It is national signing day, and for prep players around the country, that means inking with a collegiate team to further athletic and academic careers.
While the NAIA does not recognize a formal signing day, it is still a time when many schools will announce the first wave of new recruits to their program. Carroll College will do just that today, announcing a prep class that figures to anchored by at least two, two-star prospects and a slew of Idaho products.
"The entire coaching staff did an outstanding job of finding talented, driven players that will be an outstanding fit at Carroll College," Saints head coach Troy Purcell said in a media release. "We’re excited to add nine players from the state of Montana, as well as players from Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and Utah. The class consists of 14 team captains, 12 all-state athletes, 18 multi-sport athletes, 11 three-sport athletes, and 11 State Champions. We’re excited about the future of these young men and the future of Carroll College Fighting Saints Football."
Cormac Benn - WR, 6-foot-1, 190 pounds
From Bigfork High School, Benn was a three-sport athlete at the prep level. He made First-Team All-Conference on the football field as an RB/DB, and was also All-State during his senior season. He is also committed to Carroll's track and field program.
Benn ran for north of 1,900 yards during the 2020 season, racking up 25 touchdowns. He also caught 59 passes for Bigfork in his career, totaling over 800 yards.
Chayton Winkle - LB, 5-foot-10, 205 pounds
Winkle is an All-State linebacker from Capital High School. He racked up over 100 tackles during his senior season, including 14 for a loss of yardage. According to his prep coaches, Winkle is a hard-worker and loves the weight room.
"I chose Carroll College because the coaching staff treated me as family. The program and academics are top notch and I really like the energy and family-like atmosphere at Carroll," Winkle said in a media release.
Hunter Peck - LB, 6-foot-2, 215 pounds
A product of Windsor High School in Colorado, Peck racked up 49 tackles during his senior season, finishing his prep career with 114. His best season on defense came during his junior campaign when he logged 60 tackles, including nine tackles for loss.
Max Lehman - RB, 5-foot-10, 195 pounds
Lehman was a Second-Team All-State running back during his senior season at Rocky Mountain High School in Idaho. He was the starting running back for a team that captured the Idaho 5A State Championship.
"I chose Carroll College because of the winning culture and academic prestige, as well as the strong brotherhood and great coaching staff," Lehman said.
Carter Murdock - ATH, 6-foot-3, 215 pounds
Murdock is a Utah product from Ridgeline High School. He was primarily a pass-catcher during his prep career, but will enter Carroll's system as an athlete. His 6-foot-3 frame bodes well for a number of different positions, and the Saints have a great track with athletes in their program.
Bryan Holland - OLB, 6-foot, 200 pounds
Holland is another home-grown product for the Saints from Butte Central High School. Holland was a Second-Team All-Conference selection as a defensive end during his senior season and was picked to play in the Montana East-West Shrine Game.
Easton Durham - WR, 6-foot, 170 pounds
Durham is one of the two, two-star recruits Carroll is expected to announce today. According to 247Sports, Durham in the 28th-best prep player in the state of Idaho.
Jack Prka - QB, 6-foot-1, 185 pounds
Prka is the other two-star recruit Carroll got during this wave of recruiting. He is listed as a pro-style quarterback from Coeur D'Alene High School in Idaho. Prka is also the 107th-best pro-style quarterback in the country, according to 247Sports and the 14th-best prospect in the state of Idaho.
Prka threw for over 6,100 yards during his high school career, including over 3,700 yards as a junior. His senior campaign saw him toss for nearly 2,400 yards and 32 touchdowns in nine games.
"I chose Carroll College because I fell in love with the family aspect of the school, team, and community. They are a winning team and I can help them win championships," Prka said.
Branson Becker - ATH, 5-foot-11, 205 pounds
Becker is from Lolo, Montana and attended Valley Christian High School. He was primarily a ball-carrier on his six-man football team.
Brock Paldi - K/P, 6-foot, 165 pounds
Paldi's presence will add to the Saints' depth at kicker, an area where they are a bit young already. Paldi is from Rex Putnam High School in Oregon and can kick fields as well as punt the football.
Jack England - FB, 6-foot-1, 210 pounds
England will his high school teammate Max Lehman in the backfield at Carroll. England did a little bit of everything for Rocky Mountain High School, but was a 5A All-SIC fullback, and also a state champion.
