MARYVILLE, Mo. - Northwest Missouri State University head football coach Adam Dorrel has announced the additions of 32 student-athletes to the Bearcat roster following national signing day on Wednesday. This year's class includes 11 signees from the state of Missouri, followed by nine from Iowa, four from Illinois, three from Kansas, two from Nebraska, two from Wisconsin and one from Florida. The class carries a 3.4 GPA average and the 32 commits averaged a 23 on the ACT.
"I would like to thank our coaching staff for their continued hard work," said Dorrel. "The entire staff was organized and did a great job recruiting quality student-athletes and their families to our campus. I would personally like to thank all the professors and university staff members who helped us with our academic appointments. We appreciate their hard work and ever year, we get countless compliments from our parents on how much better our academic appointments are than other visits they go on.
"We utilize so many different departments on campus to help give recruits a great experience when they visit here. I would like to personally thank Lori Hopkins, Nate Davis, Scott Nielson, Del Morley, Joe and Kelly Quinlin, the entire admissions staff, Dr. Matt Walker, Tucker Peve, Marshall Fey and Ashley Pregeant and the staff in the Talent Development Center."
6-3 | 230 | TE
Blue Springs, Mo. | Blue Springs High School
BIO: Marqus Andrews was named a second team all-conference and second team all-area performer at Blue Springs High School ... two year starter ... invited to the Mo-Kan All Star Game ... was a four-year Presidental Honor Roll honoree ... member of FCA for two seasons ... coached by Kelly Donohoe ... mother is Michelle Andrews ... anticipated major is sports medicine.
6-1 | 200 | LB
Omaha, Neb. | Omaha North HS
BIO: Cole Bixler was a first team All-Metro performer ... named the Defensive Lineman of the Year ... Academic All-Metro ... named to the Super State team and served as honorary captain ... an Academic All-State honoree ... two time state champion, leading team to 12-1 record in 2013 and a perfect 13-0 record in 2014 ... coached by Larry Martin ... parents are Steve Bixler and Trish Haniszewski ... undecided on major.
6-0 | 200 | LB
Kansas City, Mo. | Park Hill HS
BIO: Jamaal Brazil was a first team all-conference performer at Park Hill High School ... was also named first team all-district ... coached by Josh Hood, a Northwest Missouri State alum ... parents are Candice & Alvin Burns and Darwin Brazil ... anticipated major is business management.
6-3 | 285 | OL
Maryville, Mo. | Maryville HS
BIO: Jacob Cacek was a first team all-state performer in 2013 and 2014 by the coaches' poll and AP poll ... two time first team all-district offensive line ... two time first team All-Midland Empire on the offensive line... named first team all-conference on the defensive line as a senior after being named second team as a junior ... named a first team All-St. Joseph News Press offensive lineman as a senior, earning second team honors as a junior ... KKWK/KMRN All-Star Top-50 performer as a senior ... coached by Matt Webb ... parents are Jay and Janet Cacek ... anticipated major is business management.
Christopher "Cam" Cornelius
5-10 | 186 | RB
Palatine, Ill. | Palatine HS
BIO: Cam Cornelius was named the MSL West Division Player of the Year at Palatine High School ... earned all-conference and all-area honors ... named honorable mention all-state ... coached by Rick Splitt ... Christopher and Michelle Cornelius ... anticipated major is physical education.
6-3 | 175 | K
Jacksonville, Ill. | Jacksonville HS
BIO: Zack DeWitt was a two sport standout at Jacksonville High School ... named honorable mention all-conference as a senior ... earned special team MVP honors as a junior and again as a senior ... named Academic All-Central State Eight Conference twice in football and three times in soccer ... earned soccer all-conference honorable mention accolades in 2013 ... member of National Honor Society ... member of National English Honor Society ... earned High Honor Roll honors ... carries a 4.2 GPA ... coached by Mike Grounds ... Justin and Jennifer DeWitt ... anticipated major is pre-engineering.
6-5 | 230 | DE
Little Chute, Wisc. | Little Chute HS
BIO: Mike Ehlke was a unanimous first team all-conference performer at Little Chute High School ... was a first team all-state performer ... named first team all-area ... served as team captain ... named team defensive MVP ... coached by Brian Ryczkowaski ... father is Vern Ehlke ... anticipated major is biology.
