Dickinson State unveils 2023 football signing class
With talented players from 6 different states, including North Dakota and Montana, the Blue Hawks are poised for another winning season with key additions to the team's roster.
DICKINSON — As the Dickinson State Blue Hawks gear up for what is projected to be another winning season, the football staff and university officials unveiled the full roster comprising its highly anticipated 2023 signing class.
With a record of 8-3 from last year, including a remarkable eighth consecutive conference championship win and a national playoff appearance, the Blue Hawks stand poised to continue their winning ways with some key additions.
The arrival of talented players from 6 different states, including a strong representation from North Dakota and Montana, will boost the 85 returning players as spring ball practice starts in March.
Head Coach Pete Stanton said he is confident in Dickinson State’s 2023 signing class, noting the signees abilities both on and off the field, their success in academics and a competitive spirit centered on exceptional character. He believes the players will be a perfect fit for the team and university.
"These players have what it takes to make an impact,” he said. “We can't wait to see what the future holds for them, but one thing's for sure, they come from winning programs and have a solid foundation that will serve them well here at Dickinson State."
KEY NORTH DAKOTA ATHLETES
Kadin Finders, a talented quarterback from Williston High School in Williston, ND, had a successful career as a signal-caller for the Coyotes and brings his athleticism and leadership to the Blue Hawks. He's a standout in both academics and sports, making him a valuable addition to the Dickinson State program. Finders' skill set and leadership qualities will add depth to the Blue Hawks' quarterback position, making him a valuable asset to the team.
Nolan Johnson, a seasoned defensive back from Mandan High School in Mandan, ND, brings a wealth of experience to the Blue Hawks, having played three years of varsity football and earning a reputation as a key contributor on the field. As the leader of his high school's defensive backs unit, Johnson was a tackling machine capable of leveraging his size to his advantage.
Kaison Kaylor, a bruising ball-carrier from Hazen High School in Hazen, ND, is poised to bring his hard-nosed running style to Dickinson State. He put together a stellar senior campaign, earning 2nd Team All-State 11B and All-Region recognition. Kaylor is a well-rounded threat, bringing his physicality to both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. With his impressive balance, speed, and toughness, Kaylor is poised to make an impact as a Blue Hawk in the years to come.
Grant Kees is an offensive lineman from Bowman County High School in Bowman, ND. He has a history with the Dickinson State football program, having attended their camp multiple times, and brings his leadership and strong work ethic to the Blue Hawks. Kees is a multi-sport athlete and a well-rounded individual, earning 2x All-State honors and a State Degree in FFA, as well as being a two-time team captain in football.
Will Madler, a quarterback from Northern State University (Bismarck High School) in Bismarck, ND, brings both experience and leadership to the Dickinson State football program. He was a starter in the Northern Sun Conference and is known for his ability to throw the ball well and make plays in the run game. He is smart and has a winning track record, with honors including 2018 ND Gatorade POY and the 2022 Myles Brand Award Winner.
Max Wilkinson was all-state for Dickinson High his senior year and one of the better linemen in their classification. He has a big frame and will start off on the offensive line for Dickinson State University. He is familiar with the players and coaches and has a promising upside on the offensive line.
Chase Selle was a standout player for Dickinson High, being a Senior Athlete of the Year Nominee and All-State Defense. He can play several positions at safety, corner, or receiver and made many big plays in high school on both sides of the ball. He is familiar with the Dickinson State program and participating in their summer activities, making the transition to the secondary here smooth.
Mace Stuber brings a strong work ethic and motor to the defensive line. He was a key player in the success of Bowman County High School and was a 2x All-State Defensive Lineman. He also excels in the classroom as a student and in wrestling where he placed 3rd at 220 as a junior.
Trey Swanson has a great frame and excellent athleticism, excelling for Beach High School as a tight end and defensive lineman. He will transition to the offensive line as a Blue Hawk and has excellent feet and athletic skills. He moves well on the basketball court and is a great competitor and teammate.
Ty Nelson is a multi-sport athlete excelling in three sports with a 3.8 GPA and being part of the National Honor Society. He will play as a wide receiver for Dickinson State University and will have the opportunity to compete for the punter position in the 2023 season. He was very productive before being injured in his senior year, showcasing his capability on both sides of the ball.
Nate Norby is a highly versatile player who was a do-it-all player for his high school team. He played quarterback, but is capable of playing receiver, tight end, or on the defensive side as well. He was named the 6-man Senior Athlete of the Year and All-State 6-Man, and was also the National Honors Society School President. He has a strong upside and future as a player.
Alex Wegner is an excellent athlete with a strong leg, having a soccer background and the ability to place the ball wherever he wants on kickoffs and get great lift on field goals. He was a 1st Team All-State Soccer player and a 2x Team Captain for Soccer, and also an Academic All-Conference student.
OTHER KEY ATHLETES
David Burgess, a dominant force from Helena High School in Helena, MT, made a significant impact on the Helena Bengals' defense, playing a crucial role in the team's run to the quarterfinals in the playoffs. He's a tenacious player, who never gives up and always brings a physical presence to the field. With his tough and relentless playing style, Burgess is sure to bring value to the Dickinson State defense.
Dylan Byrd, a versatile defensive back hailing from Lockwood High School in Billings, MT, made a name for himself as a two-way player for the Lockwood Lions, displaying his skills both as a wide receiver and a defensive back. Byrd makes history as the first player from Lockwood High to sign to play college athletics, and brings a solid work ethic and top-notch athleticism to the Dickinson State program.
