Incoming Golden Eagles add depth to 63-man roster.

    The University of Minnesota Crookston football program announced the addition of 33 student-athletes for the 2017 season. The class includes 32 high school signees and one junior college transfer.


    “We feel really good about what we were able to bring in with this signing class,” UMC football head coach Mike Fritze said. “We had an emphasis on four-year players as we look to continue to build this program and we feel like we found guys that will help to continue to build our foundation.”


    UMC signed 21 players from the Midwest Region, including six from Minnesota, six from Wisconsin, two from South Dakota, two from North Dakota and five from Manitoba.


    “We always focus on the region and we were able to find success in our normal recruiting territories of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin,” Fritze said. “Maybe the best thing about our class though is the balance we found in positions. We are still short a little bit in the offensive line and we would like to bring in a couple of more guys there and a kicker, but other than that we really filled a lot of needs today.


    “We did have a good spread of location for our signees this season, as well. It was a good thing for us to get into the Winnipeg area. Coach (Mark) Dufner did a great job up there for us. We got some really good talent from there, which isn’t always easy because of the differences in the value of the dollar.”


    UMC signed 12 out-of-region players to next year’s squad, including seven from Arizona, three from California, one from Florida and one transfer from Texas, who last year attended junior collegeat Northland Community and Technical College.


    “Coach (Levi) Bullerman did a great job getting into Arizona and finding success down there and we also were able to bring in two players from California that could help us immediately. In Texas, we bring in a guy in Dez Henderson, who we signed last year, and then we bring in a talented linebacker from Florida in Michael Smart.”


    In total, the Golden Eagles signed 15 defensive and 17 offensive players.


    The 33 signees will join 63 players currently on the UMC football roster, giving the coaching staff a total 96 players scheduled for Fall Camp in August.


    Student-athletes listed as of Wednesday have signed National Letters of Intent or Offers of Admission to play at UMC.


    Future Golden Eagles will have been verified by the UMC Compliance Office once they sign the National Letter of Intent or once the student-athlete has accepted an Offer of Admission from UMC.


    Fritze will return for his fifth season at the helm of the Golden Eagles gridiron club next fall and will take over play-calling duties on offense, as well.


    Mark Dufner returns for his 16th season on staff and fifth as Defensive Coordinator.


    Run-game coordinator Dave Volk, recruiting coordinator Levi Bullerman, safeties coach Tom Miller and corners coach/special teams coordinator Sam Smith also return to the coaching staff.


    The Golden Eagles will open up their 2017 schedule Thursday, Aug. 31 at UMC’s Ed Widseth Field in an evening game against the Upper Iowa University Peacocks.

UMC Signees/Transfers:

Bo Addicott
    Defensive Back, 5-10, 165
    Peoria, Ariz./Sunrise Mountain H.S.
    Born May 21, 1999 to Robert and Kim Addicott
    Major: Biology
    Prior to UMC:
    –Teammate of fellow signee Ty Love
    –Played Corner for Mustangs
    –Notched 37 tackles and two interceptions as a senior
    –Helped lead high school team to 10-2 season record
    –Helped lead team to Section Championship and quarterfinals of Arizona 4A State Tournament
    –Earned  All-Region First Team in Arizona 4A West Valley
    –Earned First Team All-Conference Defensive Back
    –Named First Team All-Peoria
    -Also competed in track and field

Elizsha Bear-Encinas
    Outside Linebacker, 6-3, 253
    Casa Grande, Ariz./Vista Grande H.S.
    Born Nov. 20, 1998 to Aaron and Kristie Encinas
    Major: Sports and Rec Management
    Prior to UMC:
    –Played Tackle for Vista Grande
    –Named Senior Lineman captain
    –Named All-American at MUC All-Star Game
    -Also competed in track and field