6-4 | 275 | OL
Kansas City, Mo. | Park Hill HS
BIO: Anthony Enriquez as a first team all-state performer at Park Hill High School ... also named first team all-state by the Missouri Media ... named a Blue-Grey All-America performer ... Elite 81 second team ... first team all-district ... first team all-conference ... named honorable mention all-metro ... coached by Josh Hood, a Northwest Missouri State alum ... mother is Kim Enriquez ... anticipated major is computer science.
5-11 | 190 | FS, KR, PR
Kearney, Mo. | Kearney HS
BIO: Jake Gassman was a named first team all-state as a returner at Kearney High School ... also named first team all-district at free safety ... coached by Greg Jones, a former Northwest Missouri State alum ... parents are John and Vicki Gassman ... anticipated major is pre-physical therapy.
6-1 | 270 | OL
St. Louis, Mo. | Hazlewood West HS
BIO: TyDarrius Griffin was the conference offensive lineman of the year at Hazelwood West High School ... named first team all-conference ... earned second team all-state and second team all-metro honors ... garnered 2014 All-America honors ... coached by Carl Reed ... parents are Tommie and Markesha Dabney ... anticipated major is history education.
6-0 | 220 | LB
Hartland, Wisc. | Arrowhead HS
BIO: Andy Hessler helped lead Arrowhead High School to a pair of state championships ... named first team all-state ... three year starter ... two time all-conference ... named all-area twice ... earned first team all-county honors ... named first team all-region ... coached by Greg Malling ... parents are Jim and Lynn Hessler ... anticipated major is business/entrepreneurship.
6-5 | 200 | QB
Stanwood, Iowa | North Cedar HS
BIO: Jayden Johnson was a two time district MVP at North Cedar High School ... two-time first team all-district ... named second team All-State by INA twice ... earned first team All-State by IowaPreps.com in 2014 after earning third team All-State honors as a junior ... namedIowa Sports Spotlight first team All-State as a senior and was a second team All-State performer as a junior ... named second team All-State by the Des Moines Registeras a senior ... earned a pair of first team All-Eastern Iowa honors from the Quad City Times and was named Player of the Year as a senior ... coached by Charlie Feller ... parents are Jerry and Karrie Johnson ... anticipated major is business management.
6-2 | 215 | LB
Kearney, Neb. | Kearney HS
BIO: Eli Keller was an all-academic team honoree at Kearney High School ... brother of former Northwest volleyball player Mackie Keller '14 ... coached by Brandon Cool ... parents are Terri and RJ Keller ... anticipated major is medicine.
6-5 | 205 | TE
Nashua, Iowa | Nashua-Plainfield HS
BIO: Jordan Klingman was a first team all-state performer at Nashua-Plainfield High School ... named first team all-district and was the district's Defensive Player of the Year ... named academic all-state ... also earned first team all-conference honors in basketball ... was a state track and field meet qualifier ... coached by Troy Tysdahl, a former Northwest football alum and team captain ... parents are Barry and Dena Klingman ... anticipated major is pre-physical therapy.
5-10 | 195 | RB
Maryville, Mo. | Maryville HS
BIO: Brody McMahon was named a first-team All-State performer three times at Maryville High School ... three time all-conference performer ... 2013 Missouri Class 3 Offensive Player of the Year ... team captain as a senior ... parents are Kevin and April McMahon ... coached by Matt Webb.
6-0 | 230 | FB
Ackley, Iowa | AGWSR HS
BIO: Clay Meinders was named first team All-State by theDes Moines Register as a senior ... earned first team All-State honors by INA after being named second team as a junior ... three time first team all-district ... named district defensive MVP as a senior ... was runner up in the shot put in 2014 after placing seventh in 2013 ... placed third in state wrestling at 220 lbs after placing seventh at 195 in 2013 ... member of the honor roll ... American Legion Iowa Boys State participant ... holds a 3.8 cumulative GPA ... coached by Skip Eckhardt ... parents are Dawn and Korey Meinders ...anticipated major is business management.
