Published March 31, 2023

Minot State Football Adds Players 

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The Dakotan
| The Dakotan

Adds 6 transfers, 17 freshmen to recruiting class  

MINOT – For many college football programs, National Signing Day is a milestone moment, but if you aren’t a high-profile NCAA Division I program the work of building a strong and talented recruiting class goes much beyond National Signing Day and involves finding those overlooked future stars.  

Since being hired in late January as the new head football coach at Minot State, Ian Shields and his staff have been working hard to identify and sign those overlooked future stars and the Beavers are pleased to introduce 23 new additions with star potential who will compete on the gridiron for Minot State starting this coming fall.  

“We are really excited about this second batch of recruits that have signed with us,” Shields said. “It’s a very talented group that will make a positive impact upon our program immediately.  Our staff has worked exceptionally hard to address our needs across the board - it’s a nice mixture of Bigs, Combos, and Speed athletes. Also, a nice combination of developmental HS players and transfer students with college experience and maturity.”  

Transferring after two seasons of junior college in Mississippi is defensive end J.D. Granger, joining Minot State after two seasons as a linebacker at Laney College in California is Noah Iosefa, transferring after one season playing wide receiver at Sierra College in California is James Mintmier, joining the Beavers after two seasons on the defensive line at City College of San Francisco is Ben Onek, transferring after two seasons as a kicker at junior college’s in California is Nathaniel Peterson, and joining the Beavers after two seasons on the offensive line at the College of the Sequoias in California is Matthew Sanchez.  

That group of six seasoned collegiate players join fellow transfers Will Bryant, Deshawn Carter, and Ralph Derolus who already are on campus and signed back on February 1 when Minot State announced its initial nine signees, the start of the class of 2023.  

The Beavers also add 17 freshmen in their most recent group of recruits to sign a National Letter-of-Intent, a group that includes three new offensive linemen in Tyler Hunt, Jamal Neal, and Mahonri Tonumaipea, seven new additions on defense in Darell Carr, Ropati Eneliko, Liric Harris, Marquise Hill, Ikenasio Mikaele, Conner Raetzman, and Phoenix Tusa, six new offensive specialists in Devan Daniels, John Eubanks Jr., Brody Schneibel, Eelijah Singleton, Ya’J Vance, and Myles West, and kicker Jeremy Caruso from Florida.  

They join fellow incoming freshmen Mitch Heinert, Vincent Ketchup, Gabe Nero, Jayden Speraw, Skyler Young, and Jaron Winters, who also signed on February 1.  

“I’m proud of the job our staff has also done finding the right ‘fit’ for our program,” Shields said. “We have asked the ‘tough questions,’ done our homework, and are bringing high quality young men into our program. These signees are not only great athletes, but young men of high character that are serious about their education - we’re excited to get them on campus and have them join our football family.”  

Minot State now has a recruiting class of nine transfers and 23 new freshmen set to suit of next fall when the Beavers kick off their first season under the guidance of Coach Shields on Thursday, August 31, hosting Southwest Minnesota State at First Western Bank Field at Herb Parker Stadium at 7 p.m.  

Here is a look at the newest members of the Minot State football program:  

Junior-College Transfers  

J.D. Granger, 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, DE, transfer from Mississippi Gulf Coast CC, from Perkinston, Miss.  

Granger, who will be a junior and plans to major in Sports Management, joins the Beavers after playing in 10 games last season at Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C. where he had 12 tackles. In six games in the 2021 season at Pearl River C.C. he had 3 tackles and a half sack.  

Noah Iosefa, 6-2, 215 pounds, LB, transfer from Laney College (Calif.), from Holt, Mich.  

A product of Holt High School in Holt, Michigan, Iosefa played in 17 games in two seasons for the Laney College Eagles where he made 27 tackles and had 2.5 sacks. Also competing in track and field and wrestling in high school, Noah plans to major in Corporate Fitness and Health at Minot State.  

James Mintmier, 6-3, 200 pounds, WR, transfer from Sierra College (Calif.), from Roseville, Calif.  

A freshman with the Wolverines this past fall, Mintmier caught 21 passes for 230 yards and a touchdown in his debut college season. A two-time All-Metro and All-League selection in high school at Oakmont High School who also wrestled and played baseball, James also graduated cum laude and plans to major in Kinesiology at Minot State.  

