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Bringing Hurt and Paine: DSU football welcomes, breaks down 2018 freshman class

Keeping with the "Bismarck to Billings" recruiting tradition, 27 of the 31-man Dickinson State football 2018 signing class hail from Montana or North Dakota.

Dickinson State football head coach Pete Stanton shares a few words on Hettinger-Scranton's Isaiah Kludt at Players Sports Bar and Grill on Wednesday, Feb. 7. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)
Dickinson State football head coach Pete Stanton shares a few words on Hettinger-Scranton's Isaiah Kludt at Players Sports Bar and Grill on Wednesday, Feb. 7. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)
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Keeping with the "Bismarck to Billings" recruiting tradition, 27 of the 31-man Dickinson State football 2018 signing class hail from Montana or North Dakota.

With boosters and a few fans in attendance, DSU coaches announced and broke down the 2018 signing class on Wednesday, Feb. 7 at Players Sports Bar and Grill.

Jake Hurt, who played for Legacy High in Bismarck, comes from the easternmost side of that recruiting area. The 6-foot-2, 260-pound defensive lineman is the first to come from a young Sabers football program.

"Long, story short I actually got to coach Jake for a couple years at Bismarck Legacy when they first started the program," DSU quarterback coach Nick Walker said. "He's a kid I've kind of had my eye on, we've had our eye on. We watched him play in Dickinson versus Dickinson High two years ago. He kind of stood out."

Bennett Beehler, an offensive lineman, is also coming to Dickinson State from Bismarck after playing for the Demons and being named a Badlands Bowl selection.

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Six of the new athletes will join the Blue Hawks as offensive linemen, bringing the total number of O-line players on the roster to 26, a number that caused offensive line coach Pete Leno to widen his eyes and shake his head.

"We're really excited about where our offensive line is going," offensive coordinator Jace Schillinger said. "Under Coach Leno they'll do a fabulous job."

While Jeremiah Paine lives in Grenora, he played for the Westby-Grenora co-op team that won the Montana 6-man football state championship. While the 6-foot, 170-pound Paine played quarterback and holds the state record with 153 touchdown passes, he also kicked for the Thunder.

"That will be his primary focus when he gets here in the fall is on the kicking side," Leno said. "But between him and (DSU kicker Hunter Johnson), we are scheming up fake punts. We got some ideas."

Another kicker added to the roster is Jace Johnson, brother of current DSU football kicker and wrestler Cody Johnson.

Only one quarterback joins the mix in Shelby, Mont. native Aaron White. His father, Mike White, is the head football coach in Shelby and was Walker's quarterback coach in Plentywood, Mont.

"We're ecstatic to get Aaron," Walker said. "He led Shelby this year on a great run to the state championship game where they did fall. But he's got unbelievable stats ... threw for over 6,000 (career) yards. He was named to the Tribune Falls Super-State team, which is a pretty big honor in Montana."

With Logan Karsky and Hunter Dassinger of Dickinson Trinity and Krew Mathern of Dickinson High joining the Blue Hawks, there are now nine hometown boys on the roster.

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However, two players in the 2018 class are traveling all the way from California to play college football, including Zach Fleming of Lodi, Calif.

The 5-foot-11, 220-pound defensive lineman was named MVP of his Tokay High team, and was named the Tri-City defensive lineman of the year.

"He's got a great motor, plays with his hands really well," defensive line coach Jeff Miller said. "He's a big school California kid so they were playing against, the competition was really good. ... The other nice thing with Zach is when he came up here it was that nice heat wave where it was 45 to 50 degrees. So that was well-timed."

Zach, and fellow Golden State native Amad Andrews will have to adjust to the weather of the Midwest as well as the faster pace and physicality of college football when they join the team in the fall.

Name Position Hometown Height / weight
Amad Andrews RB Pasadena, CA 5’9’’ / 205
Bennet Beehler OL Bismarck, ND 5’11’’ / 250
Koltin Christiaens - Valier, MT 6’2’’ / 180
Jayd Culey OL Gillette, WY 6’2’’ / 250
Hunter Dassinger LB Dickinson, ND 5’11’’ / 210
Javon DeGrand OL Baker, MT 6’3’’ / 300
Gunnar Farstveet OL Beach, ND 6’1’’ / 225
Zach Fleming DL Lodi, CA 5’11’’ / 220
Alex Fransen DL Glasgow, MT 6’6’’ / 230
Alex Gavlak WR Stevensville, MT 6’1’’ / 180
Jake George OL Buffalo, SD 6’1’’ / 205
Dakota Harrison OL Washburn, ND 6’3’’ / 305
Jayden Holley TE Glendive, MT 6’3’’ / 230
Jake Hurt DL Bismarck, ND 6’2’’ / 260
Jace Johnson K/WR Sidney, MT 5’11’’ / 165
Logan Karsky LB Dickinson, ND 6’ / 205
Robby Keiser WR Glendive, MT 6’3’’ / 195
Isaiah Kludt WR/KR Hettinger, ND 5’7’’ / 170
Hunter Koepplin FB Mott, ND 6’ / 220
Riley Linder RB Scobey, MT 5’10’’ / 205
Alex Lovegren RB Sidney, MT 5’9’’ / 175
Krew Mathern LB Dickinson, ND 6’3’’ / 200
Conor McCarvel WR Helena, MT 6’ / 175
Hayes Meged DE Miles City, MT 6’1’’ / 210
Jeremiah Paine K/P Grenora, ND 6’ / 170
Max Peters DL Sidney, MT 6’2’’ / 245
Tristen Peterson LB Bowman, ND 6’1’’ / 220
Aaron White QB Shelby, MT 6’2’’ / 190
Merlin White Dirt DL Colstrip, MT 6’4’’ / 255
Corbin Wood LB Ennis, MT 6’ / 190
Tanner Wood DB Ennis, MT 6’ / 190

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