Carroll College has announced the signing of five football players. Two of the signings had previously been reported by the Independent Record. Another announced his commitment via Twitter and spoke to the IR.
The Saints announced the signing of Twin Bridges' Wesley Harshbarger, who was noteworthy for his 8-man football talents, Butte Central’s Nate McGree, Capital High’s Colin Sassano, Conrad’s Hunter Mycke and a prep standout from Casper, Wyoming, Rom Robitaille.
Garrett Kocab, a standout from California, also committed to the Saints on Twitter.
In total, the Saints’ class stands at nine, in addition to three transfer players currently on Carroll’s campus.
“You look at the NFL and over the last few years they’ve bragged about how many of the guys in the first and second round are multi-sport athletes in high school,” Van Diest said in the school's release. “My pet peeve is a guy that doesn’t go out for other sports. Yeah, a guy can be in the weight room and doing drills and working with a trainer, but you have a track coach there to help you with your speed, you have a basketball coach that can help with your hands.”
Mycke said the reasons were many for choosing Carroll.
“The school is phenomenal” he said. “As a person who will be trying to get into med school to become a chiropractor, the school was a no-brainer.”
Mycke said the people and the culture also influenced him, and the coaching staff completed the puzzle.
“I wanted to surround myself with people who will make me better and I will enjoy being around. Knowing teachers care enough to call you and ask you why you aren’t in class proves to me that I will be more than a number.”
“They are both great coaches and great people. I knew they were people who would make me better on the field and off the field.”
Mycke comes to Carroll after playing tight end, running back, linebacker and defensive end, while dabbling with various positions on special teams at Conrad. He's lettered four years in football, track and wrestling, and won a 205-pound championship in wrestling last season. He was voted twice as an All-State running back and linebacker, and was named his team's defensive MVP his junior year and offensive MVP his senior year.
“Hunter is a guy that is just a good fit for Carroll from Day 1,” Van Diest said. “He was here for junior day combine last year. He does all the right things. He is a very good football player at tight end and linebacker. I really love those wrestler-football player combination guys.”
Kocab (of Phelan, Californai) announced his commitment to Carroll last week, and recently spoke to the IR about this decision to commit to the Saints. Kocab comes to Carroll as a dual athlete, being recruited to play football and compete in track and field. He was named an all-league defensive lineman his junior and senior seasons as well as defensive MVP, while also gracing all-area and all-county lists. Kocab is a standout in the field, throwing the discus and shot put.
“I chose Carroll College because of the relationships I made with the coaching staff,” he said. “During my visit, I really liked the school and players I met and the community.”
Kocab was also recruited by College of Idaho, Fresno State and Marist of New York.
McGree, the younger brother of Colin McGree, joins the Saints as a wide receiver/defensive back combination. He was a first team All-State selection at defensive back this past season and was named an all-conference wide receiver. Fans will have a chance to see him compete in the East-West Shrine Game this summer.
“Nate says he is a better athlete than his brother and watching him on the basketball court, I would agree with him,” Van Diest said. “The big thing with Nate, is where do we play him at? Is he a wide receiver, is he a safety or is he a linebacker? It remains to be seen how big and strong he will get. (Butte Central coach) Don Peoples does such a good job coaching those guys; we know he will come in here prepared.”
Robitaille comes to Carroll from Natrona County High School in Casper. The 6-foot-2 linebacker earned All-State marks at tight end and linebacker. He made USA Today's All-USA Wyoming first team, Wyoming’s Super 25 Team and won defensive player of the year in his conference.
“He is an outstanding football player,” Van Diest said. “He is a second cousin to Peyton Sexe, so you know he has great genetics. He was a two-way All-State player at one of the biggest schools in the state of Wyoming. He is a starter on their basketball team. He is very intelligent, very good instincts and I really like his lateral movement. He reminds me a lot of (former Carroll standouts) Gary Cooper or Marcus Atkinson. He is that type of player.”
Sassano, a 6-foot defensive back out of Capital High, had previously spoken with the IR about his commitment to Carroll on Jan. 5, saying “I just always liked Carroll, growing up and going to the games and everything,” he said. “That definitely had something to do with it. It just seemed like a welcoming feel when I was there.”
“Colin kind of came out of nowhere. He didn’t play football his junior year, so what I knew of him was what he did in hockey and baseball,” Van Diest said. “He is a very good tackler and has a great sense of the game and he has a huge upside because he is just learning how to play the game of football. I think he is going to be a steal for us. When you look at him on film, he is a great open field tackler and very physical.”
Harshbarger, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound athlete, had also previously talked to the IR about his commitment, saying, “I'm not the biggest, I'm not the fastest, but I try to play hard every snap and I leave it out there when I play.”
*Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly referenced that Wesley Harshbarger was from Three Forks, not Twin Bridges.