MINOT, N.D. – With a “tip of the hat” in recognition of the hard work of Minot State’s assistant coaches, new Minot State head football coach Ian Shields is pleased to introduce nine new Beavers who make up the foundation of the Class of 2023.
Minot State is pleased to welcome Mitch Heinert from Minot, North Dakota, Vincent Ketchup from Riverview, Florida, Gabe Nero from Bottineau, North Dakota, Jayden Speraw from Minot, North Dakota, Skyler Young from Eddyville, Iowa, and Jaron Winters from Glendale, Arizona, who each will be freshmen in the classroom and on the gridiron this coming fall.
Joining those high-school recruits are transfers Will Bryant from Minnesota State Moorhead, Deshawn Carter from Minnesota State Community and Technical College, and Ralph Derolus from Yuba College (Calif.). Carter and Bryant have already enrolled in class at Minot State.
“We’re excited about the young men signing today,” said Shields, who was introduced as the new Minot State football coach last week. “We’re excited about what’s done, it’s an incomplete class, obviously because of the timing of everything; we have catching up to do in that regard as far as the Class of ’23.
“As far as recruiting in general, the most important recruits we have are the guys we have on our current roster,” Shields added.
Coach Shields looks to work with the current Minot State roster in the coming weeks to ensure they are ready to go for the Beavers while still adding to the Class of ’23. The new coach also highlighted the programs need to acquire as much talent as possible.
“I think there is value in being patient in this process at the Division II level, having been there and done it before,” Shields added. “There are opportunities that are going to arise, and we have money available, we have scholarship dollars left ... and that could work in our benefit.”
One specific area of focus for the Beavers, currently and moving forward in the recruiting process, will be both the offensive and defensive lines the new Minot State coach added.
“I’m encouraged by what I think we can get done here in the next month or two adding to the class that's starting today,” Coach Shields said.
Here is a look at the newest members of the Minot State football team:
Will Bryant, 6-foot-5, 290-pound, OL, transfer from MSU Moorhead, from Velva, ND
A true freshman for the Dragons in the fall of 2021, Bryant was on the Dean’s list and the Valedictorian at Shiloh Christian High School in Bismarck, North Dakota where he also played basketball for the Skyhawks.
Bryant plans to major in Exercise Science at Minot State.
Coach Shields said of Bryant: “He has a good frame, big kid; we have needs on the offensive front, we need to get bigger, stronger, more physical; he looks like he fit the bill.”
Deshawn Carter, 5-foot-9, 120-pound CB, transfer from Minnesota State CTC, from Minneapolis, Minn.
In 17 career games with the Spartans, Carter had 10 interceptions, a fumble recovery, 71 total tackles, and 9 tackles for loss. Following the 2022 season he was named 1st Team All-MCAC, 1st Team All-Region, and was named an NJCAA All-American.
A product of Tartan High School, Carter also excelled in the classroom in junior college as he was named to the Dean’s List in the fall of 2022. He plans to study Psychology at Minot State.
Coach Shields said of Carter: “He’s a good athlete and has some position flexibility.”
Ralph Derolus, 6-foot-2, 190-pound WR, transfer from Yuba College, from Boston, Mass.
A transfer who played two seasons in California for the Yuba College 49ers, Derolus had over 400 yards receiving, and four touchdown catches.
A product of Oliver Ames High School where he also ran track and played basketball, Derolus plans to major in Natural Science at Minot State.
Born in Haiti, Derolus also served in the Air Force prior to playing college football.
Coach Shields said of Derolus: “He’s an exciting prospect; he’s got a little more maturity. ...He has good energy, he’s a pretty dynamic playmaker and we think he’s going to be a good addition to our receiver core.”
Minot State wide receivers coach Mike Famiglietti said of Derolus: “Ralph is an aggressive playmaking receiver joining us from out in California. His playmaking ability and experience will help him compete and establish a role.”
Mitch Heinert, 6-foot-4, 205-pound TE, Nedrose High School, from Minot, N.D.
Heinert played in nine games this past fall for Nedrose and was named 2nd Team All-State and All-Region. He was a 2021 2nd Team All-State and an All-Region selection, and a 1st Team All-State and an All-Region honoree in 2021.
Also playing basketball and competing in track and field, he has earned Highest Honors throughout high school academically, and he intends to major in Psychology at Minot State.
