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Signing day: Grizzly football welcomes new class

Published On: Feb 05 2014 11:50:23 AM MST   Updated On: Feb 05 2014 09:18:02 PM MST

Here's a list of players that have officially committed today, February 5th, to play football at the University of Montana and join the ranks of the 2014 Grizzly recruit class.

A total of 24 players were named to the 2014 class of Griz commitments with all of them being current high school seniors.  12 of the 24 players come from within the state of Montana.  13 players are expected to play defense at UM with the other 11 athletes expected to compete on offense.

Only nine of the players were inked as scholarship athletes as that's all the Montana program could hand out under the recently imposed NCAA sanctions.

One of the incoming players the Griz are excited about is Kalispell Glacier standout Evan Epperly. During his senior football season Epperly was named all-state on offense (WR), defense (CB), and special teams (punt return).

"I was a Griz fan growing up," said Epperly. "When I took my visit, right when I stepped on campus I felt comfortable, it felt right."

Glacier head football coach, and former Griz quarterback, Grady Bennett says the Grizzly football program is getting a great athlete and he is happy with Epperly's decision to play at UM.

"You know as a head coach whoever it is, I want them to go to the place that fits best, whether that be Montana State or Montana or any college," said Bennett. "I'm just happy that it worked out for him, it's a good fit for him and that's what's most important."

Epperly's new head coach Mick Delaney is also excited to have Epperly joining the Montana Grizzlies.

"Evan has just got that extra something you look for," said Delaney. "Being a coaches son, both his mom and dad coach, he's just a fierce competitor and is a tough guy. He plays way bigger than his 180 pounds and that was a battle, that was a hard get for us and we're just really happy that he's with us."

Another local athlete who signed on to the Grizzlies is Missoula Hellgate's Kole Swartz. The Knights senior was named team captain and defensive MVP for the Knights this past fall. He was named second team all-state as a defensive end, and honorable mention as a tight end.

The Grizzlies have him listed to play tight end at Montana; Swartz says he's just excited for the opportunity to play for his hometown Grizzlies.

"You know I can't really put it into words," said Swartz. " I've watched every Griz game either live or on TV every Saturday since I can remember.  You know I've always wanted to play here and my freshman year I didn't know if that was something that I could do but I wanted to and now for it to actually be there that I'm actually going to play for the Griz, it's incredible."

Of course the Grizzlies recruiting wouldn't be complete without a young quarterback. Bozeman's Will Weyer has been making headlines all over the state after leading the Hawks to two straight class 'AA' state title appearances, including a perfect 13-0 season, and a state championship victory over Glacier this past fall.

Weyer was first team all-state this year as well as offensive MVP after throwing for over 3,000 yards this season and 35 touchdowns.

"We thought he was far and above the best quarterback in the state of Montana," said Delaney about Weyer. "In addition to that he's a good athlete."

Regular Signees

NamePos.HometownHigh School
Josh BussLBBoise, IDMountain View HS
Will WeyerQBBozeman, MTBozeman HS
Kole SwartzDEMissoula, MTHellgate HS
Reese CarlsonWRGig Harbor, WA    Gig Harbor HS
Alex ThomasLBGreat Falls, MTC.M. Russell HS
Evan EpperlySafetyKalispell, MTGlacier HS
Shayne CochranLBCulbertson, MTCulbertson HS



SafetyTigard, ORTigard HS
David ReeseOLClackamas, ORClackamas HS

Formally accepted admission to UM

(Walk-on athletes)

NamePos.HometownHigh School
Ben D'AltonDLBillings, MTBillings Central HS
Kyle DavisDTSan Diego, CACathedral Central HS
Riley KackFBBozeman, MTBozeman HS
Evan MikschDELake Stevens, WA   Lake Stevens HS
Dylan StensethLBLewistown, MTFergus HS
Reggie TillemanTEGenesee, IDGenesee HS
Tyler RichtmyerLBMissoula, MTSentinel HS
Austin ChadderdonFBCoeur d'Alene, IDCoeur d'Alene HS
Tristen ClarkWRDeer Lodge, MTPowell County HS
Sean FoleyWRWhitefish, MTWhitefish HS
Caleb LyonsWRLakewood, WALakes HS
Jake MannSafetyEncinitas, CALa Costa Canyon HS
Milan MarreroLBSan Diego, CAFrancis Parker HS
Nick MertesDEEdina, MNEdina HS