith Lutheran sack record at 17.5 for his career. He was also a team captain. He was a two-way player in high school, but projects as an outside linebacker for the Saints.
Van Diest on Thomson – “John He played defensive end and outside linebacker. We are looking at him to play outside linebacker. He was the all-time career sack leader and a team captain. He played in the o-line as well even though he played in Nevada’s largest classification. He might have a chance to play as a true freshman.”
Jack Tillman – LB/S – Edmonds, Wash. – Edmonds-Woodway HS – 6-0 • 180
Tillman earned All-Conference honors and also wrestled and played baseball. He closes well on the ball and can tackle in space.
Van Diest on Tillman – “Jack is a four-year varsity letterman he also lettered twice in wrestling and twice in baseball. He is going to play outside linebacker or safety. He has an impressive resume, he earned Frist-Team all-conference honors in football and won the wrestling hardest worker award.”
Jay Todd – OL/DL – Seattle, Wash. – Seattle Prep – 6-2 • 250
Todd is big and strong. He earned All-Metro League honors on the offensive and defensive side of the ball both his junior and senior seasons at Seattle Prep. He will get a look at both sides of the ball for the Saints.
Van Diest on Todd – “Jay was an outstanding defensive end and offensive tackle. We are going to try him on the defensive side, but we may use him on the offensive line. He was second-team all-metro on both offense and defense in both offense and defense in a very tough league. He has a pretty impressive resume.”
Josh Vaughn – LB – Bolivar, Mo. – Bolivar HS – 6-2 • 230
Vaughn is outside of the traditional Carroll recruiting area but the Carroll coaches are excited about his potential. He was an All-Conference and All-Area selection at linebacker and also ran track in high school.
Van Diest on Vaughn – “Along with the Texas guys, he will be coming the farthest. He was first-team all-conference both offense and defense, but we want to see him as an outside linebacker. He is very good and we are very excited about Josh. He can be a great outside linebacker in our defense. We are excited for him to come, hopefully, that can open a pipeline out there.”
Corban Walker – RB – Butte, Mont. – Butte HS – 5-10 • 210
Walker is a running back from Butte High where he earned All-conference and All-State honors his junior and senior seasons. He was a three-year letterman and a was named a captain his senior season.
Van Diest on Walker – “Corban is going to be a sleeper in this class. We are going to try to play him at the H-back spot. He played in the east-west shrine game and the Mon-Dak game this year. He runs very well, has soft hands. He did great on defense, but we are going to put him on offense. I think he is going to be great in our offense.”
Brighton Weber – WR/KR/P – Las Vegas, Nev. – UNLV – 5-11 • 185
Weber is a transfer from UNLV but redshirted in 2016 at Concordia-Nebraska. He prepped with John Thompson at Faith Lutheran. He is a versatile player with experience at receiver, returning and even punting.
Van DIest on Weber – Brighton is athletic. He is a transfer from Concordia-Nebraska by way of UNLV. Hel played wide receiver and kick returner. He also punted so we will see if he can contribute there.”
Eric White – DL – Hermiston, Ore. – Hermiston HS – 6-0 • 215
Joins hunter out of Hermiston, Oregon. An injury will keep him off the field so he will burn a redshirt season, but the coaching staff is excited about his athleticism.
Van Diest on White – “Eric is another guy out of Hermiston, Oregon. He had an injury that required surgery so he is going to be laid up and redshirt this year. He is going to play on the defensive side of the football. He runs extremely well and had a good season so we are excited to see what he can do a year from now.”
Luke Wilson – LB – Missoula, Mont. – Hellgate HS – 6-2 • 190
Wilson comes to Carroll from Hellgate High School and joins his brother Paul who is already on the football team. He projects as a linebacker for the Saints.
“Luke is the brother of Paul Wilson, one of our defensive backs. We love the family and are excited to add Luke to the team. He played a lot of different positions, but I think he will play middle linebacker for us. I think he is going to be very good once he gets in our weight program.”
Aldo Yeo – DE – Everett, Wash. – Everett HS – 6-2 • 230
Yeo played linebacker, running back and defensive end in high school, but projects as a defensive end for the Saints. He has size and speed and the ability to read defenses on the fly. He earned First-Team All-Wesco League Honors twice as a linebacker and once as a running back. He was a two-year team captain.
Van Diest on Yeo – “We signed Aldo in late March and I think we got a steal. He made all-conference linebacker. He was a two-time team captain. He also played running back. He is big and we are going to try him at the d-end spot, but he can also play H-back.”