Markos Bockru
    Defensive Back, 6-2, 160
    Winnipeg, Manitoba/Dakota Collegiate H.S.
    Born March 22, 1999 to Daniel Bockru and Aida Tekie
    Brother Macho Bockru plays football at the University of Manitoba
    Major: Undecided
    Prior to UMC:
    –Played Defensive Back for the Dakota Lancers
    –Tallied nine tackles, 3.5 special teams tackles, five interceptions and one blocked kick as a senior
    –An Athlete of the Year nominee from 2012-2015
    –Earned Gold and Silver Cup Awards at Athletic Banquet from 2015-16
    –Named to the All-Lancer Team in 2016
    –A WHSFL Honor Roll achiever in 2016
    –A WHSFL Conference All Star in 2016
    –Earned Lancer Award in 2016

Reggie Brown, Jr.
    Defensive Lineman, 6-2, 245
    Wausau, Wis./Wausau East H.S.
    Born Sept. 17, 1998 to Lynn and Richard Lawson
    Major: Undecided
    Prior to UMC:
    –Played Defensive End and Tight End for Wausau East
    –Tallied 16 tackles with one tackle for loss as a senior
    –Two-year letter winner in football
    –Also played baseball and lacrosse

Nathan Coy
    Wide Receiver, 5-11, 195
    Sun Prairie, Wis./Sun Prairie H.S.
    Born March 31, 1999 to Stephanie Coy
    Major: Undecided
    Prior to UMC:
    –Played Wide Receiver and Defensive Back for Sun Prairie
    –Helped lead team to 8-2 record as a senior
    –Tallied 14 catches for 296 yards with three touchdowns as a senior
    –Accumulated 22 tackles with one sack, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble and 10 interceptions
    –Named Honorable Mention All0Area as defensive back
    –Named First Team All-Conference defensive back twice
    –Named Second Team All-Conference wide receiver

Josh Diamond
    Defensive Lineman, 6-2, 230
    Winnipeg, Manitoba/Vincent Massey Collegiate
    Born Nov. 9, 1999 to Judy and Mike Diamond
    Paternal grandfather played football at Bemidji State University
    Major: Business
    Prior to UMC:
    –Played offensive and defensive line
    –Helped lead Vincent Massey to 6-1 record
    –Notched four tackles and a sack as a junior
    –Tallied 16 tackles as a senior
    –Named 2014 Vincent Massey Trojans JV Top Lineman
    –Named 2016 Varsity Top Lineman for his high school

DeAndre Ector
    Defensive Back, 5-10 180
    Chandler, Ariz./Williams Field H.S.
    Born May 24, 1999 to Mikki Borwn
    Brother played football for U-Mary and then transferred to Grand Canyon University and played rugby
    Major: Business
    Prior to UMC:
    –Played Corner for Williams Field
    –Notched 23 tackles and one tackle for loss as a junior
    –Tallied 65 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and one interception as a senior
    –Helped lead team to 14-0 record and State Championship in Arizona

Joel Fisseha
    Defensive Back, 6-2, 201
    Brandon, Manitoba/Vincent Massey H.S.
    Born Sept. 27, 1999 to Senait Gobre and Temane Fisseha
    Given name is Eyoel Fisseha
    Major: Biology
    Prior to UMC:
    –Played Wide Receiver and Outside Linebacker at Vincent Massey
    –Tallied three catches for 23 yards, 55 tackles, two interceptions, one sack, two forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries as a junior
    –Accumulated five catches for 60 yards and one touchdown, 40 tackles, two interceptions, three sacks, five forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries as a senior
    –Helped team to Currie Bowl Championship
    –Named Defensive MVP as a junior and senior

