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Michigan Tech adds 23 recruits to football program

Photo submitted to Daily Mining Gazette Calumet’s Russ Bjorn, middle, signs on to play football at Michigan Tech Wednesday in Calumet along with coaches Mike Ojala, left and John Croze. See the complete list of Michigan Tech recruits on page 3B

HOUGHTON, Mich. – Michigan Tech Head football coach Steve Olson is pleased to announce that 23 student-athletes have signed National Letters of Intent and will join the Huskies for the 2017 season.

Michigan Tech’s incoming class includes nine defensive players, 11 players on offense, a punter, and two listed as athletes. Seven of the players in this year’s class reside in the Upper Peninsula and 20 hail from the state of Michigan.

“First off I’d like to thank our staff for their hard work throughout the season,” Coach Olson said. “In addition to the staff, I’d like to thank Dr. Steve Patchin for coming to all of our recruiting weekend events, as well as the advisors and faculty members that came to visit with the prospective student athletes and their parents. Michigan Tech has a strong reputation academically, but the people here really help students to understand how special MTU is.”

Michigan Tech wrapped up the 2016 season 4-6, but had huge wins over Ashland and another Miner’s Cup victory in overtime at Northern Michigan. The Huskies having been conditioning and lifting weights since returning from semester break. Tech will begin spring practices in late March, with the annual spring game coming up in April.

Below is a list of the 23 student-athletes who have signed NLI’s at Tech and will play football this fall. A brief biography and highlight/introduction video on each is also available.

Tai Allen                    DB       5’11     165      Manistee, Mich.

Played high school football at Manistee H.S. where he earned multiple awards for his performance on the field…2016 All-Conference QB/DB…All-State Honorable Mention QB…First Team All-Area QB…2016 stats include 90 tackles, three interceptions, and four forced fumbles…Allen is projected to play defensive back for the Huskies…Plans to major in Exercise Science at Michigan Tech.

Russ Bjorn                   LB        6’1       215      Mohawk, Mich.

Played high school football locally at Calumet H.S… 2016 All U.P. Defensive Player of the Year… 2016 Division 5/6 First Team All-State Linebacker…2016 Westpac Defensive Player of the Year…2015 Westpac First Team QB… 2015 All-UP Special Mention Linebacker…309 career tackles with 182 being solo… Four interceptions… Five forced fumbles… In 2016 he had 165 tackles with 100 solo stops…Honor Roll student… Plans on majoring in Mechanical Engineering.

Braxton Blackwell      LB/S    5’10     180      South Lyon, Mich.

Prepped at South Lyon High School where he garnered multiple awards for his work on the field and in the classroom…All-State Honorable Mention…Team Defensive Back of the Year…76 tackles with 52 being solo, including three sacks…Scholar Athlete… Plans on majoring in Biomedical Engineering.

Corey Cotey                FB        6’1       230      Munising, Mich.

Played high school football at Munising H.S… MEC All-Conference RB/LB, Defensive Back of the Year (MEC), First Team All-UP Linebacker (Small School) …Team Captain as a junior and senior and was the Team MVP as a senior…153 career tackles with 67 solo stops…two forced fumbles and one interception…2016 Offensive Stats… 92 carries for 630 yards…13 receptions for 117 yards…National Honor Society…Plans on majoring in Mechanical Engineering.

William Dennis           DE/LS  6’4       210      Harrison, Mich.

Played at Harrison High School where he earned multiple honors for is play on the field and in the classroom…. Named Honorable Mention All-State Defensive End… First Team All-Conference…Golden Helmet Award…Morning Sun Dream Team Defense…Bay City Dream Team Defense…Honor Roll…Academic Letter…Team MVP… Plans on majoring in Mechanical Engineering.

Jacob Hiltunen            WR      6’0       180      Appleton, Wis.

Played high school football at Appleton North H.S….Name First Team All-Conference…Holds single game record for yards and receptions (17 catches for 169 yards) …2016 stats include 70 receptions for 613 yards and six touchdowns….Holds single season record for receptions in a season…National Honor Society…Honor Roll student…Plans on majoring in Biomedical Engineering.

