HELENA — Carroll College football coach Troy Purcell knows Montana really well.

He grew up in Helena and coached in cities such as Bozeman and Havre.

So it would be expected he would have a leg up recruiting in his home state.

Purcell announced Wednesday that the 2019 signing class featured nine of the 17 players coming from Montana high schools.

“You are always looking at Montana first.” Purcell said. “We signed a lot of good players from good programs, which is always a positive. They know how to work and they know how to excel.”

Three came from right here in Helena. Offensive lineman Brady Grigsby and defensive back Zach Spiroff are graduating from Helena High, while defensive back Matt McGinley played for Helena Capital. He also attended Carroll this past fall.

"I was looked at pretty much by all of the Frontier Schools, but Carroll was the right fit for me," McGinley told 406mtsports.com.

The other seven players came from near by states that includes Idaho and Oregon, but stretches through California, Nevada and Arizona.

With this being Purcell’s first recruiting class, he said there were positions he wanted to improve but overall his signing class included many different positions both on offense and defense.

He did not say specifically which positions he wanted to improve, but the offense struggled last season.

Quarterback Devan Bridgewater spent the fall of 2018 redshirting at NCAA Division II Colorado State-Pueblo.

Prior to that he attended Eagle High in Eagle, Idaho, where he was the 5A SIC Player of the Year during his senior season and was voted the team's most valuable player.

Other notable offensive positions include running backs Matthew Burgess from Junction City, Oregon, and wide receiver Cayden Loveland from Gooding, Idaho.

Burgess compiled 1,829 rushing yards and 26 touchdown runs his senior season, earning him a spot on first-team all-state and was a finalist for state player of the year.

Loveland also succeeded at the state level, receiving first-team all-state honors twice and was a two-time USA Today All-Idaho receiver. During his senior season he finished with 1,466 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns.

“Carroll has everything I ever need.” Loveland said. “Helena is a beautiful place and I know I can thrive in a place like Carroll.”

On the defensive side, the Saints signed two linebackers in Trent Durfey from Umatilla, Oregon, and JJ Lindsay from Billings West.

Lindsay finished last season as a first-team all state and first-team all conference stater for the Division AA state champion Golden Bears, while Durfey was a second-team all-state linebacker.

Three defensive backs and three defensive linemen also joins the Saints next season.

Michael Maafu attended Saguaro High in Phoenix where he was an all-region defensive lineman. He redshirted last year at the University of Idaho before making the decision to sign with Carroll.

The defense had a lot of success last year finishing first in the Frontier Conference in scoring defense, total defense, rushing defense and pass defense.

With no signing window like in the NCAA, Purcell and his coaching staff still expects to add more players before next season.

"It’s just something that we will work on,” Purcell said. “You only get so many scholarships you can give out so when that money is gone, that sort of ends it.”

Ryan Kuhn covers Carroll College athletics for the Independent Record and 406mtsports.com. Email him at ryan.kuhn@406mtsports.com or follow him on Twitter at @rskuhn

Carroll College sports reporter

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