Jordan Frieberg
    Defensive Lineman, 6-2, 220
    Surprise, Arizona/Willow Canyon H.S.
    Born June 13, 1999 to Ron and Tina Frieberg
    Father played offensive line at Western New Mexico University in the 90’s
    Major: Software Engineering
    Prior to UMC:
    –Teammate of fellow signee Brendan Kinnee
    –Played on offensive and defensive line and pass rusher for Willow Canyon
    –Moved to defensive end as a junior after playing linebacker as a sophomore and defensive bask as a freshman
    –Tallied 19 tackles with three sacks as a junior
    –Notched 28 tackles as a senior
    –Top five in sacks, quarterback hurries and tackles for loss during junior and senior seasons in section
    –All-Academic Honorable Mention as a senior
    –Named All-Section Honorable Mention in 2016
    –All-Region Honorable Mention pick in 2016
    –Named NUC All-American selection
    –Blue Grey All-American selection
    –Senior Bowl selection
    –Also competed in track and field

Johnathan Garcia
    Wide Receiver, 5-8, 150
    Hesperia, Calif./Sultana H.S.
    Born Jan. 28, 1999 to Maria and Juan Garcia
    Major: Criminal Justice
    Prior to UMC:
    –Played slot receiver and running back for Sultana
    –Served as team captain
    –Tallied 73 rushes for 267 yards and 17 catches for 104 yards as a senior

Justin Geisen
    Defensive Lineman, 6-2, 215
    Shoreview, Minn./Mounds View H.S.
    Born Nov. 20, 1998 to Kurt Geisen and Theresa Pfeilsticker
    Has lived in Minnesota, Montana, Florida, California, Spain and Japan
    Major: Exercise Science
    Prior to UMC:
    –Played defensive end for Mounds View
    –Two-year varsity letter winner
    –Helped team to 7-3 record as a senior

Mark Gores
    Linebacker, 6-0 195
    Woodbury, Minn/Woodbury H.S.
    Born Nov. 10, 1998 to Steve and Schelly Gores
    Great uncle Ollie Bakken was an All-American linebacker at the University of Minnesota who was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings and played pro in Canada for the Calgary Stampeders and British Columbia Lions
    Cousin James Bakken plays football for Harvard
    Major: Software Engineering
    Prior to UMC:
    –Three-year starter for Woodbury
    ­­–Team captain in football
    –Helped team to 4-5 overall and 4-4 conference record
    –Tallied 31 tackles, eight tackles for loss and one sack as a senior
    –Named Defensive Player of the Year
    –Two-time All-Suburban East Conference Honorable Mention pick
    –Earned Burlsworth Character Award
    –Multi-year academic letter recipient
    –Four-year starter and team captain in lacrosse

Zach Gutterud
    Linebacker, 5-11, 190
    Grand Forks, N.D./Red River H.S.
    Born May 22, 1999 to Melissa and Kelly Heggen
    Major: Natural Resources
    Prior to UMC:
    –Played outside linebacker for Red River
    –Tallied 19 rushes for 152 yards and eight catches for 126 yards as a senior
    –Named Second Team All-State
    –Earned All-Eastern Dakota Conference
    –Inductee into the North Dakota Shrine Football Game
    –Ranked ninth in the EDC for defensive points

Boyce Harr
    Running Back, 5-9, 190
    Spearfish, S.D./Spearfish H.S.
    Born May 18, 1998 to George and Nadene Harr
    Father played football at Black Hills State
    Brother Bryce competed on track and field team at Northern State University
    National Honor Society member
    Recipient of the Lennis Larson Outstanding Speaker at the State “We The People” Competition
    Major: Biology
    Prior to UMC:
    –Rushed 23 times for 125 yards as a junior
    –Rushed 51 times for 421 yards and three touchdowns as a senior (two games with over 100 yards rushing)
    –Tallied 26 tackles and two interceptions
    –Three-year letter winner in football
    –Two-year letter winner in basketball and tennis
    –Named Academic All-State
    –Earned Black Hills All-Conference

Brendon Harris
    Outside Linebacker, 6-4, 360
    Milwaukee, Wis./Rufus King H.S.
    Born Sept. 9, 1999 to Melanie and Jermaine Harris
    Major: Business
    Prior to UMC:
    –Played offensive and defensive line
    –Helped team to 10-2 record
    –Made three tackles on season
    –Blocked for 1,000-yard rusher Devin Lacy
    –Blocked for 700-yard rusher and two quarterbacks who passed for over 500 yards on season
    –First Team All-Milwaukee City Conference pick
    –Named Offensive Lineman of the Year

