2019 Final Top 50 Montana Recruits (30-21)

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2019 Final Top 50 Montana Recruits (30-21)

Post by VimSince03 » Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:22 pm

30.) Noah Ambuehl – Great Falls Central Catholic (6’3”, 220 lbs.)


• UM signee - TE
• 2018 C 8-Man All-State
• 2017 Class C 8-Man 2nd Team All-Conference – QB
• 2018 GFT Super-State – TE
• 2018 Badlands selection - TE
• 2018 Shrine Game alternate – TE
• 2018 All-State Class C basketball
• 2018 State Track Placer – 1st in Shot Put (49’8.25”)
• 2017 State Track Placer – 4th in Shot Put (47’6.5”)
• 3rd ranked TE; 7th ranked QB

On Ambuehl: Great Falls Central Catholic made the 8-Man title game this past fall and a major reason why was the play and leadership of Noah Ambuehl. The three-sport athlete played QB for the Mustangs and produced at an all-state level in 2018. As a QB, he made plays with his arm and legs. Noah has one of the best arms of any QB in this class. He throws a beautiful deep ball and a very catchable ball in general. Noah was tough to bring down in the run game when he tucked and ran. This aspect of his game showcased his future ability as a TE as he wasn’t afraid to be physical and throw his body around. To further showcase his TE potential, Noah is an all-state basketball player starring at center for the Mustang basketball team. Since he doesn’t have a ton of tape playing strictly TE/WR, it is mostly a projection for the next level. I think he could improve the consistency of his physical style of play because sometimes his demeanor shows as passive on film. Noah is not fast or explosive as an athlete and will have to rely on being proficient in route running to overcome those deficiencies at the next level. However, he has natural athletic ability, has the body/feet to develop into a solid in-line blocker, shows toughness upon contact, and has excellent fundamental strength to build upon. An easy player comp. for Noah would be former Griz Greg Hardy and if he ends up having a career like Greg’s, the Griz got a steal.

29.) Casey Gunlikson – Big Timber (5’11”, 165 lbs.)


• MSU Track signee
• 2x Class B All-State
• 2018 Shrine Game alternate – DB
• 2018 State Track Placer –1st in 100M (11..09); 1st in 200M (22.4); 1st in 300H (38.85)
• 2018 – ran 3rd fastest time in the state in 100M (10.89), 2nd fastest in 200M (22.02), and 2nd fastest in 300H (38.85)
• 2017 State Track Placer – 2nd in 100M (11.3); 6th in 200M; 3rd in 300H
• 6th ranked WR; 7th ranked S

On Gunlikson: Casey is one of the most explosive athletes in the state…period. Anytime a kid runs a sub 11 second 100M dash while also being all-state on the football field, the kid automatically becomes a prospect worth recruiting. Big Timber was a run-heavy team during Casey’s career which hurt his overall receiving numbers. But the run-heavy approach showcased his explosiveness as a runner and athlete. In their scheme, Casey would usually go in motion and simply get the ball on jet sweeps with a bunch of pulling from the offensive line. He would have to read blocks while getting up field decisively and Casey shined. His acceleration is off the charts, leaving defenders playing catch up. Casey has an infectious energy with the ball in his hands similar to current Griz Gabe Sulser. It always felt like he was going to score every time he touched the ball. His explosiveness also showed up in making contested catches (jump balls) and covering the field at safety (could cover a lot of ground with his closing speed). For a negative, I believe he relied on his athleticism over technique too much in high school. It showed up in his route-running as a WR and pass coverage as a safety at times. Overall, Casey’s best positions in college would have been slot WR or either safety or corner. In my opinion, he was the most underrated football player in the state in 2018, only receiving an alternate selection in the Shrine Game (will likely play in the Class B All-Star game). But Casey accepted a track scholarship to MSU where he legitimately has a bright future in the sprints and/or hurdles. I understand track athletes don’t automatically make good football players but the Sheepherders wouldn’t have had the same success in 2018 without Casey. Kids with Casey's speed and football ability don't come around very often so I was surprised he wasn't more heavily recruited for football.

28.) Blaise Meriwether – Missoula Sentinel (6’0”, 195 lbs.)


