Montana State already picked up 15 recruits from the early signing period in mid-December — 12 of which were in-state recruits — and added five more on national signing day Wednesday.
The in-state aspect is key, especially since three more of MSU’s recruits in the February period are from Bozeman. MSU head coach Brent Vigen said keeping in-state talent is high on the list of priorities for him and his staff while out recruiting.
“I think having a foundation of kids from our state on our roster is very important,” Vigen said. “So identifying guys that we feel can play here, guys that believe that they can play here, that really want to go to school at Montana State, was a big part of this class. And we feel like in-state we’re really proud of the work that we did.
“Each and every one of the Montana guys was on our campus this summer. So yeah, I think (recruiting Montana players is) no question the building block of our class and always will be.”
The Bobcats added Jaden Perkins (OL, Bozeman), Jaren Perkins (OL/DL, Bozeman), Jared White (RB, Frisco, Texas), Luke Abshire, (QB, Spokane, Washington), and Michael Armstrong (WR/DB, Gallatin) on national signing day. MSU also added three transfers in St. John’s wide receiver Ravi Alston, Wyoming quarterback Sean Chambers and Air Force defensive back Dru Polidore in January.
“Obviously with the addition of the December (early) signing day a few years back, that has become the primary signing day where numbers pour in,” Vigen said. “But we are excited to talk about five new additions (Wednesday). Five guys that I think will bring a lot of value to our program in addition to the 15 high school additions from before and the three transfer additions that are currently with us.”
Most notably, MSU picked up several recruits in the wide receiver, offensive line, and defensive back positions from both signing periods. Vigen added that running back was also a position of focus, emphasizing the importance of White to this signing class.
White was a late addition, as Vigen and his staff had planned to get to Frisco and the Dallas/Fort Worth area earlier in 2021. But with last spring being a dead period for recruiting, Vigen said they were only able to briefly visit during MSU’s bye week last fall. And with the Bobcats on a run to the national championship game, they weren’t able to visit in December, either.
However, there was an opening in the last couple weeks where Vigen said they identified White as a player who was “slipping through the cracks.” That was when MSU was able to land a running back that Vigen said will be a key addition to the program.
“Getting Jared into the mix, that was intentional,” Vigen said. “I think it’s a spot you always want to continue to add depth and competition. That running back position is obviously a critical one for our offense, and we feel like Jared has the versatility and the makeup to do some special things moving forward.
“I think by and large we did address all our position groups. But I know that we’ll have a chance to continue to evaluate our roster and add, whether there’s more high school kids out there or potential transfers as this semester unfolds.”
The recruiting process as a whole for this second period was slightly different for MSU, too.
During the early signing day on Dec. 15, Vigen was juggling a few different tasks along with recruiting. Not only were the Bobcats prepping for the FCS playoff semifinals against South Dakota State, but it was also Montana State’s finals week and players like former MSU quarterback Matthew McKay had recently entered the transfer portal.
While Vigen said this February window is a bit slower than the early December window, it also allows for players and coaches to actually take in the moment of signing day. That includes an event Wednesday night with Bobcat Quarterback Club members both in Bozeman and across Montana.
“I think the biggest difference is when you’re playing, you don’t have a chance to catch your breath and celebrate it, which we are (able to) today,” Vigen said.
Vigen added that MSU recruiting is still an “ongoing process,” but he’s excited for what the MSU program has in place with both the December and February additions. That includes high school recruits, transfers and grayshirts such as quarterback Jordan Reed.
“Then you look forward to continuing to add talent, work ethic and character to our program, which I think we have in abundance in the group that we added today and the group that we added in December,” Vigen said. “It never stops. You have 16, 17 seniors move on, you have guys continuing to mature in your program, and you need those guys coming up from the bottom and continue to push everybody and keep the ball rolling.”
Article Source: NBC Right Now