Adrien Calderon, a dynamic wide receiver from Laramie High School in Laramie, WY, left a lasting impression on the Laramie Plainsmen, with his exceptional ability to turn short catches into game-changing plays, and his remarkable catching skills. Calderon's versatility and playmaking abilities will add significant value to the Blue Hawks' receiving corps, making him a valuable asset to the team.
Riley Cline, a defensive back with a versatile skillset, from Custer County High School in Miles City, MT, is a standout three-sport athlete, who excels both on the field and in the classroom. Cline's ability to contribute effectively on both offense and defense makes him a valuable addition to the Dickinson State secondary. With his versatility and effectiveness, Cline will bring a new level of athleticism to the team.
Ty Cowell, a bruising offensive lineman from Sweet Grass County High School in Big Timber, MT, is a two-way lineman for the Herders. Cowell will bring his physicality to the Blue Hawks' offensive line. He excels at finishing blocks and moving defenders, making him a valuable asset to the Dickinson State offensive front. Ty's dominant play style will add strength to the team's running game, giving the Blue Hawks a formidable presence in the trenches.
Joey DeMarco, a seasoned defensive back from Minnesota State CTC in Oswego, IL, brings a wealth of experience to the Blue Hawks, having already played two years of college football. His ability to make tackles in the open field and play both man and zone coverages make him a valuable addition to the Dickinson State defense. DeMarco's experience and versatile playing style make him a valuable asset to the team, and his contributions will help solidify the Blue Hawks' secondary.
Gage Gilbert, a promising tight end from Harding County High School in Buffalo, SD, had a standout senior year and brings excellent length and footwork to the Blue Hawks. He's a reliable target with strong hands, and his academic and athletic achievements make him a valuable addition to the Dickinson State program. Gage is the son of former Blue Hawk Matt Gilbert and continues the family legacy at Dickinson State. With his combination of size, athleticism, and strong work ethic, Gilbert will be a valuable asset to the team's passing attack.
Hudsen Grovom, a talented quarterback from Helena Capital High School in Helena, MT, was a key player in the Bruins' state championship run and brings his excellent pocket passing skills to the Blue Hawks. He comes from a football-rich family, with his brother Bridger having played quarterback for Dickinson State and his dad Ryan having played quarterback at Montana State. Grovom's family background and strong arm make him a valuable addition to the Blue Hawks' quarterback position. His skills and leadership qualities will be an asset to the team, and he has the potential to make an immediate impact in the Dickinson State program.
Eli Hanson, a versatile defensive lineman from Malta High School in Malta, MT, made a comeback in his senior year after missing his junior year due to injury, showcasing his skills and athleticism as a two-way player at both defensive end and tight end for the Mustangs. His combination of size and versatility will make him a valuable addition to the Dickinson State defense. With his drive and determination, Hanson has the potential to make a significant impact on the Blue Hawks' defensive front. He brings a physical presence to the field and will be a force to be reckoned with in the trenches.
Connor Hash, a highly-touted defensive back from Shepherd High School in Shepherd, MT, was a dominant force in high school and earned recognition for his athleticism with All-State Selection and two-time All Conference honors, as well as being selected to play in the prestigious East-West Shrine Game. With his positive attitude and coachable nature, Hash is sure to bring a winning mentality to the Blue Hawks. His coverage skills, athleticism, and physicality make him a valuable addition to the Dickinson State secondary. Expect Hash to be a playmaker on the field and to bring a level of competitiveness that will push his teammates to reach new heights.
Brady Kennedy, a wide receiver from Coronado High School in Las Vegas, NV, is a skilled route runner with good speed. He averaged over 18 yards per catch during his senior season and is capable of getting open against both man and zone coverages. He is also known for his athleticism and toughness, allowing him to make tough catches in traffic. Brady is a former US National Team Alumni and a 1st Team All-State honoree.
Zecha King, an outside linebacker from Cheyenne Central High School in Cheyenne, WY, is a talented athlete with a high motor. He played in a variety of positions in high school and is known for his quick burst and tackling abilities in the open field. He was honored with All-Conference recognition and the Most Improved Player of the Year award.
Kellen McClure, a defensive back from Mission High School in St. Ignatius, MT, is a multi-sport athlete who helped lead his team to its first state title game in 74 years. He played both quarterback and defensive back for the Bulldogs and is also one of the top returning javelin throwers in Montana. He will compete for the Dickinson State track team and has ties to the program through his former coach, Carson Oakland.
Jaymn Medlock, a defensive back from Montana Tech (Billings West High) in Billings, MT, is an excellent athlete with a high football IQ. He was a powerful running back in high school and will be transitioning to safety at Dickinson State. He has already been involved in the winter conditioning program and is known for his contagious personality.
Steven Ortiz will bring a boost to the offensive line for Dickinson State University. He was an All-Conference junior college player at Pasadena City College and was named the Offensive Lineman of the Year for his team last season. He plays with a big motor, is tough, and has great quickness and balance. He was one of the leaders on his team and is ready to play at a high level.
Shel Osborne was highly anticipated as a recruit since being seen at a team camp as a sophomore. He had an incredible playing career at Laurel High School and helped lead his team to a State Championship. Although a knee injury cut his senior year short, he is already with the team this spring and his presence in the middle of the defense is eagerly awaited. He was a First Semester Dean's List student and a 4x All-Conference Academic, 3x All-State LB.
William Rollins is a transfer that will be able to make an immediate impact on the offensive line. He was NSAA 2nd Team All-Conference last season and made the Dean's list in 2018. He is athletic and durable and was one of the better linemen in the conference. He will bring maturity and experience to the offensive line.