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Signing day roundup: Three Vikings sign, and a Trojan now a Vandal

| December 17, 2020 1:10 AM

From news services

Three Coeur d'Alene Vikings signed football letters of intent on Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period, and a Post Falls Trojan verbally committed.

Coeur d'Alene offensive lineman Jackson Kohal signed (technically, a Certificate of Intent) with the Air Force Academy.

Viking receiver/defensive back Ty Pottenger signed with Montana State, coached by former Post Falls High coach and athletic director Jeff Choate.

And Coeur d'Alene quarterback Jack Prka signed to play at NAIA Carroll College in Helena, Mont.

Post Falls wide receiver Tommy Hauser verbally committed to play football at Idaho, the senior announced on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon.

Prka, Kohal and Hauser were first-team 5A all-Idaho selections, and Pottenger was a second-team pick.

Pottenger was recruited as a safety by Montana State.

"When you watch this guy play you know he's the quarterback of the defense," Choate said of Pottenger. "He comes from a really good program at Coeur d'Alene High School, multiple-time state champions, year-in and year-out semifinals. He was a team captain, an Idaho top scholar so he's a really, really bright young man. His dad (Troy) and I grew up together in St. Maries and went to school together at (Montana) Western, so I can tell you he takes after his mom (the former Dee Porter), who was an All-America volleyball player at Idaho. We're excited to have Tyson. He has great range, I think he'll end up being 6-3, playing weight of around 205 when he fills out, and we need that kind of post safety. I'd say he's a longer version of (current Bobcat) Ty Okada, that's my program comparison because of how smart Ty is, how dialed in he is, the relationships he forms, and Tyson is that kind of player. He's a coach on the field with a sky-high football IQ and a great frame to go with that. I really feel like he's going to have an exceptional top end once we get him here and develop him."

Idaho: The Vandals announced the signing of 12 players to letters of intent on Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period, including three greyshirts and two transfers who will be arriving on campus in January.

“First I want to thank our assistant coaches for all their hard work,” Idaho coach Paul Petrino said. “Definitely a unique recruiting year, different than any other recruiting year. It’s not going to be our biggest class ever, with the guys coming back, but I think it’s a really good class and I can’t wait for them to get here and get going.”

Petrino signed one quarterback, Gevani McCoy (6-1, 160), who transferred to Lawndale High in Gardena, Calif., where he will play in the spring. As a junior Lakewood (Calif.) High, he threw for 1,569 yards and 14 scores. A true dual threat, McCoy added 721 yards and 12 touchdowns over 117 carries.

Another signee, linebacker Colt Musgrave (6-2, 215) from Bend (Ore.) High, originally played quarterback. Colt's father, Doug, and uncle Bill played quarterback at Oregon. Bill Musgrave also played QB in the NFL for eight seasons.

Idaho added offensive lineman Logan Harris (6-7, 290) from Centennial High in Boise after greyshirting in the fall. Harris was an All-5A Southern idaho Conference second team selection in 2019.

WSU: Coach Nick Rolovich announced the signing of 21 players, including quarterback Xavier Ward (6-2, 195) from Roosevelt High in Corona, Calif.

Considered a pro-style quarterback, Ward passed for 2,044 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior. His senior season was moved to January due to COVID-19.

"He's a very dialed-in young man; it will be a real benefit for him to be here mid-year, and go through spring (ball) with us," Rolovich said.

WSU signed four wide receivers, three edge rushers and three defensive linemen.

"The D-line and linebacking was something we really wanted to concentrate on, because we rotate guys," Rolovich said. "I think there's an incredible high ceiling with the guys who signed on the D-line and the edge ... I don't think you can have too many (D-linemen)."

"And receivers, we needed to add numbers to that group."

WSU plans to add more players for the next signing day in early February.

Eastern Washington: Eagle coach Aaron Best announced the signing of 17 high school players, including 16 who have signed national letters of intent and one who is an invited walk-on who has been admitted and confirmed attendance at EWU.

The list includes a trio of wide receivers and five defensive backs, with a particular emphasis on the Tri-Cities. The Eagles signed three players from Kamiakin High in Kennewick, and another multi-talented player from Pasco.

In all, eight of the 17 players are from high schools in Washington, with five from California, two from Utah, one from Arizona and one from Oregon.

"We haven't replaced seniors with a signee — we look two years in advance," Best said. "We felt like we were top heavy at the safety position with upperclassmen now. We had some individuals we recruited who we felt were players we really liked on the field and did their work off the field, and their families were awesome in the process.

"There was no need to pass up players and wait until 2022," he added. "It just worked out that we would sign a lot of defensive backs. We need players who can play man coverage, tackle and play fearlessly. We needed to make a statement at that position that we are going to be better and we would create more competitive depth. It starts in fall of 2021 with these players we bring onboard."