• 2018 2nd Team All-State AA – S
• 2017 2nd Team All-State AA - S
• 2018 Shrine Game selection – S
• 6th ranked S

On Meriwether: "Blaise is a punishing hitter at safety with good size. When he correctly diagnoses a run play, he's fully committed and meets the ball carrier with the attitude of a linebacker. Blaise shows sound technique when tackling with a good wrap on impact while bringing his hips through the tackle. If a play broke free, he did a good job of taking the proper angle when running down a play to make sure it didn't go for a touchdown. In coverage, Blaise shows fluid hips in transition with a smooth backpedal. He was never physically outmatched in coverage against bigger receivers or tight ends. Blaise is a forceful striker at safety that made his presence felt in nearly every game he started. The main things that held him back had to do with anticipation and instincts. Blaise showed a willingness to gamble with his eyes during high school and it lead to big plays, specifically in the run game. When he hesitated in diagnosing plays, blockers washed him out with relative ease and that was mostly due to not reading blocks early enough. Blaise's aggressive style of play lead to him coming in hot as a tackler more often than not which lead to many big hits but also missed tackles, over-pursuit of plays, and poor angles against the run. Overall, when Blaise plays under control and diagnoses plays correctly, he checks a ton of boxes as a safety prospect. Teams may view him as an OLB which is why he reminds me of his former Sentinel teammate Brandon Morley, who is currently at MT Tech. Whatever he decides to do for college, Blaise has tools to work with at safety or linebacker to develop at the next level."

27.) Logan Kennedy – Laurel (6’2”, 205 lbs.)


• 2018 Class A All-State – TE/LB
• 2017 Class A 2nd Team All-Conference – TE
• 2018 Badlands alternate - TE
• 2018 Shrine Game selection – TE
• 2nd ranked TE; 6th ranked LB

On Kennedy: "If you want a tight end who can get open against linebackers while providing a physical presence in the run game, Logan is your guy. He fits the mold of a "move" TE who can block in-line, as a H-back across the formation, or in space. Logan is physical at the point of attack and shows a desire to run through defenders. As a receiver, he lines up all over the place depending on the formation. Logan isn't overly sudden or quick but finds ways to get open. He has sneaky build-up speed when running vertical routes, specifically the seam route. Logan was used on bubble-screens as a receiver and blocker, further showcasing his versatility on offense. His ball skills standout as he makes plenty of contested catches throughout his highlight tape. Logan’s aggressive style of play also shows up plenty as a stand-up OLB/DE. A downhill defender who thrives on being physical. His length and acceleration cause problems for ball carriers and blockers. However, Logan also has room for improvement. He needs more technique work and experience as a lateral blocker. Logan consistently gave away his frame as a blocker, specifically on outside run plays or screen passes. What I mean by "giving away his frame" is not using his length and strength consistently to his advantage. To not give away his frame, Logan simply needs to play more under control. He already has the physical part of the game down. He needs to work on sustaining blocks as he usually goes for the knock-out hit instead of latching on and finishing. As a blocker, his footwork is inconsistent and kind of all over the place. When his technique lines up correctly, Logan blocks with good pad level and rolls his hips at the point of attack. When his technique breaks down, he plays with a high pad level and shows a tendency to reach or whiff on blocks (giving away his frame). As a receiver, Logan’s route running could improve by dipping his hips more in and out of his breaks. He will need to work on “selling” his routes more consistently to have a better chance at success in college as players will be bigger/faster. Overall, Logan is a dangerous weapon on offense. He also pancaked plenty of defenders during high school because of his "kick some ass" mentality. Logan has a long-limbed frame which has room for growth which bodes well for his projected college position of TE/HB. A good player comp. for Logan would be former Carroll College TE Eric Dawson who played his final season last fall. Eric was a smooth athlete out of CMR who was more aggressive than technical in his approach to football. Coach Van Diest recruited him to Carroll, made him a TE/HB, improved his blocking technique, and turned him into first-team all-conference player. If Logan makes the same improvements to his technique, he has the chance to be just as good as Eric in college.”

26.) Andrew Siderius – Kalispell Flathead (6’3”, 255 lbs.)