6-4 | 235 | DE
Edwardsville, Ill. | Edwardsville HS
BIO: Curt Mueller was a two time first team all-conference performer at Edwardsville High School ... helped lead to the second round of the state playoffs in 2014 ... team advanced to the 2013 state semi-finals ... coached by Matt Martin ... parents are Art and Cindy Mueller ... anticipated major is social science education.
6-6.5 | 275 | OL
Eudora, Kan. | Eudora HS
BIO: Jonathan Ortiz earned honorable mention accoaldes as an offensive tackle during his sophomore and junior seasons ... also earned honorable mention honors as a senior at guard ... coached by Jesse Owen ... parents are Mary and Gary Ortiz ... undecided on major.
6-4 | 240 | OL
Cedar Rapids, Iowa | Xavier HS
BIO: Tim Otting was named a first team All-State performer by the Iowa Newspaper Association ... first team all-district and first team all-area performer ... named second team All-State by the Des Moines Register... earned Metro Sports Report Athlete of the Week honors ... coached by Duane Schulte ... parents are Mark and Beth Otting ... anticipated major is pre-physical therapy.
6-3 | 235 | DE
Tabor, Iowa | Fremont-Mills HS
BIO: Spencer Phillips was honored as a first team All-State preformer by the Des Moines Register, Iowa Newspaper Association and Iowa Preps ... led team to Iowa state championship game for 8 man ... named All-Mills County ... named all-area at running back by Valley News ... earned first team All-Class honors from the Omaha World Herald ... was the Valley News and Clarinda Herald Journal Player of the Year ... was the Caseys' Sport Spotlight Defensive Player of the Year and a first team all-defense performer ... coached by Jeremy Christiansen ... parents are Brett and Annie Phillips ... anticipated major is pre-veterinary.
6-4 | 245 | DL
Gladbrook, Iowa | Gladbrook-Reinbeck HS
BIO: Zach Pierce was a two time first team All-State performer at Gladbrook-Reinbeck High School ... was a three time first team all-district performer ... named the Defensive Player of the Year in district 4 ... selected to play in 2015 Iowa Shrine Bowl ... was a third team All-State performer in basketball ... was a two-time all-conference and sub-state basketball honoree ... qualified for state in the shot put and discus as a junior ... coached by John Olson ... anticipated major is biology.
5-11 | 170 | DB
Kansas City, Mo. | Liberty North HS
BIO: KiAndre Pugh was named a first team all-state performer by the Associated Press at Liberty North High School ... first team all-district and first team all-conference ... also was a first team All-Simone Team, earning all-metro honors as a senior ... named a first team all-state and all-district performer as a junior ... was a second team all-conference performer as a junior ... coached by Ken Clemens ... father, Charles Pugh, was a former defensive back and kick returner for the Bearcats and played on two national championship teams ... mother is Tiffany Davis ... anticipated major is business.
6-4 | 240 | TE
Olathe, Kan. | St. Thomas Aquinas HS
BIO: Kyle Raunig was named a first team all-state performer by the Kansas Football Coaches Association at St. Thomas Aquinas High School ... first team All-EKL performer ... served as team captain and led team to state runner-up finish as a senior ... three year starter, earning postseason honors all three seasons ... maintained a 3.7 GPA and was an honor roll recipient ... was a Senior Ambassador for St. Thomas Aquinas ... coached by Randy Dreiling ... parents are Mike and Lisa Raunig ... anticipated major is pre-physical therapy.
6-1 | 215 | DE
Tampa, Fla. | HB Plant HS
BIO: Myles Scott led HB Plant High School in sacks as a senior ... two year varsity starter ... named to the Big County Preps Must Watch List as a senior ... coached by Robery Weiner ... parents are Pia Scott and Kendrix Jones ... anticipated major is psychology.
6-0 | 200 | LS/LB
Harlan, Iowa | Harlan Community HS
BIO: Michael Sorfonden was an All-Western Iowa linebacker at Harlan Community High School ... named an All-State performer at linebacker by the Iowa Newspaper Association ... became first player to earn a varsity letter as a freshman in program history ... two time all-district performer ... named academic All-State and academic All-District ... voted high school's Best Male Athlete of 2015 ... National Honor Society member ... student council representative ... was a two-time all-conference performer in golf and has qualified for state twice ... two time state basketball and two time state football qualifier ... three time state baseball qualifier ... named an Honorary Hero for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society after surviving a battle with cancer ... coached by Curt Bladt ... parents are Mark and Jani Sorfonden ... anticipated major is business management.
