Diggers sign Saraceni, 9 others from Montana

Montana Tech football coach Chuck Morrell announced the signing of 10 more recruits today.

The latest group is made up of 10 Montana high school players. The Orediggers have signed 22 players in the 2013 recruiting class so far.

“Things are moving very fast for us in the recruiting process right now,” Morrell said. “I believe we have secured some excellent commitments that bring balance to our team as a whole.”

The lone offensive signee in the group is one of the fastest high school products in the state. Nolan Saraceni, a standout football and track star from Billings Senior, will play running back for the Orediggers next fall.

Last spring, Saraceni led Billings Senior to an AA State Track Championship. He took home gold medals in the 100-, 200-meters and the 400-meter relay for the Broncos. His season and personal best in the 100 was 10.9 seconds.

The 5-foot-9, 195 pound speedster only played in eight games on the gridiron last fall, but still led the state in rushing (1,291 yards) and all-purpose yards (1,781). On kick returns, he averaged 34.9 yards per return ranking second in the state. He also had 15 touchdowns on the season. Saraceni was selected first team All-State for the Broncos and was invited to play in the East West Shrine Game this summer.

The son of Scott and Helena, Saraceni plans on majoring in Business at Montana Tech.

Three strong defensive commitments come to the Orediggers from the tough Glacier High School squad from last season. Rial Gunlikson, Reid Siderius and Shelton Todd will wear green and white next season.

Gunlikson, a 6-1, 190 pound strong safety, was a standout and team captain in the secondary for the Wolfpack who played deep into the AA State playoffs this past fall. As a junior, he was selected second team All-Conference and an honorable mention All-State. This past season, he was named first team All-State. He will play in both the Shrine Game and the Montana-North Dakota All-Star Game.

Additionally, Gunlikson participates in track and field. He was selected All-Conference in the triple and high jump last spring.

The son of Rial and Kimberly, Gunlikson was named Academic All-State twice in football and track and is a member of the National Honors Society.

Siderius, a 6-4, 185 pound defensive back, will play corner for the Orediggers. Last season, he led the state in interceptions picking eight of the 22 made by the stingy Glacier defense. He was selected first team All-State this fall for the Wolfpack. Like Gunlikson, he will play in both the Shrine Game and the Montana-North Dakota All-Star Game.

The son of Joan and Mike, he brings a 3.7 GPA to Montana Tech and is a member of the National Honors Society. He will major in Applied Health Science.

The final Glacier signee is linebacker and two-time captain Shelton Todd. The 6-3, 210 pound defender was named second team All-Conference and honorable mention All-State last season. He also participated in track and field placing fourth at state last spring in the javelin.

The son of Joseph and Roschelle, he is strong in academics bringing a 3.85 GPA to Tech. He was named Academic All-state three times and is a member of the National Honors Society. He will major in Applied Health Science.

A pair of cross-town rivals from Helena signed with Tech. Levi Dawes of Helena Capital and C.J. Holland of Helena High committed to the Orediggers.

Dawes, a 6-2, 205 pound defensive end, will play linebacker for Tech.

As a junior, Dawes was selected first team All-Conference and second team All-State as a defensive end. Last fall, he was named first team All-State. The four-time Academic All-State honoree will be in Butte for the Shrine Game this summer and is an alternate for the Mon-Dak All-Star Game.

The son of Ray and Staci, he will major in Applied Health Science.

Holland, a 5-11, 190 pound linebacker, is the third Bengal signing with the Orediggers this year. Zach Winfield and Dawson Reardon signed with Tech earlier this year.

The multi-sport athlete participates in track and hockey in addition to football. Most of his success has been on the gridiron. As a junior, Holland earned second team All-Conference and All-State. The Bengal defensive captain was selected the most valuable defensive player on his team this past fall while earning first team All-State. This summer, he will play in the Shrine Game and is an alternate for the Mon-Dak All-Star Game. He was also a Great Falls Tribune Super State Football Team Selection.

The son of Chip and Paula, he will major in Occupational, Safety and Health Administration.

Jess Stenzel, a 6-1, 205 pound defensive end, played high school ball at C.M. Russell. He will move to linebacker for the Orediggers.

Stenzel was named first team All-State last season. The senior captain tied the Rustlers sack record taking the quarterback down 20 times. The Great Falls Tribune named him part of their Super State Team. This summer he will play in the Shrine Game.

The son of Lisa and Jay, he was named Academic All-State three times and a member of the National Honor Society. He will major in Business.

A local commitment, Joey Orrino comes to Tech from Anaconda. The son of Bob and Theresa, Orrino is a 5-10, 275 pound lineman and will play defense for the Orediggers.

In addition to playing both ways for Anaconda, the senior captain was the kicker for the team. He was named second team All-Conference for his kicking. On offense, he was named first team All-Conference. As a defensive tackle, he was selected first team All-State. He also played basketball and track for the Copperheads.

From Missoula, Cole Baker is a 6-1, 165 pound quarterback and defensive back from Big Sky High School. He will play cornerback for Tech.

The all-around athlete set school records in a number of categories from behind center including: passing yards, attempts, completions, completion percentage and touchdowns. Baker also has the longest fumble return record with a 93 yard score.

As a junior, he was selected second team All-Conference as a quarterback and corner. His senior season, he was second team All-State at quarterback and first-team All-State at corner. He is slated to play in the Shrine Game this summer and is an alternate for the Mon-Dak Game.

The son of Bobbi and Jeff, he plans on majoring in Engineering at Tech.

The final commitment is Andy Butcher. The 6-5, 230 pound lineman from Lewistown, will play defensive end for Tech.

The multi-sport athlete is a leader on and off the field. Butcher was a two-time team captain in football and a team captain his senior year in basketball. He is a three-year winner of the Kiwanis Leadership Award, Vice President of the Key Club, Secretary/Treasurer of Student-Council, and a youth mentor for the past four years. The 3.8 GPA student has been named Academic All-State seven times to date.

Weather playing football, basketball, baseball or tennis, he has found success in sports. Butcher is a two-year starter for the American Legion baseball team. As a junior, he was named honorable mention All-Conference as an offensive tackle and second team All-Conference in basketball. He was also named All-Conference in tennis. Thus far his senior year, he was selected second team All-Conference kicker, second team All-Conference offensive tackle, and first team All-State defensive end. Butcher is also playing in the Shrine Game this summer.

The son of Marci and Jason, he will major in Engineering.

“We feel like we have targeted some of the best available players in the state this year and have had a high success rate in getting them on board,” Morrell said. “The future of our program is on solid footing with these student-athletes who excel both on and off the field.”

— Montana Tech Sports Information 1 comment



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  • 16's Pop
    January 29, 2013, 8:48 am

    SARACENI!!!!!!!! Tech hit the JACKPOT. WOW, What a steal. Good luck Nolan, Awesome job Chuck.

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