• 2018 1st Team All-State AA – OL, 2nd Team - DL
• 2017 HM All-State AA – DE
• 2018 1st Team All-USA Today Montana – OL
• 2018 GFT Super-State – OL
• 2018 Badlands selection - OL
• 2018 Shrine Game selection – OL
• 3rd ranked exterior OL; 3rd ranked DT

On Siderius: "Andrew is another intriguing high school prospect from Kalispell Flathead. His 6’4”, 245 lb. frame is rather lean and has plenty of room for growth and development. Andrew flashes excellent athleticism, strength, and technique on both sides of the ball. He was a right tackle his junior and senior seasons at Flathead and he projects at that position as well as both guard spots in college. Andrew gets out of his stance and into his work quickly. He has a wide frame with good mass and length for the offensive line. This helps him anchor against the bull-rush. Andrew excels at the blocks that require good athleticism. He gets up field to lead the charge on screens, races to get his feet in proper position on reach blocks, pulls with an attitude, and slides his feet through contact to ride edge rushers out of the play. In pass pro, he reads and reacts well to d-line stunts. In the run game, Andrew generates sound movement, running his feet through contact. He can execute a wide variety of blocks and he knows how to finish with some mean. For improvements, Andrew needs to be more consistent with his hand positioning in pass pro and while run blocking. He defaults to swallowing opponents with wide hands/arms which can work against inferior high school defensive lineman but will not work in college. Andrew can improve this by simply establishing hand positioning early in a rep and making arm extension/locking out a priority each rep. Andrew could also show a little more knee bend in pass pro. As an interior defensive lineman, Andrew has good overall strength in his upper/lower body and shows the ability to stifle offensive lineman in one-on-one situations. When initiating contact off the snap, he keeps his head up and eyes beyond the initial point of attack. This allows him play with good depth and not run up-field out of plays (too many explosive high school defensive lineman do this). Because of his point-of-attack strength and ability to keep his awareness at the line of scrimmage, Andrew can play into gaps and cause disruption. He also generates good pocket push as a bull-rusher. His best trait is his motor and willingness to pursue plays out of his area at top speed. As for things to improve, he needs to become better at beating double teams as he will get washed out by trying to fight two linemen instead of only focusing on controlling one. His only pass-rush move is a bull-rush so he has room to add to his arsenal. Overall, the kid plays hard on both sides of the ball and has an awesome frame to develop on either side of the line at the next level. As an offensive lineman, he already excels on the move which has become more important in modern offensive schemes. As a defensive lineman, he flashes disruptive potential that should make any college coach intrigued. Andrew is another underrated player that had a great senior season so it will be interesting to see where he ends up in college."

25.) Colten McPhee – Columbia Falls (5’9”, 200 lbs.)


• UM-Western signee – RB/LB
• 2x Class A All-State
• 2018 1st Team All-USA Today Montana – RB
• 2018 Shrine Game selection – RB
• 324 carries for 3114 yards; 46 touchdowns (Sr./Jr. years)
• 26 receptions for 529 yards; 8 touchdowns (Sr./Jr. years)
• Averaged 182 yards from scrimmage per game during his two years of varsity
• 185 total tackles; 5.5 sacks; 7 PBUs; 1 interception (Sr./Jr. years)
• 2018 MHSA State Wrestling – Qualified (182 lb. class)
• 2016 MHSA State Wrestling – Qualified (160 lb. class)
• 6th ranked RB; 5th ranked LB