Ben Onek, 6-6, 230 pounds, DL, transfer from City College of San Francisco (Calif.), from Portland, Maine  

A two-year performer on the defensive line for the City College of San Francisco Rams, Onek heads to Minot State after recording 21 tackles in seven games during his time in California. Along with his 21 tackles, he added 2.5 sacks and forced a fumble for the Rams defense which helped CCSF go 13-0 and win the California Community College Athletic Association championship in 2021. The Rams were 7-4 and won the Golden State Bowl in 2022.  

Nathaniel Peterson, 6-3, 217 pounds, K, transfer from Mt. San Jacinto (Calif.), from Temecula, Calif.  

Playing in 10 games for Mt. San Jacinto, who went 9-2 and advanced to the Southern California Football Association American Championship Bowl, Peterson kicked seven field-goals, including a long of 46 yards, and converted on 39-of-43 extra-point attempts for the Eagles. Peterson began his collegiate career playing in three games for Palomar College in the fall of 2021.  

Matthew Sanchez, 6-2, 285 pounds, OL, transfer from College of the Sequoias, from Tulare, Calif.  

A two-year performer on the offensive line who played in all 11 games for the Giants this past fall, Sanchez earned 1st Team All-Conference honors and was named to the All-California First Team Offense for COS. A product of Tulare Western High School, Sanchez also played basketball in high school. He plans to major in Criminal Justice at Minot State.  

Freshmen Offensive Linemen  

Tyler Hunt, 6-4, 270 pounds, OL, from Western HS and Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.  

Part of the Western Wildcats team that advanced to the second round of the Florida State Football Championships, the 6-foot-4 Hunt played on the defensive line but looks to switch to offense at Minot State. Also playing basketball for the Wildcats, he plans to major in Sports Medicine.  

Jamal Neal, 6-3, 340 pounds, OF, from East Jackson Comprehensive HS and Commerce, Ga.  

Neal is an All-Region performer on the offensive line for the East Jackson Comprehensive Eagles who advanced to the Georgia State Football Championships. Jamal also competes in track and field in high school and the 6-foot-3 interior lineman plans to major in Business Management at Minot State.  

Mahonri Tonumaipea, 6-0, 290 pounds, OL, Hurricane HS and Hurricane, Utah  

Playing in nine games at center for the Hurricane Tigers, Tonumaipea was named the Team’s Offensive Line MVP, and earned All-State and All-Region honors. Also competing in wrestling at Hurricane HS, Mahonri was named to the school’s Honor Roll, and he plans to major in Business at Minot State.  

Freshmen Defensive Players  

Darell Carr, 5-10, 175 pounds, DB from Liberty HS and Oakley, Calif.  

The defensive MVP at Liberty High School, Carr had four interceptions and 34 tackles on defense while also adding 620 all-purpose yards and seven touchdowns as he also played wide receiver. A First-Team All-League selection both at wide receiver and defensive back, Darell also competes in track and field at Liberty, and plans to major in Criminal Justice at Minot State.  

Ropati Eneliko, 6-0, 230 pounds, DL, from Long Beach Polytechnic HS and Long Beach, Calif.  

A First-Team All-Moore League selection on the defensive line at Long Beach Polytechnic, Eneliko had 34 tackles, which included 26 solo tackles, and three sacks, this past fall. Ropati also played Rugby in high school and plans to major in Music at Minot State.  

Liric Harris, 6-3, 290 pounds, DL, from Proctor Academy and Andover, N.H.           

A four-time All-Conference and All-NEPSAC performer on the defensive line for Proctor Academy, Harris had five sacks and 30 tackles this past season as he was named the All-Evergreen Defensive Player of the year and the Evergreen Lineman of the Year. Also playing lacrosse at the Proctor Academy, Liric plans to major in Education at Minot State.  

Marquise Hill, 6-4, 155 pounds, DB, from Ed W. Clark HS and Las Vegas, Nev.  

A multi-year All-League defensive back at Ed W. Clark High School, Hill made 17 tackles, intercepted three passes, and scored a touchdown this season as a defensive back for the Chargers. Also competing in track and field at Ed W. Clark, Marquise plans to major in Finance at Minot State.  

Ikenasio Mikaele, 6-1, 220 pounds, LB, from Long Beach Polytechnic HS and Carson, Calif.  

