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Dickinson State football head coach Pete Stanton: Blue Hawks recruiting class to be ‘contributors’

Dickinson State football coaches were looking for talent to impact the program within the next two years.They believe they've found just that.The Blue Hawks, coming off their first North Star Athletic Association championship and first NAIA playo...

Dickinson State football coaches were looking for talent to impact the program within the next two years.
They believe they’ve found just that.
The Blue Hawks, coming off their first North Star Athletic Association championship and first NAIA playoff appearance in five years, took the first step in rebuilding their team with the announcement of 30 signees Tuesday night at the Elks Club.
“We certainly want them to be, in a few years from now, to be very strong. We want them to get in the mix by the fall of 2017,” DSU head coach Pete Stanton said. “We expect many of these guys to be contributors. … We have a big senior class this year, so we look at this class this next couple of years and expect them to step up.”
One of the priorities while recruiting for DSU was getting local and regional players, which Stanton believes was a success. However, he said he also expects 10 to 12 more recruits, as the Blue Hawks are still recruiting some “key” high school and transfer players.
But Stanton said as of right now, this was one of the best years with local and regional talent.
“Our emphasis was just getting the best guys,” Stanton said. “First, locally between Bismarck and Billings (Mont.), and getting the best guys that are going to help to build our program. That was our philosophy all along the way.”
The signees are as follows:

  • Dickinson High Midgets defensive lineman Quaid Larsen was a first-team all-state offensive lineman last season. He totaled 39 tackles, six tackles for loss and seven sacks in 2015.

“It’s crazy. I’m just excited to keep playing football,” Larsen said in a Dec. 22 Press story. “And it makes it better that I’m signing close to home and that they’re also a successful football team. That just adds to everything. Their success definitely influenced (the decision).”

  • Dickinson offensive lineman Dual Keck was a second-team all-state offensive lineman last season. As a senior, he recorded 17 tackles, six tackles for loss and half of a sack from the defensive line.

“It’s actually pretty exciting for me,” Keck said in a Dec. 22 Press story. “My family said I should wait for other options, but I really wanted to go here.”

  • Midgets offensive lineman Drew Heiser was a second-team all-state offensive lineman this past season. He accumulated 33 tackles, four tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks as a defensive lineman.

“I’ve been wanting to sign as a Blue Hawk for a while,” Heiser said in a Dec. 22 Press story, “and it feels good to finally be here.”

  • Dickinson linebacker Jacob Weidner racked up 61 tackles, five tackles for loss, two sacks and two interceptions his senior year. He also totaled seven catches for 77 yards and one touchdown as a tight end.

“It will be a challenge, but that will be the fun part,” Weidner said of coming to DSU in a Dec. 22 Press story. “They really wanted me to come here.”

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  • Tanner Binstock, a 6-foot-3, 240-pound two-way starting offensive and defensive lineman, helped the Midgets to a third-place finish in the Class 3A West Region regular season and an appearance in the state quarterfinals.

“It’s definitely the sport I love the most, and the team and everything about it,” Binstock said in a Jan. 28 Press story. “There’s nothing that you can compare to it, being around a good fun team. There’s nothing like it.”

  • Killdeer’s Derek Tabor rushed for nearly 1,300 yards and 14 touchdowns and caught 12 passes for 186 yards and four TDs in 2015. Tabor also racked up about 60 tackles, eight tackles for loss and five sacks. Tabor is expected to play at strong safety.

“It’s exciting to actually be a part of the organization and program,” Tabor said in a Jan. 28 Press story. “They know us, and DSU just felt more like home.”

  • Killdeer linebacker Zeb Doe collected about 90 tackles, 11 for loss and 1½ sacks. Doe also totaled over 700 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns as well as more than 100 receiving yards as a fullback.

“I’m just glad I get the opportunity to take it to the next level and get better at the game,” Doe said in a Jan. 28 Press story. “It’s an amazing game. If you’ve got an opportunity to get better, why wouldn’t you take that opportunity?”

  • From Hazen, Denzel Sanders is expected to play defensive line for the Blue Hawks. He was a 2014 second-team all-state pick and three-time all-region selection with the Bison.

“Denzel plays with a high motor,” Stanton said. “He has been very successful in high school in both football and wrestling. He is very explosive and has great balance.”

  • John Suter, a Beulah High defensive back, was a second-team all-state selection and part of the Miners’ Class 2A state championship last season.

