Northwest Missouri State coach Rich Wright smiles as he discusses the Bearcats' 2019 recruiting class with the media on Wednesday at the Bearcat athletic offices. 

MARYVILLE, Mo. — Northwest Missouri State coach Rich Wright wasn't shy about the team’s priorities going into this recruiting cycle, he wanted some immediate contributors at the offensive skill positions and particularly at wide receiver where the team is replacing one of the best pass catchers in school history with Shawn Bane. 

The Bearcats answered that with the addition of four junior college transfer wide receivers.  

Wright says that the plan wasn’t always to bring in four transfer receivers, but they couldn’t turn away this talented group. 

“We really thought we were going to take two,” Wright said. “We took two and then saw a couple more that we said we have to do this. We aren’t going to miss. We identified what the issue was and I’m not going to miss, I’m going to hit it this time. We are going to go out and get better at that position and I feel like we did that.”

In addition to the receivers, the headliner of the transfers is Kent State University running back Justin Rankin, who had over 700 all-purpose yards last season — 574 rushing — with five total touchdowns. 

“He has better feet and he is faster,” Wright said on comparing Rankin to last year’s power back Josh Caldwell. “He is a good back. He is a Division-1 back.”

Below is a list of all the Bearcat signees with an excerpt of what Wright had to say about each at Wednesday's press conference. 


Jaylon Bass, CB

6’1; 170 pounds 

Bishop Kenny HS (Fla.)

“Was heavily involved in basketball, only played football for two seasons. ... He has good length, good ball skills.”


Brendon Bolden, DB

6’3, 195 pounds

Olathe West HS (Kan.)

“He has good athleticism and great ball skills.”


Will Boswell, LB

6’1, 205 pounds

Mount Vernon HS (Mo.)

“If you are walking down the street, have your head on a swivel when he gets to campus, because he is likely to hit you. He has the state record for tackles.”


Brian Boyd, LB

6’2, 205 pounds

Smithville HS (Mo.)

“Really tough kid. Enjoyed watching him play.”


Peyton Carder, WR

6’2, 185 pounds

Shawnee Mission NW HS

“He was very productive. ... We are looking for some more length at the receiver position and feel like this kid has some good upside for us.”


Christopher Carlsen, OL

6’4, 275 pounds

Wauconda HS (Ill.)

“This kid has two squat racks in his basement so he is a kid that likes to lift and be in the weight room.”


Deonte Carroll, DB

6’2, 190 pounds

Shawnee Mission East HS

“We really tried to go out, find length and find athleticism. This kid fit the bill.”


Keegan Clark, OL

6’0, 270 pounds

Omaha North HS (Neb.)

“Another one of those Bostwicks (Chad Boswick’s nephew) that we’ve had on a long, illustrious run down here. ... He is physical. He is aggressive. He has great tenacity.”


Grant Cooney, DE

6’6, 240 pounds

Topeka HS (Kan.)

“This kid is really long and he has a great frame, we are just going to have to fill him out.”


Malik Culp, OL

6’3, 270 pounds

Lebanon HS (Mo.)

“He likes smashing people, which I like. ... He plays with mean and I want that on the offensive line.”


Eli Dowis, WR

6’2, 180 pounds

Maryville HS (Mo.)

“Eli is a great football player. He is a great athlete period. I went and watched him play basketball the other night and boy, I wish I had ups like that. He is just so smooth.”


Andrew Dumas, LB

6’0, 217 pounds

Olathe NW HS (Kan.)

“Great kid — tough, physical and can run.”


Cole Elwood, DB

6’0, 175 pounds

Fox Senior HS (Mo.)

“This kid is a true safety and he will hit you.”


Jake Fisher, DE

6’5, 220 pounds

Smithville HS (Mo.)

“Jake is explosive. ... He is super competitive.”


Ben Freeman, OL

6’3, 241 pounds

Blue Valley West  (Kan.)

“A project-type kid, but a kid that we think has good talent and a good skill-set.”


Nathan Gray, LB

6’0, 185 pounds

Liberty HS (Mo.)

“He can legit run. A kid that is playing safety that can move down into the box.”


Jacob Harmdierks, TE

6’4, 220 pounds

Millard West HS (Mo.)

“If you play for Coach (Millard West coach Kirk) Peterson, you are a good football player.”


James Hayden, K/P

6’2, 180 pounds

Galesburg HS (Ill.)

“Kicker and punter — he does both. Very good skill set.”


Durand Henderson, RB

6’0, 180 pounds

Webb City HS (Mo.)

“He can do everything you want him to do. He can run it out of the backfield. He can catch it in space. He can make people miss. He is physical.”


Maleek Hopper, DB

6’1, 190 pounds

Waynesville HS (Mo.)

“Got him up on campus and liked the way he looked and it matched up with the film that we saw.”


Tyler Houchin, RB

6’0, 220 pounds

Maryville HS (Mo.)