6-3 | 250 | TE
Bettendorf, Iowa | Pleasant Valley HS
BIO: Ryan Spelhaug was named second team All-State by the Des Moines Register and the Iowa News Association at Pleasant Valley High School as a senior ... selected to the 2015 Iowa Shrine Bowl ... named first team all-district and all-metro as a senior on the offensive line ... first team all-conferece as a junior at tight end ... was an academic all-conference performer in baseball, basketball and football ... coached by Rusty VanWetzinga ... parents are Jim and Julie Spelhaug ... anticipated major is business management.
5-10 | 205 | RB
St. Louis, Mo. | Miller Career Academy
BIO: Marquis Stewart was a two time All-State performer at Miller Career Academy ... two-time all-conference performer and twice named conference Player of the Year ... served as team captain three times ... set school single season rushing records in rushing yards (1,863) and touchdowns (26) ... ran for 3,463 career yards on 298 carries and 11.6 yards per carry ... caught 54 career passes for 1,042 yards and 19.2 yards per catch ... had 500 career return yards and 5,009 career all purpose yards ... scored 46 career touchdowns .. qualified for state track and field in the 4x100 meter relay and the 100 meter dash two times ... coached by Sorrell Harvey ... mother is Marita Stewart ... anticipated major is criminal justice.
6-0 | 200 | DB
Raytown, Mo. | Raytown HS
BIO: Joe Staws was an honorable mention all conference quarterback at Raytown High School ... named academic All-State as a senior ... member of National Honor Society ... named to the Honor Roll ... coached by Kevin Page ... parents are Theresa and Dwayne Straws ... anticipated major is pre-physical therapy.
6-4 | 195 | WR
Maryland Heights, Mo. | Pattonville HS
BIO: Jake Stroker was a first team all-conference and a first team all-district performer at Pattonville High School ... earned second team All-State by the media and third team All-State by the coaches ... named third team All-St. Louis metro area ... named team MVP and Offensive Player of the Year ... Missouri Lions Club All-Star Classic selection ... broke single season receiving record with 837 yards ... tied single season record with 46 catches ... four year varsity starter ... three year team captain ... started at wide receiver, quarterback, safety and outside linebacker while in high school ... coached by Steve Smith ... parents are Mark and Leslie Stroker ... anticipated major is special education with an emphasis in coaching.
6-0 | 206 | P
Roeland Park, Kan. | Bishop Miege HS
BIO: Matt Thorman was an honorable mention All-EKL punter as a senior at Bishop Miege High School ... voted team MVP of club rugby team ... awarded Boy Scouts of America's highest honor with status as an Eagle Scout ... coached by Jon Holmes ... parents are Heidi and Dan Thorman ... anticipated major is exercise science.
6-1 | 217 | LB
Cedar Rapids, Iowa | Cedar Rapids Washington HS
BIO: Connor Vincent was named a first team All-State performer by the Des Moines Register and the Iowa Newspaper Association ... named to the Des Moines Register Elite All-State team ... Gazette/KCRG Defensive Player of the Year ... 4A Sports Spotlight Defensive Player of the Year ... District 6 Defensive Player of the Year ... Gazette/KCRG All-Area team ... given the Metro Spotlight Award ... 134.5 tackles as a senior ... set school records for solo tackles and tackles for loss ... earned third team All-State honors as a junior and was first team all-metro and first team all-conference ... coached by Paul James ... mother is Sue Vincent ... anticipated major is business management.
5-9 | 170 | WR
Bolingbrook, Ill. | Bolingbrook HS
BIO: Quincy Woods was an all-state performer at Bolingbrook High School ... two time all-area and all-conference ... member of 2011 8A state championship team ... three year varsity starter and four year letterwinner ... mother is Lynn Sulzberger ... father, Quincy Woods, was a 1994 Parade All-America selection who signed with USC ... uncle, Pee Wee Woods, played at Oklahoma as a defensive back ... coached by John Ivlow ... anticipated major is pre-physical therapy.
Chief Sports Reporter
There are two phrases the Northwest football program lives by: Once a Bearcat, always a Bearcat; the other is ‘Family.’