Hayden Huttula          OL        6’2       265      Hartland, Mich.

Prepped at Hartland High School where he helped lead the team to three KLAA West Division Championships…2-Time KLAA All-Conference selection…All-County First Team Offense…Detroit News’ All-West Football Team Honorable Mention…Team Captain…KLAA Athlete of the Year Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement…Academic All-State Honorable Mention…Plans to pursue a major in Mechanical Engineering at Michigan Tech.

Ryan Jones                  DB       6’0       180      Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

Played his high school football career at Sault Area H.S….Named All-UP and on the Michigan Watch List…2016 Commitment Award…Averaged 5.2 yards per carry and 19.1 yards per catch…His average kickoff return covered 25.4 yards…He averaged 34 yards per punt and his longest punt carried 47 yards…Honor Roll student…Plans on majoring in Business at Michigan Tech.

Gabe Kanouse            DB       5’11     172      Hemlock, Mich.

Played high school football at Hemlock H.S. where he excelled on the field and in the classroom…Named 2016 First Team All-State Division 5/6 Defensive Back…2015 and 2016 First Team All-Conference Defensive Back…2016 All-Conference Honorable Mention as a Quarterback…Saginaw News 2016 Football Dream Team…Midland Daily News 2016 Football Defensive Dream Team…Holds school record for tackles in a single game (29)…215 career tackles…five forced fumbles…1,295 rushing yards…National Honor Society…Plans to major in Engineering at Michigan Tech.

Kevin Lee                    DB       5’11     185      Warren, Mich.

Played high school football at De La Salle Collegiate H.S. where he was a three-year varsity player…Named All-Catholic and All-State in track…On the Leadership Council, National Honor Society, and Principles List…Plans on majoring in Business at Michigan Tech.

Clayton Lynn               LB        5’11     205      Durand, Mich.

Played high school football at Swartz Creek H.S. where he earned All-Flint Metro League Honors four times… Named 2nd Team All-Conference three times and was an Honorable Mention as a freshman… Detroit Free Press Honorable Mention All-State…3-Time Team Captain… 2-Time Defensive MVP… 4-Time Flint Metro League Scholar Athlete Award…Set a school record for tackles (261)…12 career sacks, 31 TFL, 18 TD’s and 1776 yards…Punted for the most Net Yards in school history…Plans on majoring in Chemical Engineering.

Brendan Middleton     DB       6’0       160      Lake Linden, Mich.

Played locally at Lake Linden Hubble High School where excelled on the field garnering multiple honors…in 2016 he was named All-Mid-Eastern Conference Running Back and Defensive Back, MEC Offensive Player of the Year, All-UP Offensive Player of the Year, All-UP Running Back, and All-State Honorable Mention…Guided his team to the 2016 Mid-Eastern Conference Championship…Career stats include: 2.343 rushing yards with 33 TD’s, 698 receiving yards with 10 TD’s, 662 kick return yards with two touchdowns, and 259 pint return yards with one touchdown…On defense, he registered 198 total tackles with 62 solo stops…Major is undecided.

Dan Nocerini               TE        6’2       215      Crystal Falls, Mich.

Played locally in the UP at Crystal Falls High School, earning multiple awards for his work on the field and in the classroom…4-Time All-Conference selection…3-Time All-UP…All-State…Conference and UP CO-MVP…Team honors include Defensive and Offensive Player of the Year, MVP, Most Improved…Honor Roll student…Plans to major in Forestry at Michigan Tech.

Dalton Norris              OL        6’3       284      Saginaw, Mich.

Prepped at Saginaw Heritage High School where he was a three sport varsity athlete…Named First Team All-Conference as a Senior…Saginaw News 2nd Team Dream Team…Recorded 14.5 tackles with 11 solo stops, including one sack and 2.5 tackles for a loss…Plans to major in Exercise Science at Michigan Tech.

Justin Novotny            WR      6’5       185      Greendale, Wis.