Dez Henderson
    Running Back, 6-4, 360
    Fort Worth, Texas/Northland Community and Technical College
    Born Nov. 8, 1996 to Christine Haynes and Kevin Mcafee
    Grandfather Ronnie Woods played baseball at Northwestern University
    Major: Health Science (Pre-Physical Therapy)
    Prior to UMC:
    –Ran for 344 yards and three touchdowns as a high school sophomore at North Crowley H.S.
    –Ran for 248 yards and five touchdowns as a high school junior
    –Rushed for 701 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior
    –Offensive Back MVP his senior year
    –Rushed 126 yards for NCTC as a freshman

Daniel Kabongo
    Defensive Lineman, 6-0, 255
    Winnipeg, Manitoba/Dakota Collegiate Institute
    Born March 15, 1999 in Zaire to Nathalie Kazadi and Delphin Kabongo
    Moved to Canada to the age of five
    Grew up playing basketball but moved to football
    Major: Undecided
    Prior to UMC:
    –Teammate of fellow signee Markos Bockru
    –Notched 18 tackles with one forced fumble as a junior
    –Tallied 30.5 tackles with one fumble recovery as a senior
    –Earned Rookie of the Year honors
    –Earned Player of the Week and Defensive Lineman of the Week

Tyler Kennedy
    Wide receiver, 5-9, 160
    Moreno Valley, Calif./Rancho Verde H.S.
    Born July 14, 1999 to Charlotte Johnson
    Major: Communication
    Prior to UMC:
    –Kick and punt return specialist for Rancho Verde
    –Played defensive back as a senior
    –One touchdown pass for 70 yards as a junior
    –Pulled in 37 catches for 632 yards and nine touchdowns as a junior
    –Helped lead team to 11-2 overall and 5-0 conference record senior year
    –Tallied 21 combined touchdowns, 359 rushing yards, 930 receiving yards, one tackle and one interception as a senior
    –All-League selection
    –League Champion for football and track and field
    –Fourth in state 4x100 in track and field

Brandon Kihne
    Fullback, 6-0, 205
    Neche, N.D./North Border H.S.
    Born Aug. 4, 1998
    Brother Blake Setness played football at UMC
    Brother Brock Setness played football at North Dakota
    Major: Agriculatural Aviation
    Prior to UMC:
    –Played quarterback and defensive end for North Border co-op in Walhalla, ND.
    –Rushed neary 500 yards and three nearly 800 yards as a quarterback
    -Four-year varsity letter winner

Brendan Kinnee
    Linebacker, 6-1, 210
    Peoria, Ariz/Willow Canyon H.S.
    Born Feb. 23, 1999 to Michelle and John Kinnee
    Father played baseball at Ferris State
    Major: Health Sciences
    Prior to UMC:
    –Teammate of fellow signee Jordan Frieberg
    –Played inside linebacker and tight end for Willow Canyon
    –Notched over 200 tackles, six sacks, one interception, one forced fumble, two interceptions and two receptions for 13 yards junior and senior years
    –Earned All-Academic as a junior and senior
    –First Team All-Section Middle Linebacker as a junior and senior
    –Named Willow Canyon’s Most Valuable Defensive Player as a senior

Tyler Kropuenske
    Linebacker, 6-5, 245
    Baileys Harbor, Wis./Gibraltar H.S.
    Born Aug. 2, 1999 to Josh and Alicia Kropuenske
    Major: Criminal Justice
    Prior to UMC:
    –Played offensive and defensive tackle at Gibraltar
    –Played eight-man football
    –Helped lead team to 28-9 overall record during career
    –Three-year varsity starter
    –Ran five times for six yards and pulled in six catches for 44 yards
    –Tallied 21 tackles, two sacks,  two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries
    –Earned Top Newcomer as a freshman
    –Earned Hardest Working Award for basketball as a sophomore
    –Earned Second Team All-Conference offensive line as a sophomore
    –Earned First Team All-Conference as a junior
    –Earned First Team All-Conference Offensive Line as a senior
    –Earned Second Team All-Conference defensive line honors as a junior and senior
    –Four-year varsity letter winner
    –Played varsity basketball as center