For Northwest head coach Adam Dorrel and 32 new Bearcat commits, those two phrases will become synonymous throughout the next five years.
That phrase hit home for one Northwest commit at an early age. KiAndre Pugh played his high football at Liberty North, where played wide receiver. His father Charles Pugh played at Northwest for Coach Tjeerdsma and won back-to-back national titles with the Bearcats.
“I’ve been a member of the Bearcat family since I was little kid,” KiAndre Pugh said. “My dad graduated from Northwest and won two national championships. I know the legacy and success of the program.”
Dorrel says he can remember when KiAndre Pugh was just a little kid, running around in the locker room when he was two or three years old. Pugh’s father, Charles, was a teammate of Dorrel’s when he play for the Bearcats in the late ‘90s.
“Charlie has been a guy that has stayed very active in our program since he left,” Dorrel said. “He’s done a really good job of helping us identify kids in Kansas City for years. Any time that you get a former player that is going out his way to help a former program it always meant a lot to me personally.”
Due to inexperience at key positions, Dorrel believes there will be a larger number of players who could see extensive playing time as freshmen this coming season. He cited players such as KiAndre Pugh and pass rushing specialist Myles Scott out of Tampa being able to have that opportunity.
“I’m not going to tell a kid that he is going to play early. That could be a recipe for disaster,” Dorrel said. “The first thing that we talk about is our academics, our graduation rate. We normally redshirt 97 percent of our kids and we are very upfront with them on that.”
The Bearcats attacked two positions of need this year, according to Dorrel: linebacker and tight end. With All-MIAA players like linebackers DJ Gnader and Eric Reimer and tight end Marcus Wright departing for graduation, he had little choice.
“This is a huge recruiting class for us,” Dorrel said. “With the graduation of 21 seniors, we literally took one kid at every position. The two positions that we really needed to address were linebacker and tight end. I thought we hit a home run at both of those positions.”
One of those tight ends that really impressed Dorrel is Marqus Andrews from Blue Springs. Andrews was named to the second team all-conference while at Blue Springs before committing to the Bearcats.
“The one thing that really impressed me was the family aspect that team showed,” Andrews said. “It’s been a successful program over the years, and it will continue to be that way.”
Dorrel did not shy away from praising Andrews as he even compared him to Wright, but its Andrews personality off the field that really caught his eye.
“We recruited that kid really hard. When we were in Kansas City last year, we couldn’t find tight ends that did what we wanted them to do,” Dorrel said. “Marqus has a great support system, with his mom and grandparents. I think that he has a chance to be really good here.”
There were numerous other key players noted by Dorrel. Running back Cam Cornelius out of Chicago can run in between the tackles and earned all-conference honors.
Dorrel said Jamaal Brazil out of Kansas City has lightning speed and the leadership skills required to be a Bearcat as Josh Hood, a former Bearcat coached him.
Northwest also stretched its pipeline out to Wisconsin this year and had to fight off several FCS and the powerhouse northern Division II schools to get tight end Andy Hessler. He was first team all-state while capturing a pair of state titles. Dorrel said this was the first time they physically went to Wisconsin to recruit.
Northwest is also hoping to land a couple more recruits out of Florida as the signing process plays itself out. Dorrel said they scouted roughly 500 Florida players.
The 2015 class consists of 11 players from Missouri, nine from Iowa, four from Illinois, three from Kansas, two from Nebraska, two from Wisconsin and one from Florida.
After winning two state titles in a three-year span as the starting running back for Maryville High School, Brody McMahon has decided to take his talents two miles north to Northwest Missouri State.
“You can find 100 running backs across the country that put up the rushing yards that he did,” coach Adam Dorrel said. “There’s not 100 kids that also catch the ball out of the backfield like he does and that have a good blitz pick-up like he does.”
Winning two state titles was just a dent into the many accolades that McMahon accomplished during his decorated high school career.
As a sophomore, McMahon got his first crack at some playing time and took full advantage of his opportunity. In his first full year as the starting running back, McMahon flashed some rare multidimensional skills.
Besides rushing for 1,118 yards and 13 touchdowns, McMahon also caught 38 passes for 681 yards and 10 touchdowns. McMahon’s skill set from the get-go was extremely vital to the team’s success.