“The thing that strikes me with Tyler as I watch him and I’ve had several opportunities over the years, is just his leadership.”  


Colden Imhoff, LB

5’11, 190 pounds

Helias HS (Mo.)

“He is a tough kid. He is well put together so we are excited.”


Rhett Jordon, DB

5’10, 170 pounds

Waverly HS (Neb.)

“He does a little bit of everything — played quarterback for them. He is going to play defensive back for us.”


Joseph Krause, QB

6’1, 185 pounds

Seward HS (Neb.)

“We really like his moxie. He can spin it and he can also run with the football. He is tough and he is a leader.”


Zack Lawrence, OL

6’6, 285 pounds

Hamilton HS (Wisc.)

“He is big. He is physical. He has good feet.”


Akira Lindsey, DL

6’3, 275 pounds

Monmouth HS (Ill.)

“He has a big frame right now. We just have to chisel him up a little bit.”


Brady Lorimor, OL

6’3, 285 pounds

Sidney HS (Iowa)

“Like the frame, like the toughness, like the athleticism.”


Jakhai Mitchem, RB

5’10, 200 pounds

F.W. Buchholz H.S. (Fla.)

“He was impressive when I sat down and visited with him. ... He wants to be great.”


Trevon Peak, DB

6’2, 185 pounds

Burke HS (Neb.)

“He is a kid that I think has a lot of upside.”


Keaton Ricke, DE

6’5, 235 pounds

Bishop Carroll Catholic HS (Kan.)

“He plays with that edge. He plays with that tenacity. He finishes everything he does. He has a motor.”


Alex Roush, QB

6’0, 170 pounds

Liberty HS (Mo.)

“Alex is a winner. ... We felt like this one was a no-brainer for us.”


Patrick Schaben, OL

6’0, 275 pounds

Seward HS (Neb.)

“A little bit short, but we like his toughness and feel like he is going to make up for that with his tenacity and his mean streak.”


Jordon Tate, DB

6’3, 185 pounds

Hazelwood Central (Mo.)

“Boy, if I get him to fill out, he is going to be a pretty looking dude. He is all of 6’3 and he is really long.”


Isaac Telfer, LB

6’1, 190 pounds

Prairie City-Monroe (Iowa)

“A lot of the things that (former Bearcat and current Prairie City-Monroe coach) Greg Bonnett has instilled there are the things that are important to us and Isaac embodies that.”


Joseph Webb, WR 

6’0, 175 pounds

Park Hill HS (Mo.)

“He is a guy that we are expecting big things from.”


Coleman Weber, DE

6’2, 220 pounds 

Lawson HS (Mo.)

“We’ve had some pretty darn good kids from Lawson so we thought we would take a chance, take his frame and see what we can make him into.”


Jake Winslow, OL

6’4, 281 pounds

Geneseo HS (Ill.)

“I think he has good upside for us.”


Jadyn Withrow, OL

6’0, 230 pounds

Joplin HS (Mo.)

“(Joplin coach Curtis Jasper) called me up and told me, ‘Coach, I think this is a kid you have to take a chance on.’ So we did. ... Coach Jasper also happened to give us Bryce Enyard so if you give me people like that, I’m usually going to trust your judgement on things.” 


Loren Woita, LS

6’1, 201 pounds

Westside HS (Neb.)

“I like his toughness.”


Justin Wright, RB

5’11, 210 pounds

Lathrop HS (Mo.)

“This kid is a guy that understands success.”


Nick Clarke, WR

6’2, 180 pounds

Reedley C.C.

“He is smooth. He can separate. He has length to him.”


Kaden Davis, WR

6’1, 190 pounds

Butler C.C.

“He was a state champ in the 100-meters, ran a 10.6.”


Imoni Donadelle, WR

5’11, 185 pounds

West Hills CC

“This guy is dynamic. He can go. He is fast. ... If you start to watch his highlight tape, you will know what I’m talking about.”


Dawson Graham, WR

6’2, 190 pounds

East Mississippi CC

“We watched him run around. We watched him do some skills and drills stuff with our quarterbacks and it was like ‘Holy cow, we might have caught something here.’”


Bailey Pickering, LS

6’2, 210 pounds 

Fort Scott CC

“He is a legit Division-1 long snapper.”


Justin Rankin, RB

5’10, 215 pounds

Kent State University

“Justin is a talented football player. Justin will help our football team. He is a good football player. We are excited.”


Zach Starforth, OL

6’5, 300 pounds

Illinois State University

“Zach is a great kid. ... He has great feet.”


Dominique Shelton, DB

5'11, 185 pounds

Mississippi Valley State University

"(He) has a very high football IQ — coach's son and dad played in the CFL. (He) has really good technique at corner and is a versatile DB — not afraid to hit and started at Mississippi Valley State last year." 

Sports Editor