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MSU-Northern's Rolin adds to the roster, has a busy summer ahead


Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Montana State University-Northern head coach Andrew Rolin works with middle school players during Tuesday's session of the MSU-Northern Lights Football Camp. Rolin recently announced more additions to his 2018 roster, as well as the hiring of a defensive line coach.

When Andrew Rolin took over the football program at Montana State University-Northern, he knew that he was going to have his work cut out for him with the 2018 recruiting class. However, as his initial class gets close to 40 players, it appears all of his hard work has paid off.

After announcing the majority of the Lights recruiting class back in March, Rolin announced the addition of a dozen more players last month before signing a few more recently.

"We still have a couple of spots left," Rolin said. "We could be looking at a class of 45 or 46 incoming guys, so it's a pretty exciting time, I think, for us."

While the first group of recruits Rolin signed had a heavy Montana flavor, the Lights second wave features more from the junior college ranks and out of state, with a couple of key exceptions. The first is quarterback Dakota Bridwell, who was formerly an All-State quarterback for Columbia Falls. He was at Western for a short time last season, but will be joining Northern this fall.

"He was at Western," Rolin said. "But then he left and I came across his film while I was recruiting other kids in Columbia Falls and I said that this kid needs to be playing college football. So we are excited about having him."

Bridwell will add to the quarterback competition that already features Tommy Wilson, Bryce Missey and Dylan Cook. Brenden Medina, another incoming quarterback from California, will also be in the mix. The other signal caller that will have a chance to compete for the starting job this fall will be Adam Besana (6-5, 245), a transfer from Pasadena City College. Besana attempted 81 passes last season, completing 43 for 560 yards and seven touchdowns.

"It's like I tell every guy, you will have a chance to come in and compete," Rolin said. "Competition breeds excellence, especially at the quarterback position, so we are excited about that."

Some of the other additions for the Lights include Tim Robinson (6-3, 200), who will join Northern after playing at Sacramento City College and Eddie Ortiz, a junior college running back from American River College. Other newcomers are tight end Jared Eisenbarth, corners Eric Reyna and Gary Carter, defensive tackle T.J. Tiatia, fullback Barjea Butler and a group of offensive lineman that includes Cisco Herrera, Spencer Kolody, T.J. Mauigoa, Josh Smith and Darius Alexander Jones, who played previously at Minot State.

Only Reyna, a corner who played for Kalispell (Flathead) and Bridwell were from Montana. Medina, Herrera, Carter, Butler and Tiatia are all from California, while Eisenbarth, and Mauigoa are from Washington. Smith comes to Northern from Kodiak, Alaska and Spencer resides from Saskatchewan in Canada.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Action from Tuesday's session of the Lights Football Camp.

"In that first wave, we got our base of Montana kids," Rolin said. "This time, we were a little heavier on the junior college transfer. We just wanted to try and fill some holes and add some depth at a few spots."

In another move, Rolin and the Lights have done some shuffling on the coaching staff after former offensive line coach Steven Oliver took a job at the University of Idaho. That opened up a spot on the Lights staff, which Rolin filled with C.J. Robertson, who will come over from the Minnesota-Duluth to coach the offensive line. Robertson played at Southern Illinois under Jerry Kill, who went on to become the head coach at the University of Minnesota.

"I think C.J. is going to fit great into what we do," Rolin said. "He fits into my style of play. I am really excited about what he brings to the table. He's a really good coach."


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