On McPhee: "Not many prospects matched the production level of Colton McPhee on both sides of the ball in 2018. In fact, an ordinary game for Colton his senior season was 200 scrimmage yards, 4 touchdowns, and 15+ tackles on defense. The kid is built like a rock with a short/stout frame along with excellent lower body strength. As a running back, Colton shows elite power and balance. He excels at running between the tackles with a punishing but patient running style. Colton’s patience is displayed when he correctly follows his blocks on power, trap, or dive plays. When he sees the hole, he is not hesitant and will cut & go with a good burst. Colton runs angry and seeks out contact. He is not a runner who likes to go out of bounds willingly. Colton is tough to tackle due to excellent lower body strength and his ability to make first contact with a defender (he doesn’t let tacklers lay the first hit without a fight). This also makes him hard to arm tackle and leads to him creating yards when they aren’t available. Defenders make business decisions when they meet Colton at the line of scrimmage. He’s a better athlete than given credit for as he shows good cutting ability between the tackles and a consistent burst when seeing a crease in the defense. A steady contributor as a receiver out of the backfield which makes him even more complete as a running back. Colton is comfortable getting the ball in different formations out of the backfield meaning he has a good understanding of the overall offensive scheme. As a linebacker, many of the things that make him a great running back translate over to defense. Colton rarely waits for ball carries to initiate contact and instead makes a ton of plays in the backfield or line of scrimmage. He does a good job of diagnosing plays quickly as a middle linebacker which makes up for his shortcomings in size and speed. Colton uses his lower body strength and wrestling background to play under opponents’ pads and beat blocks consistently. He also shows a special ability to keep his eyes trained on the final target rather than the blocker coming at him while still knowing how to shed the oncoming block. Colton rarely over-pursues plays which makes him one of the best tacklers in this class. The only real deficiencies in his game come with his lack of size (length) and speed. His size got him washed out of run plays against larger lineman despite his best efforts as a player. If he didn’t diagnose a play correctly, he struggled to recover due to his lack of recovery speed. Colton also wasn’t asked to play a ton of man coverage in Columbia Falls’ defensive scheme as he mostly hung out around the line of scrimmage. Despite those deficiencies, Colton’s tackle production and impact play ability on both sides of the ball was staggering. Recruiters likely had to weigh his consistent ability to make plays with his modest speed as an athlete. I’m assuming UM or MSU never really gave him a shot but Montana-Western got a huge commitment from him prior to Christmas. I would like to see him line up at RB as he reminds me a ton of former Bobcat Cody Kirk. My #1 favorite thing about Colton is that he has over 45 minutes of highlight tape from his junior and senior year and nearly every play is teaching tape for playing RB or LB. I would not be surprised to see him make a name for himself at Western before his career is up."

24.) Rylan Ortt – Missoula Sentinel (6’2”, 185 lbs.)


• 2018 1st Team All-State AA – ATH
• 2018 Badlands alternate - QB
• 2018 Shrine Game selection – QB
• Career Passing – 326/511 for 4088 yards; 34 touchdowns/20 interceptions
• Career Rushing – 287 carries for 1262 yards; 26 touchdowns
• 2018 State Track Placer – 2nd in Javelin (182’5”)
• 2017 State Track Placer – 2nd in Javelin (181’6”)
• 3rd ranked QB

On Ortt: When Mitch Roberts (current Griz WR) took his final snaps for Sentinel two years ago, Dane Oliver had to find another dual-threat QB to run his explosive offense. Rylan Ortt stepped into the lead role in the fall of 2017 and never looked back. Prior to taking over the starting QB job in the fall, Rylan was coming off a 2nd place finish at State AA track in the javelin so most coaches knew he had the arm strength prior to him taking any meaningful varsity snaps. But his running ability and prototypical size really allowed Sentinel to not miss a beat on offense after the graduation of Mitch Roberts. As a QB prospect, Rylan arm is lively and can spin it well. He kind of has a side-arm throwing motion but the ball comes out with a flick of the wrist with good velocity (not a ton of wasted motion). Rylan throws a good deep ball with good touch off play fakes. When he loads up to throw it deep, you can tell his javelin technique comes across in his throwing motion. His pocket presence is decent and improved from his junior to senior year. But Rylan’s value comes in his ability to improv when the pocket breaks down. He improved his ability to keep his eyes downfield while scrambling during his starting career. Throughout his senior tape, you can tell Rylan’s scrambling forced corners to choose between sticking on their receiver or coming up in run support…and Rylan knew he could use that to his advantage. He reduced his turnover rate from his junior to senior year which is encouraging. He also started at safety during his senior year and used his natural athleticism to adequately compete at the position in AA. However, if Rylan wants to compete at QB at the next level, he needs to continue to progress in several areas. When the play is in rhythm, Rylan’s technique from the ground up looks good. When things aren’t in rhythm, his footwork and arm-motion are erratic, and his accuracy suffers. He throws a good deep ball but it will float on him at times causing opportunities for easy turnovers. I’m fine with his low release point but it can lead to an increased number of tipped passes and tougher angles to make every throw. Rylan’s arm strength is great but his arm talent is lacking as I don’t see him make every throw on the field consistently. He is a better QB outside the pocket which isn’t a bad thing but will need to prove he can win from both. Rylan operates best out of a RPO/play-action based offense but he could be more dangerous if he sold play-action more effectively. As a runner, he has a knack for making plays but is not a home-run threat on the ground which I think hurt his recruitment from UM/MSU. As a safety prospect, he just needs more experience as he is a willing hitter but his angles in coverage and run support need work. Overall, Rylan is a fantastic athlete who has two years of valuable starting experience under center. He’s a great kid who knows how to lead by example and is willing to put his team on his back until the final whistle. As far as where he plays in college, that is still up in the air. Rylan's accuracy is clearly spotty so teams must decide the level of accuracy they are willing to live with relative to his ability to create explosive plays. I view him as a versatile player that could develop at QB, WR, or FS. Rylan’s best football is still ahead of him and he can provide a ton of value to a roster due to his position versatility and ability to make plays.

