February 1, 2006
Northwest Football Signs 23 in 2006 Class; Two Division I-AA Transfers Set to Play
MARYVILLE, Mo. -- Northwest Missouri State University head football coach Mel Tjeerdsma announced the signing of 23 high school senior student-athletes to NCAA and Northwest National Letters of Intent today. The list includes players from six different states including eight from the home state of Missouri. Also, two NCAA Division I-AA transfers, Daniel Gabris (St. Louis, Mo.) from Western Illinois University and Thomas Smith (Denver, Colo.) from the University of Northern Colorado, are on the roster to play football in 2006.
"I thought the most important thing was to find guys along the offensive and defensive lines and we did that," said Tjeerdsma. "These interior lineman are impressive with their size and ability. I am really pleased overall with our group of signees."
Following is a look at each individual:
• ALEX ANDERSON (Omaha, Neb.) - Safety, 6-3, 190 lb.
High School: Skutt Catholic Head Coach: Matt Turman Parents: Greg & Ann Anderson Major: Undecided
Notes: Mentioned on the all-state team for both offense and defense ... Honored as all-district and all-conference ... Member of state championship squad ... Named to the academic all-conference team ... Honorary team captain.
Comments from Tjeerdsma: He is a rangy safety with good height. He is a very physical player who hasn't filled out yet physically. He moves well and has good instincts.
• BLAKE BOLLES (Lincoln, Neb.) - Quarterback, 6-4, 190 lb.
High School: Lincoln Southwest Head Coach: Mark King Parents: Lanny & Lana Bolles Major: Business
Notes: Two-year letter winner in football and basketball ... Named to the Honorable Mention All-Nebraska State Team ... An all-city selection ... Tossed for 879 yards and four touchdowns as a senior ... A three-year participant on the baseball team
Comments from Tjeerdsma: Blake has a lot of untapped ability. We are looking forward to his development as a quarterback.
• DAVID CURTIN (Overland Park, Kan.) - Defensive End, 6-3, 235 lb.
High School: Shawnee Mission S. Head Coach: Don Hanna Parents: William & Fiona Curtin Major: Education
Notes: Earned Honorable Mention All-Sunflower League honors as a senior at offensive tackle ... Named to the Honorable Mention All-Sunflower League squad as a junior defensive end.
Comments from Tjeerdsma: Curtin was a good high school player. He has to develop physically as he is a bit undersized. That will be the key for his future.
• DANIEL GABRIS (St. Louis, Mo.) - Linebacker, 6-2, 230 lb.
High School: Lindbergh Head Coach: Tom Beauchamp Parents: Joe & Debbie Gabris Major: Business
Notes: Transfer from Western Illinois University and will be a sophomore at Northwest ... At WIU, totaled three rushes at fullback and also saw action on special teams ... Was a redshirt in 2004 ... As a prep at Lindbergh High, named the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Defensive Player of the Year ... Honored on the first team all-state and all-district squads ... Tallied 127 tackles, 19 tackles-for-a-loss and five sacks as a senior ... Posted 14 tackles in four different games.
Comments from Tjeerdsma: We recruited him out of high school but he chose to go to Western Illinois initially. They put him at fullback and special teams but his real love is linebacker. He is a great hitter and real physical.
• MATT HATCHER (Fountain, Colo.) - Offensive Lineman, 6-3, 270 lb.
High School: Fountain Fort Carson Head Coach: Mitch Johnson Parents: Clay and Lauri Hatcher Major: Undecided
Notes: Tabbed as first team all-conference player two times ... Recognized to the First Team All-Colorado State squad as a senior ... Played in the Colorado All-State game in June ... As a junior, mentioned on the Honorable Mention Team by the Denver Post ... Parents were alumni at Northwest - father, Clay was an offensive lineman for four years from 1980-83.
Comments from Tjeerdsma: He is an outstanding run blocker and really aggressive. He is great off the ball for a lineman.
• CORY HERNANDEZ (Kansas City, Mo.) - Offensive Lineman, 6-2, 270 lb.
High School: Liberty Head Coach: Pat Hansen Parents: Carlos Hernandez & Catherine Wilkes Major: Business
Notes: Honored on the 2005 first team all-state, all-metro, all-district and all-conference squads ... As a junior, named to the first team all-conference, all-district and all-metro teams ... Co-MVP of his team.