“John had a great year for Beulah who won a state championship,” Stanton said. “He has good ball skills in the secondary and has a great feel for the game. He is a successful multi-sport athlete, which we really like. He has a great family history with our program as his father and brother both played for the Hawks.”

  • Hunter Johnson, an all-region selection from Bismarck High, will step into the DSU program as a kicker.

“He is one of the top kickers in the state and will give us stability and consistency there,” Stanton said. “He plays at a high level and will continue to do so in college.”

  • Gabe Meschke, a Mandan defensive back, was an all-West Region pick.

“Gabe is a guy capable of playing an inside receiver or corner,” Stanton said. “He has outstanding speed and does a good job of utilizing that speed on both sides of the ball.”

  • Nick Kottre, a Bismarck High graduate and University of Mary transfer, was the fourth-leading receiver for the Marauders, as he caught 26 passes for 166 yards in 2015. Kottre was a part of two North Dakota Class 3A state championship teams and a Class 1A track and field state title.
  • Also transferring from Mary will be 6-foot-4, 330-pound defensive lineman Deon Paulson. The Bismarck High product was a three-year starter and all-Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and preseason all-America pick in 2014.

“We are excited to have Deon as a Blue Hawk for his last year of college football,” Stanton said. “He comes from a tremendous high school program, and had a lot of success on the field as a Bismarck Demon. He has played a lot of college football, and will give us a lot of experience on the offensive line. We look for him to make an immediate impact for our team.”

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  • Matt Dey, an offensive lineman from Sidney (Mont.) High, was a first-team all-state pick and a 2016 East-West Shrine Game selection.
  • Billings (Mont.) West High linebacker Aaric Spring was an Eastern 2A all-conference selection and helped his team to a Class 2A playoff appearance in 2015.
  • Also from Billings West, defensive back Trayson Marker, who stands 6-feet tall, was named to Montana’s Class 2A all-state team and named to the Eastern 2A all-conference teams on offense and defense.
  • Tyger Frye, a wide receiver from Billings (Mont.) Senior High, joins the Blue Hawks after being named to the Class 2A all-state first team last season after his 60 receptions for six touchdowns and 672 yards. He finished his football career with 104 catches for 1,193 yards and 14 touchdowns.
  • Colter Peterson, a 6-4, 265-pound lineman from Joliet, Mont., was an all-conference offensive and defensive lineman his junior and senior seasons.
  • Junior college transfer Tyler Henderson, a 6-foot-6, 245-pound tight end, from Mt. San Jacinto (Calif.) College was a Region IV all-California first-team and all-American Mountain first-team selection. In two years, he tallied 26 catches for nearly 400 yards and three touchdowns.
  • Cody Johnson, a Rocky Mountain (Mont.) College transfer and Sidney, Mont., native, will join the DSU football team as a kicker. He was an all-conference pick at Sidney High School, as well as an academic all-state selection. Johnson has also wrestled for the Blue Hawks.
  • Rourke McPeters, a linebacker from Upton, Wyo., was a first-team all-state selection in 2015 and 2014 as well as a 2015 Wyoming Super 25 pick.
  • A Dawson County (Mont.) High student, Carson Oakland was an all-conference defensive back in 2014 and 2015, as well as a Class 1A state triple jump champion last season.
  • Jaden Senger, a Custer County (Mont.) defensive lineman at 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds, was a first-team all-state pick and an East-West Shrine Game selection.
  • From Broadus, Mont., and a Power River County High student, Kenton Stadinger is a 6-foot-4, 240-pound defensive lineman who was a first-team all-state pick.
  • At outside linebacker, Savage (Mont.) High student Paxton Miller was an all-state selection the past two seasons.
  • Steven Largent, a linebacker from Huntsville, Texas, was all-conference in 2015 and totaled 160 tackles the past two seasons.
  • A 6-foot-3 Southeastern Oklahoma State transfer, Kimo Seau will play defensive lineman for the Blue Hawks. He recorded 45 tackles, 10.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss before transferring. 
  • Sifa Vea, a linebacker from Foothill College and a Milpitas, Calif., native, tallied 58 tackles and a sack before transferring.
  • Also from Foothill College, Una Masaniai will be a defensive lineman at 6-foot-2 and 280 pounds. The Kapa’a, Hawaii, native totaled 27 tackles, two sacks and two tackles for loss for Foothill.
  • A defensive lineman from Anchorage, Alaska, 6-foot-4, 260-pound Josh Kaiwi will enter DSU’s defensive line rotation. He tallied 15 tackles, 3.5 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss for Mt. San Antonio College.
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