23.) Tanner Trafton – Lewistown (6’5”, 190 lbs.)


• MSU signee – WR
• 2018 Class A All-State - WR
• 2017 Class A 1st Team All-Conference – WR
• 2018 Badlands alternate – WR
• 32 receptions for 564 yards; 4 touchdowns (senior year)
• 2018 1st Team All-State Class A basketball
• 2017 2nd Team All-State Class A basketball
• 2018 State Track Placer – 2nd in 800M (2:00.35)
• 5th ranked WR

On Trafton: Tanner is one of the best student-athletes in the state as he excels in the classroom (4.0) as much as he does in sports. He’s a three-sport athlete who has earned all-state recognition in both basketball and football. Tanner is a tall, lanky athlete who upped his football recruitment with eye-opening performances at UM/MSU football camps this past summer. His ball skills really stand out on film as he effortlessly tracks the ball and can make late contortions to win catch positioning. Tanner is the best hands catcher in this class meaning he rarely (if ever) lets the ball hit his chest or get into his body. An excellent high school rebounder who uses springs and basketball timing to naturally snatch it at the highest point possible. Upon securing the catch, he is quick to tuck the ball to avoid any chance for incompletions or turnovers. Tanner doesn’t have sprinter speed but has a steady pace which makes him a threat on deep routes when mixed with his ball skills. He creates separation against linebackers on deep crossing routes. Tanner has good awareness to work with his quarterback to get open when the play breaks down. His length and ball skills are intriguing, but he'll need to improve in several areas to make it on the field in college. Tanner lacks speed and doesn’t move with enough suddenness to consistently beat press coverage, sell short/intermediate routes, or get on top of deep coverage. His short-area movement appears labored and sluggish on film. Tanner doesn’t show a ton of elusiveness after the catch and has an on/off switch to his level of physicality. He also has a lot of wasted movement in his footwork and arms when he fires off the line of scrimmage into routes. The good news is Tanner can improve all these areas through a heavy dose of speed/weight training as well as putting more urgency and focus into all facets of his route running. He needs to add mass and get stronger as Tanner’s aggressiveness/physicality will be tested early and often at the next level. Tanner has the size and tools to work with, but he'll need to play to his size and continue to improve as a route runner to be successful in college. If he can carve out a niche as a red-zone threat, add strength, and develop a more aggressive mindset, Tanner should have a productive career at MSU. It will be interesting to see him play football when his body goes through a college-level training plan for a year or two.

22.) Ryan Simpson – Bozeman (6’6”, 190 lbs.)