“He (McMahon) can do it all,” head coach Matt Webb said. “He’s got speed, he’s got the elusiveness, he can break away in the open field, and he can also run physical when he needs to.”
McMahon’s contributions during his sophomore year helped propel the Spoofhounds to a 15-0 record and the Class 3 State Championship.
McMahon’s second year as a full-time starter would prove to be just as special as his first.
He would again lead the team in rushing with 1,267 yards, despite battling a nagging ankle injury. Fortunately for the Spoofhounds, McMahon got healthy at the right time and he helped lead the team to their second straight state championship.
With McMahon fresh off of winning his second straight state title, much was expected of him heading into his senior year. Even though the Spoofhounds failed to capture a third straight state championship, McMahon’s senior year was nothing short of incredible.
During the Class 3 District 8 finals against St. Pius X, McMahon set the single-game team rushing record with 301 yards on the ground.
When the Spoofhounds lost to Oak Grove in the state quarterfinals, McMahon’s Spoofhounds career came to an abrupt end. As a senior, McMahon accounted for 2,857 yards from scrimmage and scored 42 touchdowns, landing him the Maryville single-season touchdown record. McMahon also broke the school’s career rushing mark his senior season with 4,699 total rushing yards.
Along with amassing the career rushing record, McMahon recorded 1,422 total receiving yards and scored 82 touchdowns in his three seasons as a starter.
With McMahon’s high school career in the rearview mirror, he will begin the next phase of his football career after signing his letter of intent Wednesday.
Choosing to play for Northwest was an easy decision for McMahon to make. To continue his development and gain more experience as a football player, McMahon will redshirt his freshman year at Northwest.
“I was born and raised here and I grew up a fan (of Northwest). I watched every game. I like the tradition. I know all of the coaches, and I feel like I already fit in,” McMahon said.
After a monumental career as a Spoofhound, Jacob Cacek decided to stick to his old stomping grounds and become a Bearcat.
Cacek said a successful tradition was a big role in his decision after helping the Spoofhounds to two state titles.
“Tradition was something I was really looking for,” Cacek said. “Northwest has been really successful in the past 20 years and it’s just something special to play on your hometown team. You know everyone that’s here, got a lot of fans and people you know.”
Maryville head coach Matt Webb once said this senior class treated one another like brothers. That has shown itself again as the incoming lineman looks forward to making college memories with his Spoofhounds teammate, running back Brody McMahon.
“It’s awesome and it’s very rewarding,” Webb said “Those guys have earned the right to play at that high level ... As a high school coach, you want to make sure that your players not only an opportunity to play at the next level but that they are also going to a great program.”
Northwest head coach Adam Dorrel has watched Cacek develop over the years in the summer camps hosted by Northwest. After watching him grow, Dorrel knew this is a guy he really wanted to sign.
“We are very excited about him,” Dorrel said. “This is a young man I’ve had the privilege to watch for a long time, had him in our camp for four years … He played some guard but then you also saw him play tackle and you think that’s a can’t miss guy.”
By staying in Maryville, Cacek knows he will already have some great support to boost him through the new chapter of his career.
“We know the town, we know the campus and we also know the coaches,” Cacek said “We’ve grown up watching these coaches walk sidelines and we would talk to them after games things like that … But there’s a sense of comfort knowing who they are.”
For Webb, having not just one, but two, of his players continue in their career in Maryville speaks a lot about not only the Hounds, but the town as well.
“It’s a great honor to be recruited by a (high) caliber university like Northwest Missouri State,” Webb said. “I’m excited to continue to watch those guys play along the other guys that signed there recently and I think it’s awesome for our community to continue to watch players from our high school and play at a very high level.
“Northwest is a nationally recognized university and football program, that program does an amazing job and it’s great to continue to watch those guy’s careers.
In his years at Maryville, Cacek was a two-time first team All-State offensive lineman in his junior and senior year also and one of the team captains last season. Webb says this will help McMahon and Cacek do well as they continue their careers.
“Both of them were selected as team captains by the team,” Webb said. “They had excellent leadership through their careers here. Jacob is one of the finest men you’ll ever meet, not only as a football player but as a person. He’s committed to academics and does a good job in school and outside of football.”