Lights announces 20 new football signers

In his first offseason as head of Montana State University-Northern’s football program, head coach Jerome Souers is attempting to build a roster that will build the team he envisions. After several months of recruitment, Souers and the Lights have now announced their first signing class of 20 student-athletes.

While the Lights missed the regular recruiting cycle with signing day in February, Souers believes he and his staff have been able to find good football players for the program.

“We were able to locate and recruit some hidden treasures that were still out there,” Souers said. “We’re excited about that and I’m proud of the work our people have done to develop this class.”

Most of Souers’ recruiting class is native, with 14 of them from Montana. Some notable athletes come from the Hi-Line, such as quarterback Mikkel Rider from Harlem, wide receiver Drake Berreth from Chinook, and offense lineman Trevin Grammar from Chester.

Many other athletes will come from the Treasure State. After a career-ending All-State season, Lewistown’s Chase Fields will play quarterback for the Lights. Offensive lineman and defensive lineman Aidan Perkins joins from Culbertson to play for MSU-N. Big Fork’s Silvestre Rodriguez is another offensive lineman signed for the Lights.

From Cut Bank, the Lights signed Brant Seewald as linebacker. Another linebacker for the Lights will be Missoula’s Isaac Widder. After being named a second-team All-Conference team in his senior season, Polson’s Kaden Nelson will join the Lights as a kicker and punter.

Caden Crowell signed after playing for Cascade as an offensive lineman and defensive lineman. After an all-state season at Scobey, offensive lineman Josh Hammerly will join the Lights. Frenchtown wide receiver Devin Shelton will also join the Lights after an All-State season in Class A football last fall.

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The Lights signed Stran Selman, who played defensive back for Huntley Project and was an all-conference player his senior year. Another defender to join the program will be Browning’s CJ Smith. The Lights also snapped defenseman Andreas Van Diest, who is transferring from the University of Providence.

“We wanted to bring a Montana presence to the program and reflect our intent and commitment to recruiting people from that region,” Souers said. “We were fortunate that we could get the number of guys that fit into that scheme.”

The Lights also signed several foreign players, including four from California. John Toth, who is transferring from American River Community College in Sacramento, will play defense for the Lights. Long snapper Greg Rivera will be coming from San Jose to join the program.

Several running backs will come from California to fill the Lights backfield. Jamari Johnson is from Colton while Kai Green is from Pittsburg. The Lights also signed offensive lineman Rodney Laverdure, who is from Belcourt, North Dakota.

In addition to improving the program, these new players should fill out the list of lights. By the Spring Ball, the Lights had only 34 total players participating in activities, so more players will be helping them do the drills they need to do this summer in preparation for live football in the fall. Many of these new players also need to get in early, but Souers expects they’ll rise to the challenge.

“A lot of these guys will have to contribute fairly early on and that’s not added pressure, it’s just more opportunity for them,” said Souers. “We have to find a way to implement our system with the people we have. It will be a challenge, but we will face the situation.

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