Played high school football at Marquette University H.S. where he helped lead his team to a conference championship…Named First Team All-Conference as a Tight End, but is projected to play wide receiver at Tech…In 2016, caught 45 passes for 624 yards and four touchdowns…Honor Roll student…Plans to major in Engineering at Tech.

John Paramski            LB        6’2       210      Newberry, Mich.

Played football in the UP at Newberry High School where he had a prolific career on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball…As a quarterback, he threw for 1,662 yards, ran for 952 yards, and scored 34 touchdowns…He is projected to play linebacker at Tech and during his high school career he registered 153 tackles, with three interceptions and two forced fumbles…3-Time All-Conference linebacker and quarterback…Detroit Free Press All-State…Region Player of the Year…Region Defensive Player of the Year…Region Dream Team at linebacker…3-year Team Captain…National Honor Society…Plans to major in Civil Engineering at Michigan Tech.

Ashok Ravindran        DL        5’10     260      Ishpeming, Mich.

Played high school in the UP at Ishpeming H.S. where he helped lead the team to the 2015 MHSAA Division 7 State Championship…2015-16 First Team All-Conference Defensive Tackle…2015-16 First Team All-Conference Offensive Tackle…2015-16 First Team All-UP Dream Team Defensive Tackle…2016 Michael Snyder Lineman of the Year…2016 Team Captain…2015-16 Ishpeming High School Excellence in Education honoree…Plans to major in Actuarial Science at Michigan Tech.

Evan Sivec                  WR      5’9       165      Macomb, Mich.

Played high school football at Dakota H.S. where he excelled on the field where he helped guide the team to a 2015 MAC Conference Championship and District Championship…In 2015 he was named the Offensive Receiver of the Year…2016 Impact Player of the Year…Earned the 2016 Leadership Award…Honor Role student…Graduated Summa Cum Laude…Plans to major in Electrical Engineering at Michigan Tech.

Jared Smith                 RB       6’0       205      Westphalia, Mich.

Played high school football at Pewamo-Westphalia H.S. where he was a standout on the field and in the classroom…Holds five Michigan high school state records, 2-Time All-State running back…3-Time LSJ Dream Team…3-Time First Team All-Conference…3-Time All-County Offensive Player of the Year…Owns 8.179 career rushing yards and 123 rushing touchdowns…2-Time Team Offensive MVP…National Honor Society…Honor Roll student…Major is undecided.

Elias Sobah                 RB       5’10     195      Madison, Wis.

Played high school football at Madison La Follette H.S. where he helped lead the team to four straight playoff appearances for the first time in school history…Named First Team All-Region, Running Back of the Year in the Big Eight Conference, First Team All-Conference, and Back of the Year in the city of Madison…As a linebacker he was selected for Honorable Mention All-State, First Team All-Region, First Team All-Conference…Career stats include 1,238 yards with 18 touchdowns, 82 total tackles, nine tackles for a loss, six sacks, three forced fumbles, and one interception…Honor Roll student…Plans to major in Civil Engineering at Michigan Tech.

Louis Thom                 OL        6’5       250      Leonard, Mich.

Prepped at Romeo High School where he was a three-year varsity player…Named All-East Second Team…Selected to the All-Academic Team…Plans to major in Electrical Engineering.

Cody VanGoethem     P          5’10     170      West Branch, Mich.

Played high school football at Ogemaw Heights H.S….2015 First Team Big North All-Conference…Team MVP…2016 Most Valuable Special Teams Player…Career stats include 73 punts for 2,465 yards with a career best 62-yard punt…Averaged 33.8 yards per kick…Earned Academic Excellence honors in 2014 and 2015…Plans to major in Secondary Education at Michigan Tech.

Kyle Wood                  QB       6’0       185      Rochester Hills, Mich.

Prepped at Rochester Adams High School where he was a standout quarterback and student…He was a 3-Time All-OAA selection and was the team Offensive MVP three times as well…Wood is a dual threat quarterback who threw for 1,407 yards and 11 touchdowns last season while rushing for 804 yards and 11 touchdowns…Honor Roll student…Plans to major in Mechanical Engineering at Michigan Tech.

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