Comments from Tjeerdsma: He is a physical player. What he lacks in height, he makes up for in his explosiveness. We need him to develop in the weight room in the offseason.
• WILLIE HORN (Lee's Summit, Mo.) - Linebacker, 6-1, 215 lb.
High School: Blue Springs South Head Coach: Greg Oder Parents: Martha Johnson Major: Business
Notes: Was a first team all-conference and all-area pick ... Named to the Second Team All-Missouri State squad ... Also recognized with all-district and all-metro honors ... Team captain ... Brother of Joe, who is a wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints, and Scorpio, who played on the offensive and defensive line at Missouri Western.
Comments from Tjeerdsma: He came from a very excellent high school program. He is a great hitter and runs very well. We look for him to develop in the weight room. With his brother being at Missouri Western, Willie is familiar with the conference.
• BROCK HOUSTON (Helena, Mo.) - Wide Receiver, 6-5, 200 lb.
High School: Savannah Head Coach: David Kuhl Parents: Kelly & Rita Houston Major: Biological Sciences
Notes: Two-time St. Joseph News Press First Team pick and all-conference honoree ... In 2005, named to the all-state, all-area and all-district teams ... Member of the National Honor Society ... Currently, near the top of several basketball statistical categories such as scoring and rebounding in the MEAC.
Comments from Tjeerdsma: He is a three-sport kid so he is very athletic. He was third in the state high jump. When he concentrates on one sport, he can turn into a very good wide receiver. He has a big body and runs well.
• RYAN JONES (Liberty, Mo.) - Cornerback, 5-11, 170 lb.
High School: Liberty Head Coach: Pan Hansen Parents: Anthony & Terri Jones Major: Physical Education
Notes: Earned First Team All-Missouri State accolades at wide receiver as a senior ... Also in 2005, honored at wide receiver and defensive back first team all-conference ... Team captain ... As a junior, named honorable mention all-conference at DB ... A state qualifier in the long jump as a junior.
Comments from Tjeerdsma: He is an outstanding cornerback. He is pretty well developed for a high school player. He is very fundamentally sound and has the possibility to be a contributor real early.
• BRETT KAISER (Elkhorn, Neb.) - Offensive Lineman, 6-3, 250 lb.
High School: Elkhorn Head Coach: Mark Wortman Parents: Don and Lu Ann Kaiser Major: Business
Notes: Part of a team that made it to the state playoffs ... Named to the all-conference squad ... His brother, Kyle, is a three-year starter at defensive lineman at Northwest and returns in 2006.
Comments from Tjeerdsma: He has a nice frame and has the possibility to develop his strength and speed in our weight program. He has a really good motor and plays hard. If he plays like his brother Kyle did, he will be a great addition for us.
• RYAN LESSMAN (Sioux City, Iowa) - Offensive Lineman, 6-2, 275 lb.
High School: East Head Coach: Steve Zediker Parents: Randy & Susan Lessman Major: Exercise Science
Notes: Honored on the Coaches and Associated Press Second Team All-State squad ... Named to the First Team All-Northwest Iowa team ... All-conference and all-city selections ... Three-time academic all-conference pick ... Cousin of current assistant coach Curt Lessman.
Comments from Tjeerdsma: He is a good player but we have to develop his speed and agility. He is aggressive and uses his hands well. His dad was an outstanding punter at the University of Nebraska, so he comes from a family of good athletes.
• CLINT MOORE (Princeton, Mo.) - Running Back, 6-1, 185 lb.
High School: Princeton Head Coach: Chris Holt Parents: Richard & Terri Moore Major: Agriculture
Notes: An unanimous selection on the first-team all-conference team at both running back and defensive back in 2004 & 2005 ... Associated Press First Team All-State pick ... Two-time all-district honoree ... Helped lead the team to a conference championship as a sophomore when he returned an interception for a touchdown ... In 2004, won district honors in four different track events ... Conference champion in the 200-meter.
Comments from Tjeerdsma: He was a great running back at Princeton. He will have to develop size-wise to be a great college player. But he has good speed with excellent quickness.
• NATE RAFFETY (Omaha, Neb.) - Tight End, 6-4, 240 lb.