Reyes Lara, III
    Quarterback, 5-11, 205
    Surprise, Ariz./Valley Vista H.S.
    Born Sept. 24, 1999 to Reyes Lara, Jr. and Carol Lara
    First-generation college football player
    Academic Scholar Athlete for four seasons
    Major: Health Science (Pre-Physical Therapy)
    Prior to UMC:
    –Tallied 830 passing yards with five touchdowns and 95 rushing yards with three touchdowns as a junior
    –Helped lead Valley Vista to 7-4 overall and 4-1 conference record as a senior
    –Threw for 2,395 yards with 28 touchdowns and five interceptions as a senior
    –Broke school records for single-season passing yards, passing yards in a single game (375) and single-season touchdowns
    –Earned Offensive Player of the Game five times as a senior
    –Earned overall Player of the Game twice
    –Earned Valley Vista Athlete of the Month and AZ Central Athlete of the Month and Athlete of the Week

Ty Love
    Defensive Back, 5-11, 170
    Peoria, Ariz./Sunrise Mountain H.S.
    Born Dec. 9, 1998 to Yvette Love, Mary Howard and Tom Love
    Step-mom Mary Howard played soccer at the University of Arkansas and was on the U-2 National Team and U.S. Women’s Soccer National Team
    Major: Business
    Prior to UMC:
    –Teammte to fellow signee Bo Addicott
    –Played safety for Sunrise Mountain
    –Notched 25 tackles as a junior
    –Helped lead team to a 10-2 record and to the Arizona 4A State Tournament quarterfinals his senior year
    –Tallied 53 tackles, one sack and one interception as a senior
    –Served as a team captain
    –Earned All-Conference as defensive back
    –Served as team captain for wrestling
    –Three-time State Tournament placer for wrestling
    –Earned MVP and Newcomer of the Year for high school wrestling

Brandon O’Connor
    Running Back, 6-3, 176
    Winnipeg, Manitoba/Grant Park H.S.
    Born March 10, 1999 to Pauline McDonald Nault and Richard Nault
    Major: Business
    Prior to UMC:
    –Helped lead Grant Park to 5-2 record
    –Rushed 22 times for 132 yards and a touchdown as a junior
    –Notched 830 yards on 107 carries and nine touchdowns and caught five passes for 55 yards as a senior
    –Tallied 15 tackles with four sacks and two forced fumbles as a senior
    –Named Team MVP in 2016
    –Named Player of the Week and an Elite Player of the Year nominee

Michael Smart
    Linebacker, 6-1, 240
    St. Petersburg, Fla./Clearwater Academy
    Prior to UMC:
    –Played running back and linebacker for Clearwater
    –Helped lead team to 5-4 record
    –Tallied 64 tackles with 10 tackles for loss, six sacks and two fumblesd
    –Notched 37 carries for 323 rushing yards with four touchdowns and two passes for nine yards

E.J. Stewart
    Quarterback, 6-1, 188
    Hesperia, Calif./Rancho Verde H.S.
    Born July 17, 1998 to Jeb and Hilary Stewart
    Major: Exercise Science
    Prior to UMC:
    –Went 161-of-258 for 3,033 yards and 36 touchdowns and nine interceptions as a junior
    –Threw for 3,495 yards and 38 touchdowns en route to 11-2 record as a senior
    –Unanimous All-Conference as a junior and senior
    –Unanimous All-League selection as a junior and senior

