By Danny Waldo
The Montana State Bobcat football season officially ended on December 1st with a 52-10 setback to North Dakota State University in the Second Round of the FCS playoffs, but the real work for head coach Jeff Choate and his staff began in the immediate aftermath.
With the NCAA early signing period just around the corner, Choate and Co. hit the road the first three weeks of December in hopes of locking up commitments from several future Bobcats, and their success on the recruiting trail matched the team’s performance on the field, as MSU reeled in 17 new recruits. Highlighted amongst the recruits are eight in-state recruits, including a pair of Bozeman Hawks, Joe Olson and Ryan Lonergan. The Bobcats also maintained their Texas connection, snagging a pair of playmakers from the Lonestar State, in addition to opening a pipeline to Colorado by grabbing a pair of productive defensive players from the Centennial State.
After giving up over 400 yards on the ground versus NDSU while gaining just over 150 themselves, the Bobcats put a premium on the offensive and defensive lines in the early signing period. Of MSU’s 17 recruits, eight played on the offensive or defensive line, including tight end Ryan Lonergan.
“We made a big commitment, I think, in this first signing period to really focusing on the line of scrimmage,” Choate said.
However, the work is not done for the Bobcats as National Signing Day is February 6th, and the Bobcats still have some needs to fill going into the second stage of recruiting.
“As we turn to the next signing period in February, you’ll see kind of more of an emphasis on the skill positions, not so much the wide receiver position, but particularly the defensive backfield. We’re going to probably have about eight numbers left, however that shakes out. We do need to make sure we sign a combo guy at punter/kicker in this next period. That’s a big priority for us,” according to Choate.