Coach Shields said of Heinert: “It’s great to have him in the program, we want to keep any local guys here and I know he’s going to be a solid program guy for us.”
Minot State tight end’s coach Daniel DeYoung said of Heinert: “Mitch will bring a ton of energy to the tight-end room. He has displayed the size, speed, and football IQ to develop into a great player.”
Vincent Ketchup, 5-foot-11, 175-pound WR/S, East Bay High School, from Riverview Fla.
A 1st-Team All-Conference defensive back and 2nd Team All-Conference running back for the District Champion East Bay High School Indians, Ketchup had 756 yards rushing with eight touchdowns and caught 17 passes for 273 yards and three more TDs. Defensively he added two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown.
He also played basketball at East Bay HS and plans to major in Sports Management at Minot State.
Coach Shields said of Ketchup: “He plays receiver, he plays corner, he’s a skill guy. We have to find the right line to get him in; he can run, he’s very fluid, he can do a lot of things. He’s just a flat-out football player.”
Minot State wide receivers coach Mike Famiglietti said of Ketchup: “Vince is a versatile football player who was a weapon for his high school team in many different roles. We are excited to have his playmaking ability join the Beavers”
Gabe Nero, 6-foot-4, 195-pound DE, Bottineau Junior-Senior High School, from Bottineau, N.D.
A two-way played who was named to the All-State team and three times earned All-Region honors, Nero had 468 yards receiving, eight touchdown catches and six 2-point conversions on offense. Defensively, he added 81 tackles, including 10 sacks and 26 tackles for loss, had four interceptions, and returned two for touchdowns.
He also competed in track and field and played basketball at Bottineau Junior-Senior HS and plans to major in Business at Minot State.
Coach Shields said of Nero: “He’s got a little bit of size, he has some position flexibility; we’ve got to find the right line for him to get into. ...He’s a hard worker and a high character hard worker.”
Minot State tight end’s coach Daniel DeYoung said of Nero: “Gabe’s got the ideal frame and athleticism to become an effective player for the Beavers defense. He will work hard in the weight room to reach his potential.”
Jayden Speraw, 6-foot, 175-pound QB, Minot High School, from Minot, N.D.
A dual-threat quarterback who earned All-Conference honors and was named to the All-Academic team his senior season, Speraw threw for 1,285 yards and eight touchdowns and rushing for 118 yards and four more TDs for the Magicians.
A member of the Minot HS state champion basketball team, Speraw also played baseball and competed in track and field for the Magicians and plans to study Secondary Education and Exercise Science at Minot State.
Coach Shields said of Speraw: “I was excited about Jayden because in our style of play it’s necessary for a dual-threat quarterback. Jayden is a dual-threat quarterback, he can beat people with his arm and his legs.”
Minot State wide receivers coach Mike Famiglietti said of Speraw: “Jayden is a tough leader and someone who has had proven success as an athlete and competitor. He comes from a great family and Minot State will really benefit from him staying in town.”
Skyler Young, 6-foot-1, 300-pound OL, Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont High School, from Eddyville, Iowa
A three-time All-District honoree on the offensive line, Young had 35 pancake blocks this season for the Rockets.
Also competing in wrestling, basketball, and track and field for the Rockets, Young plans to major in Physical Education at Minot State.
Coach Shields said of Young: “He’s physical; he’s a really accomplished wrestler, I like guys that have that wrestling background, they’re usually tough and they can bend well and they’re comfortable in the trenches.”
Minot State wide receivers coach Mike Famiglietti said of Young: “Skyler is a hard-nosed, tough young man from Iowa who is a strong physical presence on the line. His skills as a wrestler and competitor will help him develop into a strong addition to our offensive line in the future.”
Jaron Winters, 6-foot-3, 270-pound OL, American Leadership Academy West Foothills, from Glendale, Ariz.
A team captain for the Guardians, Winters played in 10 regular-season games and one playoff game at center and was named ALA West Foothills Lineman of the Year, 1st-Team All-Region, All-State Honorable Mention, and 2nd-Team All-West Valley.
Also competing in throws for the Guardians in track and field, Winters plans to major in Nursing at Minot State.
Coach Shields said of Winter: “Big kid, really productive; I think he’s been a little under-the-radar recruit.”
Minot State wide receivers coach Mike Famiglietti said of Winters: “Jaron comes from a strong football family and the game means a lot to him. He is a smart student, player, and young man who will bring some more size and power to our offensive line.”