• UM signee – WR
• 2018 1st Team All-State AA – WR, HM All-State – CB
• 2018 2nd Team All-USA Today Montana – WR
• 2018 GFT Super-State – WR
• 2018 Badlands selection - WR
• 2018 Shrine Game selection – WR
• 65 receptions for 922 yards; 12 touchdowns (senior year)
• 4 interceptions (senior year)
• 4th ranked WR

On Simpson: Ryan is the other tall, lanky WR prospect in this in-state recruiting class. Most of his traits are similar to Tanner Trafton’s. His ball skills are solid as he consistently secures throws both high and low. Uses his basketball ability to snatch the ball at its highest point. As a taller receiver, Ryan shows good athleticism and urgency in his route running. He does a decent job of dipping his hips on comeback or out routes. Ryan has some wiggle after the catch to make defenders miss in space. He shows good awareness in his route depth on intermediate routes. Ryan isn’t afraid to mix it up in the run game as his blocking improved his senior year. Most of his production came his senior year being one of Bozeman QB Kris Brown’s favorite targets as he averaged a touchdown per game and 14 yards a catch. Much like Tanner, Ryan’s improvements revolve around his lack of speed and thin frame. He doesn’t have the jets to climb past coverage and separate. He lost some battles with sub-6’0” AA corners on jump balls which simply shouldn’t happen with a player of Ryan’s ability. Winning jump balls will be his best asset in college so continual improvement in body positioning on contested catches will be necessary. Ryan will have to prove he can free himself from press corners looking to jam his release and squat on his underneath routes (which are some of his best). He has great balls skills but not as consistent of a hands catcher than other prospects in this class (lets the ball into his body). He still didn’t have a ton of drops…just something to work on. Like Tanner, Ryan’s short-area movement appears labored and sluggish at times on film…feels like there is an on/off switch. Overall, Ryan is a more aggressive and physical receiver than Tanner which is why I have him ranked slightly ahead of him. He’s another kid that can develop into a weapon in the red-zone at the next level but he’ll need to prove he can be an every-down receiver. I was impressed with his improvements in every area of his game from his junior to senior year. He may be a kid you could develop into a TE because he has an edge to him on top of his receiving skills. As of right now, Ryan is viewed as more of a threat than a weapon. If he can develop into a weapon, he has the ceiling to become an All-Big Sky receiver.

21.) Elias Dewaters – Missoula Sentinel (5’10”, 185 lbs.)


• UM signee – RB/SB
• 2018 HM All-State AA – RB
• 2017 HM All-State AA – RB
• 2018 Shrine Game alternate – RB
• Career Rushing – 388 carries for 2188 yards; 17 touchdowns
• Career Receiving – 67 receptions for 662 yards; 4 touchdowns
• 2017 State Track Placer – 4th in Long Jump (20’8.75”)
• 5th ranked RB

On Dewaters: Elias is an average sized runner with decent rushing talent but tantalizing potential as a pass-catching option out of the backfield. His feet are nimble and sudden. His lateral agility is the best out of any back in the class. His jump cuts are quick and wide and he doesn’t lose much speed while cutting. Elias fully trusts his instincts and shows good patience when running between the tackles in short-yardage situations. He’s more physical than given credit for as he has some juice when he commits downhill displaying good leg drive. As a receiver out of the backfield, Elias already runs college-level angle and flat routes as linebackers could rarely hang with him in coverage. He’s a player that naturally gains separation and can pile on additional yardage after the catch due to his exceptional agility. Elias had good production during his three years of varsity experience and was a steady contributor on special teams throughout high school. I really only believe he has one major deficiency in his game: he’s not a home-run threat and he tries to turn every play into a home-run. Elias is the example of an athlete who is quicker than fast. For example, in track, he isn’t a sprinter but dominates in the jumping events which equates to "quicker than fast." Elias knows his elusiveness is his strength but it can cost him positive yards when looking for open-field juke attempts. He can improve this problem by putting an emphasis on keeping his pads square to the line of scrimmage as much as possible during a play. Elias does flash the ability to take what the play gives him instead of trying to look for the highlight reel run. When he trusts the play and makes that first cut, usually there is daylight. Right now, he is a change of pace back with plus athletic ability and agility, who can be too eager to turn every run into a big play without possessing great straight-line speed. However, Elias has the ceiling to be an every-down back if he continues to improve his overall vision and get stronger. He's a fun player to watch, especially in the passing game, and he could be an early contributor in the return game for the Griz.

"There's two times of year for me: Football season, and waiting for football season."

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