Diversity & Inclusion Intern
MARQUETTE, Mich. - The Northern Michigan University football team will add 23 individuals to the incoming class as the 2020 NCAA National Signing Day comes to a close. The incoming class will feature 14 offensive players while an additional nine join the defensive core.
Three runnings backs are set to join the team in 2020, including Connor Joseph Gaeschke, Kobe Manzo and Walker Scott Plate. Gaeschke, 5-10 All-State running back joins the team from Notre Dame Prep while Manzo travels north in his home state from Lake Orion High School where he was OAA All-League, All-State in 2019 and was once named Metro Detroit's Player of the Week. The trio is rounded out by Plate who comes from a long line of collegiate athletes. Named Player of the Year during his high school career, he also holds the career touchdown record at his alma mater, Lumen Christi High School.
At quarterback, Zachary Keen adds depth for the Wildcats at the helm on the field. In 2017 he led his team to the playoffs, helping them earn their first berth in the postseason tournament in a decade. He was named team captain for two years and earned All-County Honorable Mention as well as to the All-Academic Team four years straight.
Standing in front of Keen, the offensive line will boast two new additions in Jack Kurowicki and Maguire Palicke. A two-sport athlete at Blissfield High School, Kurowicki joins the team on the O-Line as a recent First-Team All-League Offensive Tackle, First-Team All-League Defensive Tackle as well as All-County honors in both. He was also named MVP and a scholar-athlete during his high school career. Hailing from Utica High School, Palicke was a five-sport athlete during his high school career and earned both All-County and All-Region honors before his graduation.
Jedian Acevedo will join the team at wide receiver. The 5-8, 160 pound receiver was named First-Team All-Conference (offensive) and Honorable Mention All-Conference (defensive) during his career at Mason High School while also being named to the Associated Press Second-Team All-State and Detroit Free Press First-Team All-State. He also earned MHSFCA All-Region Team honors while helping his team to the Michigan state playoffs. His brother, Austin Montas-Burt, currently plays baseball at Northwood University. Alongside Acevedo, Caden Bigger will also suit up as a receiver for the Wildcats. A native of Menominee, this four-sport athlete in high school was named All-GNE Tight End and All-GNE Wide Receiver during his career. He also earned All-UP Honorable mention honors and was named All-UP Dream Team Honorable Mention. Jaleel Payne round out the wide receivers in this signing class. A 5-11, 155 pound receiver, he joins the team from Chicago Kenwood Academy as an All-City and All-Conference honoree.
Also on the offensive side of the ball is four incoming tight ends in Michael Nehf, Griffin "Otto" Swanson, Nicholas Edington and Marcus Wright. A three-sport athlete in high school, Nehf earned First Team 2019 All-State Division III MHSFCA and LSJ All-Area Class A honors. Two upper peninsula natives also join the Wildcat squad at the tight end position with Swanson hailing from Ishpeming and Edington coming to Marquette out of Pickford. Swanson was named to the 2019 First-Team All-Conference and earned 2019 All-UP Special Mention while Edington earned All-State, All-UP and All-Conference recognition twice in his high school career. The final tight end addition is Wright. Standing at 6-2 and 220 pounds, the incoming freshman was named team captain during his sophomore year of high school and earned All-Academic Player honors while at Montini Catholic High School.
In the offensive backfield, Kyle Sahr will join the Wildcats at Full Back. A native of Lapeer, Sahr was named First-Team All-League, 2019 Flint Area Dream Team member and 2019 All-State Honorable Mention. He also helped his team to the 2018 Conference Championship, District Championship, being named runners-up in both contests.
On the other side of the ball, four linebackers will join the team for the fall in Schyler Anderson, Justin Peake, Will Borchert and Jason Coulter. Anderson hails from Manistique where he was named First-Team Punter, UP First-Team Running Back, All-State Honorable Mention and Conference Offensive Player of the Year for the West Pac Conference Iron Division. Peake also earned multiple honors throughout his high school career, including All-Area, All-State Honorable Mention and All-Conference twice. Borchert, a native of Mukwonago, Wisconsin, joins the team having earned All-State, All-Region and All-Conference honors in high school. Adding to the linebacker group of incoming freshman is Coulter, a 6-2, 223 pound right tackle and linebacker out of Plainfield, Illinois. Named Defensive Player of the Year while with the Tai-City Wolverines, Coulter also participate in wrestling at Plainfield North High School.
At cornerback, Kobe Jamison travels to Marquette from Bloomingdale, Illinois. The two-time unanimous All-Conference player attended Glenbard North where he was also named All-Area and All-State. His brother also played collegiate football, starting at Iowa Dubuque before transferring to Georgia Southern.
The defensive line will add three individuals to the signing class of 2020 in Jacob Kugler, Hunter Soletski and Nathan Kwapisz. Kugler, a native of Ishpeming, was named the 2019 Lineman of the Year as well as earning All-UP Dream Team and All-Conference First-Team Offensive and Defensive honors. Soletski comes to the Wildcats from Green Bay, Wisconsin where he played for Notre Dame Academy. The final addition on the defensive line is Kwapisz who was named All-Conference and Second-Team All-County during his high school career in Brighton, Michigan.