The three players signed from Kamiakin were all offensive juggernauts for the Braves back in fall of 2019 when they last played. Tuna Altahir was an All-State running back, Woodley Downard earned first team All-Mid-Columbia Conference honors as a wide receiver and Messiah Jones, signed by EWU as a tight end, earned honorable mention All-MCC as a WR. Altahir was the league's offensive MVP.

Additionally, the Eagles signed Desmian Licon from Pasco, Wash., as a defensive back. He earned a trio of first team All-MCC honors as a wide receiver, defensive back and returner.

EWU signed one quarterback, Kekoa Visperas (6-0, 190) from Bethel High in Spanaway, Wash.

Visperas passed for 2,500 yards and 27 touchdowns as a junior for Bethel (8-4), which reached the state 3A quarterfinals before falling to Kennewick.

"Everything screams stardom for Kekoa," Best said. "He's a mild-mannered individual and lets his play do the talking. But he's competitive, and knows the challenge and legacy to play at the quarterback position here. We received rave reviews about him, and everything pointed to him being our quarterback in this class. We're glad we waited and did our homework because we felt we found a good one."

Boise State: Coach Bryan Harsin announced the signing of 15 players, from Texas (five), California (four) Colorado (three), Arizona (one), Connecticut (one) and Oklahoma (one).

Eight of the individuals play on the offensive side of the ball, including three offensive linemen, three wide receivers, a quarterback and a tight end.

Defensively, Boise State signed seven players, including three linebackers, two safeties, one defensive lineman and one STUD.

All 15 signees will join the Broncos as freshmen in 2021.

The quarterback in the class is Taylen Green (6-6, 215) from Lewisville (Texas) High.

Green was rated as the No. 21 dual-threat quarterback in the country per 247Sports, and No. 22 per ESPN. As a junior, he threw for 2,217 yards and 25 touchdowns with three interceptions, and rushed for 445 yards and 12 TDs. He's also the school recorder holder in the long jump.

Montana: despite a lingering recruitment dead period issued by the NCAA during the Covid-19 pandemic, Montana head coach Bobby Hauck added 19 players to the Grizzly roster on the first day of the national early signing period.

With coaches unable to travel to see prospects and the quality of high school football in Montana being particularly high this season, the Grizzlies' incoming class features a total of 15 in-state signees.

"Versatility" is a featured word in this year's signing class, with five players penciled in to line up on offense, nine slatted to play defense, four overall athletes, and one specialist making up the player breakdown.

"Obviously, it was a strange year in terms of recruiting. It was just different than anything we've ever encountered. We've been in a recruiting dead period since last March, and that made it really difficult. It's tough to get to know kids – it's probably impossible to get to know kids – especially if they're not local. So, it's strange in that regard, and with the NCAA giving every player on our current roster a pause in their eligibility, there weren't' many opportunities to recruit kids. There just weren't many scholarships and weren't many walk-on opportunities," said Hauck.

"But despite all that, I think we did really well with this class. We're bursting at the seams in terms of number of players, which will be the case next fall. But, I'm excited about bringing this group of kids in."

Six of Montana's in-state recruits hail from Missoula, with five coming in from the class AA state champion Sentinel Spartans. Highlighting the signees for the Spartans are the State Offensive and Defensive MVPs in Camden Sirmon and Geno Leonard, with the Western AA Defensive Co-MVP Soren Syvrud joining the class as well.

"Fifteen of our nineteen recruits being from Montana really fires me up," Hauck added.

In addition to the Langs and Demings, the addition of Ben McGourin and Colter Janacaro gives the Grizzlies five sets of brothers currently suiting up for Montana, with Marcus and Trevor Welnel also playing together. The team would have a sixth pair of brothers, but Camden Sirmon's older brother Cy graduated a year ago.

Montana State: Of the 20 players that signed on Wednesday, nine come from Montana with four from Idaho and one from Wyoming. The strong regional flavor, Choate said, "was by design. ... We're fortunate because I feel this is a very good year in the state of Montana, there's plenty of talent, and we feel very good about this class."

"This class is unique in that we had to put it together in a completely different way," Choate said of his fifth Bobcat recruiting class on the first day Class of 2021 recruits can make their commitment to a school official. "There was no off-campus recruiting going all the way back to last spring, no spring evaluation period, we didn't have on-campus camps, we didn't have a fall evaluation period, we couldn't do official visits, it was just super different in that regard."

Without bringing recruits to campus, Choate and his staff zeroed in on players who had visited Bozeman or who took the initiative to do so on their own. "It was important to us that every single kid we signed in this class had boots on the ground here, including the kids from Arizona and Texas. They made the investment to get here on their own to see the campus and get a feel for what Montana State University and the community of Bozeman are all about. That speaks volumes to what we're doing here."