Braeden York - DL, 6-foot-2, 280 pounds
York adds some size to Carroll's interior defensive line position. He is from Mead High School in Spokane, Washington. On film, he can be seen getting after the quarterback after blowing through offensive guards and their blocks.
"I chose Carroll College because the coaching staff and professors at Carroll were really welcoming and wanted to get to know me better as a person. They have a great program with success that has lasted over the years," York said.
Mitch Muralt - TE, 6-foot-3, 200 pounds
Muralt is a Big Sky High School product from Missoula, Montana. He will join Tony Collins and others in Carroll's tight end room after graduating from the prep ranks. He is solid in the run-blocking department, something the Saints like to do with their tight ends, and in the pass-catching department as well.
Daxon Graham - DB, 5-foot-11, 160 pounds
Graham is the first of two Beaverhead County High School products to be announced by the Saints on Wednesday. From Dillon, Graham played both sides of the ball during his prep career, but was introduced by Carroll as a defensive back. He will join the Saints' defense under new defensive coordinator and DB's coach, Wes Nurse.
"I chose Carroll College because of the outstanding coaching staff, professors, and culture," Graham said.
Teegan Thomas - RB, 5-foot-8, 165 pounds
Thomas is another running back from the state of Idaho. He is a two-time 4A First-Team All-State and Conference selection. Thomas brings speed to the position as a track star in high school. On the football field, Thomas racked up over 1,800 yards on the ground last season.
Marcus Wittman - QB, 6-foot-1, 195 pounds
From Billings Central High School, Wittman adds to Carroll's depth at the quarterback position. He finished his prep career with over 1,700 passing yards and 18 touchdowns through the air. He also added another 400 yards and 13 scores with his legs.
Ryan Bohr - OL, 6-foot-5, 250 pounds
Bohr was a starting tackle for Rocky Mountain High School, helping to pave the way for his running back Lehman. He has the physical size at 6-foot-5 to be a difference-maker for the Saints, and under offensive line and strength and conditioning coach Ryan Springer, expect Bohr to add some good weight to his frame.
"I chose Carroll College because of the prestige of the football program, the relationship I had with the coaches, and the outstanding education that I will be able to get," Bohr said in a release.
Cole Truman - WR, 6-foot-5, 180 pounds
Truman has the frame every wide receivers coach dreams of. For Carroll, that is Alex Pfannenstiel's charge as wide-outs coach and offensive coordinator. Truman will rejoin his teammate at Beaverhead County High School Daxon Graham with the Saints. Given Carroll's attrition at the wide receiver spot, Truman could see himself on the field in short order.
Beaux Taylor - DB, 5-foot-11, 170 pounds
Taylor was the final addition from Rocky Mountain High School to this round of Carroll's recruiting. He has good size at 5-foot-11 for a defensive back and earned 5A All-SIC honors at his position as a senior. Taylor also adds to Carroll's stable of prep state champions.
Aiden Mason - DB, 6-foot-1, 185 pounds
Speaking of size at the defensive back position, Mason has it all and then some. A product of Chiawana High School in Pasco, Washington, Mason as the ball-hawking skills necessary for a collegiate safety. He also jumps out on film for his ability to make quick breaks on the ball and tough catches.
Dylan Nieskens - LB, 6-foot-2, 210 pounds
Nieskens played his prep football at Glasgow High School in Glasgow, Montana and was a standout at his outside linebacker position. He booked 70 tackles, including 2.5 for a loss of yardage, during his senior season while catching 10 passes from his tight end position. Nieskens is also a two-time state champion wrestler.
"I chose Carroll College because I felt a great connection with the coaches and the school is a great fit for me," Nieskens said.
Saved the best for last!!— Carroll Football (@FootballCarroll) February 3, 2021
Our last signee is another #406Saint with bona fide credentials on the field and on the mat!!
Saints fans, please welcome Dylan Nieskens from Glasgow, Montana to the family!!#C4#FIGHTCLUB21@DylanNieskens pic.twitter.com/Diy6ii1uNN
Class Totals: 21 players - 10 offensive, 8 defensive, 2 athletes, 1 special teams