By Bill Foley
Montana Tech football coach Kyle Samson is continuing to collect Butte High Bulldogs.
On Wednesday morning, Samson, who is in his third week on the job, landed Tucker Winston. Surrounded by family and teammates, Winston signed an NAIA National Letter of Intent to join the Orediggers during a short ceremony at the Richardson Gym.
The Butte High senior joins Bulldog teammates Kameron and Kobe Moreno and Konor McClafferty as Bulldogs who have signed to play for Montana Tech.
“I feel right now we’ve got some of the best players in this town coming up to Tech,” said Samson, who also signed Butte Central’s Trevor Neumann.
Winston played receiver and returned kicks for Butte High. He caught 26 passes for 261 yards and a touchdown to help Butte High go 11-1 and earn a berth in the Class AA state championship game.
“I’m looking to play anywhere,” Winston said of his position at Montana Tech. “I think I’ll play receiver, but I’ll play defensive if they want me to play defense and a little bit of kick returner or punt returner.”
Samson, who served as the offensive coordinator for the Orediggers last season, said Winston is a player he has been targeting for quite some time.
“It started last summer,” the coach said. “He came to our camp. He stood out big time in that camp. He’s a great rout runner, very explosive, really good hands. We were very impressed seeing him in person.”
“Tucker is a very dynamic player,” Samson added. “He brings a lot of speed and athleticism. I think he’s a kid that can help us at receiver, (defensive back) and in the return game. We’re very excited to get him to come up to Tech. I think he’s going to be a great asset to our team.”
Winston’s stats might not jump off the screen. That is mostly because the Bulldogs were very deep at receiver. They had six players make at least 25 catches. None hauled in more than 35 receptions in Butte High’s explosive offense.
Bulldog coach Arie Grey said Winston is about a lot more than stats.
“He plays the game the way it is supposed to be played,” Grey said. “He is very unselfish. He does all the little things, has a great attitude, he never misses, he works his butt off in the weight room, he works his butt off in the off season. He’s way unselfish.”
Winston, who ran a leg on Butte High’s second-place relay team with Quinn Sullivan, Jake Vetter and Tommy Mellott at the Class AA State meet in Kalispell last May, said he plans to major in business at Montana Tech.
The school and team are good fits for him, he said.
“They gave me an offer that I couldn’t resist,” Winston said. “I like Samson. I like the coaching staff up there. I think it’s a really good school for me.”
About 30 teammates were on hand to watch the singing. That included the Moreno brothers and McClafferty.
“It’s pretty cool to see how they all supported me,” Winston said.
Winston is not the first athlete in his family. His father, John “Boon” Winston was a standout athlete at Butte Central. His mother Cindy (Sparks) Winston was a multi-sport athlete at Butte High. She was a member of Butte High’s 1992 state championship softball team.
Tucker Winston’s younger brother Grady, an eighth grader, is also a budding athlete. Grady watched over his brother’s shoulder as he signed with the Orediggers.
Winston said he is going to miss so much about playing for the Bulldogs.
“I really enjoyed my time at Butte High,” he said, “but I look forward to my time at Montana Tech.”