Austin Steele
    Defensive Back, 5-10, 190
    La Crosse, Wis./La Crosse Central H.S.
    Born Feb. 14, 1999 to Tasha and Marvin Rice
    Major: Marketing
    Prior to UMC:
    –Played linebacker and wide receiver for La Cross Central
    –Tallied six receptions for 107 yards and two touchdowns and five carries for 23 yards.
    –Notched six forced fumbles, 87 tackles, five fumble recoveries and two interceptions
    –Earned  Wisconsin All-Regional Football team honors
    –Named First Team All-Mississippi Valley Conference

La’Ryountae Taylor
    Defensive Back, 6-0, 175
    Brooklyn Park, Minn/Patrick Henry H.S.
    Born July 26, 1999 to Samantha Taylor and Larry Boyd
    Major: Undecided
    Prior to UMC:
    –Served as team captain
    –All-District pick
    –Named Special Teams MVP as a junior
    –Earned team Defensive MVP as a senior

Tavian Tumbleson
    Fullback, 5-9, 210
    Mahtomedi, Minn./Mahtomedi H.S.
    Born March 22, 1999 to Thad and Amy Tumbleson
    Father competed at the University of South Dakota
    Sister is on the University of Minnesota Dance Team
    Major: Undecided
    Prior to UMC:
    –Tallied 80 carries for 420 yards and eight touchdowns four receptions for 49 yards, six tackles and one sack as a junior
    –Notched 15 carries for 880 yards with 16 touchdowns and three recpetions for 33 yards as a senior
    –Named Best Offensive Back as a junior
    –Earned All-Conference and Best Offensive Back as a senior

Reece Walno
    Tight End, 6-3, 230
    Spearfish, S.D./Spearfish H.S.
    Born March 1, 1999 to Wylie and Bonnie Walno
    Major: Aviation
    Prior to UMC:
    –Played tight end and defensive end at Spearfish
    –Tallied three receptions for 46 yards, over 1,700 rushing yards and 1,000 passing yards
    Notched 32 tackles with one tackel for loss, two sacks and one fumble recovery as a senior
    –Earned varsity letter as a sophomore at tight end
    –Earned All-Black Hills Conference honors as a defensive End
    –Named to South Dakota All-Star Team

Keagan Williams
    Wide receiver, 6-4, 190
    Chanhassen, Minn./Chanhassen H.S.
    Born April 16, 1999 to Barb and Tony Williams
    Father played football and mother played basketball at Iowa State University
    Brother Anthony plays basketball at Upper Iowa
    Major: Music and Business
    Prior to UMC:
    –Tallied eight receptions for 137 yard as a junior
    –Tallied 22 receptions for 531 yards with five touchdowns, eight tackles, one forced fumble and one blocked punt as a senior
    –School record holder with 22.1 yards-per-catch
    –Helped lead team to 8-0 regular season record and section runner-up finish
    –Named Athlete of the Week
    –All-Conference Honorable Mention pick

Keon’te Williams
    Defensive Lineman, 6-3, 211
    Stevens Point, Wis./Stevens Point H.S.
    Born July 3, 1998 to Kevin Williams and Melissa Mence
    Major: Criminal Justice
    Prior to UMC:
    –Played linebacker at Stevens Point
    –Tallied 39 tackles with nine tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, recovered one fumble and forced one fumble as a junior
    –Helped lead team to 11-2 record senior year
    –Tallied 60 tackles with eight tackles for loss, two sacks, one forced fumble and five interceptions as a senior
    –Earned Honorable Mention as a junior
    -Played basketball

Jacob Zwieg
    Wide receiver, 6-1, 185
    Mounds View, Minn./Irondale H.S.
    Born April 23, 1999 to Jenny and Jason Zwieg and Sheir and Jason Macias
    Relative David Brown played hockey and football at Bemidji State University
    Major: Undecided
    Prior to UMC:
    –Served as team captain at Irondale
    –Tallied five receptioms for 58 yards with one touchdown as a junior
    –Tallied 20 receptions for 174 yards as a senior