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NMU Football Signs 25 on National Signing Day

MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University Football staff has signed 25 players as part of this year's NCAA's National Signing Day. The class features incoming student-athletes from four states, led by 12 from Illinois while 11 newcomers come from the state of Michigan, including two from the Upper Peninsula.     

"It's a very strong class coming in with players who have good athleticism and more importantly are good academically with great character," Head Coach Kyle Nystrom said. "They will fit NMU and the Marquette area very well."  After getting a late start last year, this year's class is bolstered by early commitments, "A third of these guys were spring-offered players who made an early commitment to our program."  

One key to this year's class was the support from the NMU community, "We got a lot of help from (Associate Director of Financial Aid) Christy Larson, and (Assistant Director of Admisions) Jon Teichman, while the university as a whole was very strong in their support.  Professors were outstanding and really made a difference in this work," remarked Nystrom.

The Wildcats will be welcoming two quarterbacks, Tyler "Ty" George from Coon Rapids, Minnesota, and Isiah Wright from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. George lettered three times and was named All-District, MNFCA All-State, and played in the Minnesota All-Star Football Showcase. Wright was First Team All-Conference three times, Offensive Player of the Year twice, made the Wisconsin All-State Team and won a conference championship during his high school career. 

Nate Ashford from Chicago, Illinois, and Sebastian Toland from Jackson, Michigan, will be joining the running backs next year. Ashford earned two varsity letters, was All-Conference Honorable Mention and received the team's Most Valuable Player award. Toland made the AP All-State First Team, and the Detroit News Dream Team.  Toland also received all-conference recognition and won a Michigan State Championship.

Zach Urwiler from Mooseheart, Illinois joins the wide receiver group for the Wildcats. Urwiler was a two time all Catholic League All-Conference player and made First Team All-Area. He finished his high school career with 22 touchdowns and 1,800 all-purpose yards.  

Joining the tight ends are Scout Bigger from Gould City, Michigan and Cameron White from Jackson, Michigan. Bigger was a First Team All-Conference running back three years in a row, First Team All-Conference linebacker during his junior and senior year, an Honorable Mention All-State linebacker and was named the conference's Defensive Player of the Year in 2017. White earned All-Conference honors twice, Academic All-Conference three times and earned MLive Dream Team Honorable Mention.

Cooper Twardzik from Calumet, Michigan and Stanton Johnson from Evanston, Illinois, will be joining the team's offensive line. Twardzik won all U.P. Defensive End honors, was named an All-Conference Defensive End, and was named to the All U.P. Dream Team and All-State Honorable Mention. Johnson was named All-Conference for two seasons and made First Team All-State while winning his team's Offensive MVP award.

Three linebackers will also enter the mix. Jacob Ager from Boyne City, Michigan, earned a spot on the First-Team All-State team as a linebacker and was the unanimous selection for Lake Michigan Conference MVP. He also received team MVP during two seasons, was the team's Defensive MVP and earned the team's Outstanding Linemen award.  

Linebacker Jack Reiger from Hoffman Estates, Illinois, received All-Area and All-Conference recognition and was a two-time captain of his high school football team. Reiger also won Offensive and Defensive MVP and was awarded the Coach Gugliotta Award. Isaac Darkangelo of Brighton, Michigan, highlighted his career with First Team All-State recognition and was named All-Catholic, All-League, and was the team captain.

NMU will be adding three new safeties to the defensive backfield.  Anthony Ladd from Grand Rapids, Michigan was named First Team All-State Honorable Mention in two seasons and finished his senior year as a member of the Michigan Dream Team. Brian Schiewick from Clinton Township, Michigan, was the team captain and made All-County during his junior and senior year. Rounding out the incoming safeties is Colt Doherty from Bartlett, Illinois.  A team captain, Doherty was named his league's Defensive Player of the Year and was placed on the All-Area team. 

The staff recruited three cornerbacks, Ratavion Rinkines from Humboldt, Lansing, Michigan, Antonio "AJ" Howard Jr., from Chicago, Illinois, and Tyler Geiman of Beach Park, Illinois.  Rinkines comes to the team after earning All-Conference honors in both football and track and field.  Howard earned two Defensive MVP awards, an offensive MVP award, an All-Around Player award and the Team Captain award. Geiman was First Team All-Area, First Team All-Conference and earned All-State Honorable Mention status.

Griffin Kelly from Frankfort, Michigan will also be joining the Wildcat team as a defensive back. Named First Team AP All-State Running Back twice and All-Conference linebacker twice, he won conference MVP, Traverse City Record Eagle Region Dream Team Player of the Year and the conference's Most Valuable Player award. Kelly holds a Michigan state record for longest run from scrimmage with a 99-yard touchdown run.

Joining the team as defensive ends are Eric Schutt from West Dundee, Illinois and Edward "Eddie" Pierson of Calumet Park, Illinois. Schutt was two time All-Conference and All-Area, and is second all-time in Illinois with 33 sacks. Pierson earned two varsity letters, won the VikingU Award, and was a part of the Chicago Catholic League Champs, White Conference all four years of his career.

Three defensive linemen will be coming to NMU, as Omar Owenah from Chicago, Illinois, Eleuterio "Eli" Rivera of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Justin Gold of Wheeling, Illinois, join the Wildcats.  Owenah made the CPLCA All-Academic Team, was a four-time CPS Big Shoulders All-Conference honoree, and a two time CPFLCA All-City member.

Rivera was named All-State Honorable Mention, All-Region First Team, two time All-Conference, a 2017 Tim Krumrie Award finalist and Woodland East Defensive Player of the Year. Gold made First Team All-Area and All-Conference two times in his high school career.

Daniel Riser out of Ada, Michigan joins the team as a kicker.  He earned three varsity letters, received Honorable Mention All-Conference and Honorable Mention All-State twice. His high school team was conference champions, two-time district champions, regional champions and became the highest scoring team in school history.

These newcomers will join a program entering the second year of the Nystrom era and look to make an immediate impact. In Nystrom's first year, the offense featured Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Offensive Back of the Year, Jake Mayon (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield East), and also placed two players on the First Team All-GLIAC team.

 


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