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Wow, the GRIZ are really whipping up on the in-state recruits! :D It looks as though we are about out of scholarships to offer after we take care of grayshirts and any current walkons. Only two from out of state so far -- that means Hauck was serious when he said they wanted to take care of business in Montana first.

I'm attaching the article in this morning's Missoulian for those of you who don't get the paper:

Griz net several in-state recruits

By JON KASPER of the Missoulian

Five more Montana preps will officially join team Wednesday

New Montana football coach Bobby Hauck said he wanted to erect a fence around the Treasure State to keep local recruits at home. It appears the fence is nearly complete.

Five Montana prep athletes committed to the Grizzly football program last weekend. The pledges will become official on Wednesday, the first day for recruits to sign national letters of intent.

Great Falls Russell's Kelly Kain, Billings Skyview's Matt Lebsock and Ryan Gustafson, Fort Benton's Loren Utterback and Billings West's Eric Michel all said they will become Grizzlies.

Kain, a 6-foot-4, 255-pounder, is projected as a collegiate defensive end. Kain was named first-team all-state as a defensive lineman and second team as an offensive lineman. He holds a 3.92 grade-point average, scored a 31 on his ACT test and a 1290 on the SAT.

"He' pretty solid, pretty consistent,'' said legendary C.M. Russell coach Jack Johnson. "He plays hard all the time.''

Kain originally committed to Eastern Washington, but changed his mind following his official visit to UM last weekend.

"After visiting, there wasn't a comparison to any other school,'' Kain said. "The facilities and staff are top-notch. I think it will be a great place to be for five years.

"Looking at the two schools and the directions they are headed, UM was a better choice for me and my future. UM is just a top-notch program and I'm excited to be going there.''

Kain, who has been selected to play in the Shrine Bowl and the Knights of Columbus Badlands Bowl, helped Great Falls Russell reach the state Class AA championship game.

Lebsock, a 5-11, 185-pounder, will follow in the footsteps of his father Ron, the head coach at Billings Skyview. Ron Lebsock played on Montana's offensive line from 1974-77, and was voted the team MVP in 1977.

Matt Lebsock, who could play defensive back or running back for the Griz, shared the Class AA defensive MVP award with Billings West linebacker Kyle Ryan, who committed to Montana in November. Lebsock was named first-team all-state as a defensive back and second team as a running back.

"They've got a great program and I was impressed with the coaching staff and the players I met,'' Matt Lebsock said. "I think it will be a good fit for me.''

Lebsock said he was also recruited by North Dakota State and Western Montana.

Gustafson (6-5, 250) played on Skyview's offensive and defensive lines. He was named second-team all-state on offense and honorable mention on defense. Coach Ron Lebsock said he sees Gustafson playing offensive tackle for the Griz.

"He was a two-way starter for us the last two years,'' said Coach Lebsock. "He'll be playing in the Shrine game and he definitely has a lot of potential to be a big college football player. I know the Montana colleges were very impressed by his foot quickness, and that's always an advantage as an offensive lineman."

Michel, a 6-foot-6, 230-pounder played offensive tackle for the Golden Bears. He was a two-year starter in football and basketball. Michel told the Billings Gazette he was also recruited by several Montana and North Dakota NAIA schools, as well as Montana State.

"I really liked the Montana players that I'm going to college with,'' Michel told the Gazette. "I met some of my fellow recruits, and I really liked them. I think we've got a chance to make some noise.''

Utterback helped Fort Benton to the state Class B championship, despite playing most of the year with a severe knee injury.

The 6-foot-2, 194-pounder rushed for more than 4,000 years in his prep career and was named first-team all-state the last two seasons.

Utterback told the Great Falls Tribune that his final choices were Montana and Montana State. Colorado State, Wyoming and Oregon State recruited Utterback, but lost interest after the knee injury.

The Grizzlies have received commitments from at least eight in-state players. Helena Capital's Kyle Samson committed last week and Kalispell running back Lex Hilliard committed last fall.

Montana's recruiting class is expected to include at least 14 players. Justin Green, a junior college running back from San Diego, and Mookie Foreman, a defensive back from Washington, have also committed.

Hauck and his staff will have a signing day gathering on Wednesday from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Ruby's Reserve Street Inn. The public is welcome to attend.

Coaches will talk about the recruits and a highlight tape will be shown. Snacks and beverages will be available. Cost is $8 per adult or $15 per couple. Children under 12 will be admitted free. Proceeds will benefit UM's Touchdown Club.

Reporter Jon Kasper can be reached at 523-5247 or by e-mail at [email protected].
Congrats to Coach Hauck on staying in-state with the recruits. As a former Montanan it is very special to see that kids who were raised in our area are making this program the envy of all I-AA programs. I can't wait to see who all the Griz haul in on Wednesday! It will be a great day.