A star linebacker at Long Beach Polytechnic who was named to the All-CIF First Team this past season, Mikaele made 86 tackles for the Jackrabbits and intercepted two passes. Also playing rugby at Long Beach Poly, Ikenasio earned the GPA Award at his high school for maintaining a GPA higher than 3.0. He plans to major in Fire Science at Minot State.  

Conner Raetzman, 6-0, 200 pounds, LB, from Salpointe Catholic HS and Tucson, Ariz.  

A First-Team East Valley and Southern Arizona performer at linebacker, Raetzman made 106 tackles this past season in 12 games which included 8.5 tackles for loss. He also intercepted two passes and recovered two fumbles. A four-year member of the Honor Roll who also plays baseball, Conner plans to major in Exercise Science and Rehabilitation at Minot State.  

Phoenix Tusa, 6-0, 255 pounds, DL, from Long Beach Polytechnic HS and Long Beach, Calif.  

An All-Moore League performer on the defensive line at Long Beach Polytechnic, Tusa had 10.5 sacks this past season for the Jackrabbits. Also playing rugby at Long Beach Poly, Phoenix is undecided on a major.  

Freshmen Offensive Players  

Devan Daniels, 5-9, 160 pounds, ATH, from San Leandro HS and San Leandro, Calif.  

A First-Team All-WACC performer on offense, defense, and as a kick returner this past season, Daniels also was named San Leandro’s Most Outstanding Back, and was First Team All-WACC Defense in 2021. He rushed for 1,306 yards, caught passes for 187 yards, and scored 15 touchdowns which included two punt returns for touchdowns and two interception returns for touchdowns. Devan also competes in baseball and track and field at San Leandro HS, and he plans to major in Kinesiology at Minot State.  

John Eubanks Jr, 5-10, 150 pounds, RB, from Edison HS and Fresno, Calif.  

Named the Defensive Player of the Year at Edison High School and earning First Team All-League honors on defense, Eubanks also was a standout on offense. He ran for 555 yards and five touchdowns at Edison HS as running back, while defensively adding 108 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, a sack, and an interception as a defensive back for the Chargers. Also competing in track and field, John will major in Kinesiology at Minot State.  

Brody Schneibel, 6-2, 240 pounds, QB, from Rugby HS and Rugby N.D.  

The lone North Dakota recruit in the recent group of signees, Schneibel is a two-time All-Region performer who played in nine games for Rugby this past season. A four-sport star student-athlete who also competes in basketball, baseball, and track and field, Brody has been named to the Rugby Honor Roll all four years, and plans to major in Business Education at Minot State.  

Eelijah Singleton, 5-11, 170 pounds, WR, from Lennard HS and Ruskin, Fla.            

Playing both as a wide receiver and a defensive back at Lennard High School, Singleton caught passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns, while adding 16 tackles and five pass break-ups defensively this past season. Also competing in track and field at Lennard HS, Eelijah plans to major in Sports Administration or Finance at Minot State.   

Ya’J Vance, 6-1, 190 pounds, QB, from Edison HS and Fresno, Calif.   

The team MVP who also earned the Coaches Awards and was named First Team All-League at quarterback for Edison High School, Vance threw for 3,059 yards and 27 touchdowns, competing 195-of-309 passes. He also ran for 428 yards on 84 carries for the Chargers. A four-sport student-athlete who competes in basketball, baseball, and track and field, and who is a member of the Edison HS Honor Roll, Ya’j plans to major in Kinesiology at Minot State.  

Myles West, 5-11, 205 pounds, RB, from Cy Woods HS and Cypress, Texas             

West is a First-Team All-District performer at running back who also was the Heart Award recipient. He also was named Houston Player of the Week and Houston Player of the Month honor this past season. Rushing for 1,032 yards and eight touchdowns in eight games for the Wildcats, academically Myles is a member of Cy Woods High School’s National Honor Society and been named to the A-B Honor Roll. Also competing in track and field, he plans to major in Business Management at Minot State.  

Freshmen Special Teams Players  

Jeremy Caruso, 5-10, 170 pounds, K, Wiregrass Ranch HS and Wesley Chapel, Fla.  

Caruso set a school record with a 48-yard field goal this past season and averaged 37.4 yards per punt for the Bulls as he earned All-Conference honors. Also competing in soccer, tennis, and golf at Wiregrass Ranch HS, Jeremy plans to major in Finance at Minot State.  

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