High School: Millard West Head Coach: Kirk Petersen Parents: Cheryl & Jeff Raffety Major: Business
Notes: All-district selection ... Team captain ... Part of a squad to make it to the state playoffs ... Earned all-america honors as a swimmer ... State swimming champion.
Comments from Tjeerdsma: We signed him as a tight end and we will see how he projects there. He runs very well for a big guy. He was primarily used as a blocker in high school so he is solid in that area.
• ERIC RICKERT (Omaha, Neb.) - Offensive Lineman, 6-4, 290 lb.
High School: Millard West Head Coach: Kirk Peterson Parents: Ray & Andrea Rickert Major: Business
Notes: Mentioned on the Lincoln Journal Star All-State and Omaha World Herald Second Team All-State squads ... All-metro pick ... As a track athlete, honored on the All-Metro Academic Team ... Placed second in State Class A shot put.
Comments from Tjeerdsma: He is a solid offensive lineman but has to develop his agility. He was a great high school shot put athlete in Nebraska. He will be a track and field athlete at Northwest.
• SHAYNE SHADE (Des Moines, Iowa) - Defensive Lineman, 6-1, 265 lb.
High School: Roosevelt Head Coach: Joe Hornback Parents: Marlene Shade & Brian Harris Major: Engineering
Notes: Mentioned on the Des Moines Register Second Team All-State squad ... In his final three seasons, voted unanimously as a first team all-conference defensive tackle ... Ended his career with 33 tackles-for-a-loss and eight sacks ... Participated in wrestling and the shot put as a sophomore ... Currently undefeated as a wrestler in the Iowa heavyweight division.
Comments from Tjeerdsma: He was really an outstanding high school player. He has great natural strength and good balance and agility for a big guy. He will contribute early for this team.
• THOMAS SMITH (Denver, Colo.) - Linebacker, 6-0, 230 lb.
High School: Montbello Head Coach: David Gonzales Parents: Thomas Smith & Letitia Watts Major: Exercise Science
Notes: Transfer from the University of Northern Colorado and will be a senior at Northwest ... Played three years at UNC, but redshirted in 2005 with an injury ... Picked to the Honorable Mention All-Great West team in 2004 ... Ranked third on the team with 95 total tackles, including 11.5 tackles-for-a-loss ... Ended UNC career with 176 total tackles and 6.5 sacks ... At Montebello HS, named to the First Team All-Denver Prep League squad ... Among the state tackle leaders in Class 5A ... Picked twice to the all-city team.
Comments from Tjeerdsma: He was an outstanding player at Northern Colorado, starting three years. We look for him to be a major contributor. He has already shown some leadership skills since he has been here.
• KYLE SUNDERMAN (Papillion, Neb.) - Defensive End, 6-4, 230 lb.
High School: Papio Head Coach: Gene Suhr Parents: Frank & Becky Sunderman Major: Business
Notes: Recognized on the Omaha World Herald Second Team All-Super State squad ... Earned Class A All-State and all-district honors ... Team captain ... Member of a state playoff team ... Honored on all-state squad playing baseball ... His brother, Mike was an all-conference football pick and sister, Abby was a three-time All-MIAA volleyball selection at Northwest.
Comments from Tjeerdsma: He was recruited by other schools as a tight end but we got him as a defensive end. He is well developed as a high school player and could be an early contributor. He has outstanding speed and uses his hands well for his size.
• AARON TERRY (Omaha, Neb.) - Defensive Lineman, 6-0, 265 lb.
High School: North Elkhorn Head Coach: Larry Martin Parents: George & Robin Weingaertener Major: Undecided
Notes: Earned Omaha World Herald Super All-State honors as a senior ... Team captain ... Named to the all-metro squad ... Part of a district championship team ... Metro Defensive Lineman of the Year as a junior ... Advanced to the state wrestling meet all four years ... Posted a 25-1 record at heavyweight as a senior ... The nephew of defensive coordinator Scott Bostwick and graduate assistant Chad Bostwick.
Comments from Tjeerdsma: He has a great motor and always plays hard. He gives effort all the time like a Chad Bostwick. What he lacks in his height, he makes up for in his aggressiveness.
• ALEX TOMES (Sioux City, Iowa) - Defensive Lineman, 6-3, 248 lb.
High School: East Head Coach: Steve Zediker Parents: Ron & Maria Livermore Major: Biology
Notes: Voted to the all-state, all-metro and all-conference teams ... Honored on the All-Northwest Iowa Team ... Led the state in all classes with 14 sacks ... Holds the state powerlifting record.
Comments from Tjeerdsma: He is a really good defensive end. He has the ability to make a lot of big plays and gets off the ball extremely well. He is pretty well developed and could be an early contributor.
• ADAM VONDRAK (Sioux City, Iowa) - Linebacker, 6-3, 220 lb.
High School: Heelan Head Coach: Roger Jansen Parents: Greg & Anna Vondrak Major: Business Management
Notes: As a senior, named to the first team all-state, first team all-conference and first team all-metro squads ... Team captain ... In 2004, honored on the second team all-conference club ... Member of the Academic Honor Roll.
Comments from Tjeerdsma: He comes from a long line of good high school players. We like his physicalness and see him as an inside linebacker. He is a really good hitter and one to two years away in his development from playing a lot.
• DANE WARDENBURG (Creston, Iowa) - Offensive Lineman, 6-6, 230 lb.
High School: Creston Head Coach: Dick Bergtron Parents: Phil & Anita Wardenburg Major: Business
Notes: A three-year letter winner in football, baseball and basketball ... As a senior, named to the Third Team All-Iowa State squad and First Team All-District 8 club ... Earned First Team All-District 8 and first team all-conference laurels as a junior ... Honorable mention all-conference in basketball and baseball ... Team captain in football and basketball in his final season.
Comments from Tjeerdsma: He is a prototypical offensive lineman. He has a big frame, great feet and has lots of room for growth. His future development is looking good.
• JASON WISEMAN (Garden City, Mo.) - Offensive Lineman, 6-5, 225 lb.
High School: Harrisonville Head Coach: Fred Bouchard Parents: Mike & Cathy Wiseman Major: Undecided
Notes: As a senior, named First Team Coaches All-Missouri State and first team all-district ... First team all-conference and all-district selection two straight years ... Second team all-state as a junior ... Part of a team to win state titles in 2005 and 2003.
Comments from Tjeerdsma: Both the Wiseman kids came out of a great Harrisonville program with two state championship titles in three seasons. Both have great feet for offensive lineman. They have great potential and run very well.
• STEVEN WISEMAN (Garden City, Mo.) - Offensive Lineman, 6-5, 225 lb.
High School: Harrisonville Head Coach: Fred Bouchard Parents: Mike & Cathy Wiseman Major: Undecided
Notes: In 2005, honored on the Third Team Coaches All-Missouri State club ... Recognized as a unanimous first team all-conference pick in 2005 ... Second team all-district as a senior and third team all-district in 2004 ... Part of a team to win state titles in 2005 and 2003.
Comments from Tjeerdsma: Both the Wiseman kids came out of a great Harrisonville program with two state championship titles in three seasons. Both have great feet for offensive lineman.. They have great potential and run very well.
• DeANDRE WOMACK (St. Louis, Mo.) - Linebacker, 5-10, 180 lb.
High School: Lutheran North Head Coach: Jim Manton Parents: John & Karla Hogan Major: Business
Notes: Named as a First Team All-Conference pick among Lutheran schools ... Recognized on the Honorable Mention All-Metro team in St. Louis.
Comments from Tjeerdsma: He is similar to a Willie Horn (signed this year). He runs well and is an outstanding hitter. A couple years down the road, he can be a really good player for us.
• TRISTAN YOUNG (Arlington, Tex.) - Wide Receiver, 6-0, 185 lb.
High School: Oakridge Academy Head Coach: Phillip Farhat Parents: William & Beverly Ver Steeg Major: Business
Notes: As a senior, named to the Honorable Mention All-Southwest Prepatory Conference squad ... Team captain ... Played in the Tom Hillary Dallas-Fort Worth Classic All-Star game.
Comments from Tjeerdsma: He has a very good frame, pretty well developed for a high school receiver. He has excellent hands and runs well after the catch. He is following the line of good receivers out of the state of Texas.
• Blake BOWLS
• David CUR - tin
• Daniel GABERS
• Nate RAFF - eh - tee
• Eric RICK - ert
• Kyle SUN - der - man
• Alex TOHM - es
• Adam VON - drak
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