Northern Signs 44 Football Recruits; Six From U.P.

This story was written by NMU Sports Information. Click the AUDIO buttons to hear comments from Menominee's Trevor Theuerkauf, and RRN's Casey Ford's long-form interview with Richardson. Pictured: Negaunee's Kai Lacar signed with NMU on Wednesday.

MARQUETTE, Mich. - Second-year head coach Shane Richardson has announced the addition of 44 new Wildcats to the Northern Michigan football team on National Signing Day. The incoming group will join the Wildcats in 2024 and has representation from seven states including: 18 from Michigan, 13 from Wisconsin, nine from Illinois, and one from each of Minnesota, Tennessee, Florida, and California. The group also consists of six who played high school football in the U.P.

The large incoming class of 44 consists of 23 players on offense and 21 on defense.

Breakdown on offense:
- 7 Wide Receivers
- 5 Running Backs
- 5 Offensive Linemen
- 2 Tight Ends
- 2 Fullbacks
- 2 Quarterbacks

Breakdown on defense:
- 10 Defensive Backs
- 6 Linebackers
- 5 Defensive Linemen


Trevor Theuerkauf | QB/ATH | 5'10 | 160 | Menominee, Mich.
Theuerkauf played high school football at Menominee, where he was named a First Team All-State QB, First Team All-State DB, First Team All-Conference and All-Region, and an All-U.P. Dream Team DB. During his senior campaign, Theuerkauf was also named the MVP of the MHSAA Division 7 State Championship game. He threw for 1,835yds and 23 TD's and ran for another 1,252 yds and 19 scores. Theuerkauf will major in Business at Northern.

Elizin Rouse | FB | 5'11 | 215 | Kingsford, Mich.
Rouse attended high school at Kingsford where on top of football, he earned the 2023, 215 pound MHSAA State Wrestling Title. As a senior, Rouse was named the Upper Peninsula's "Mr. Football," U.P. Offensive Player of the Year, 1st Team All U.P. Dream Team, and 1st Team All Conference. His major at NMU is undeclared.

Cardel Morton | WR | 6'1 | 195 | Kingsford, Mich.
Morton played his high school football in the Upper Peninsula at Kingsford High School. This past season, he totaled 313 yards for four TD's. Morton also played Basketball and took part in Track & Field. He will major in Psychology or Physical Therapy at Northern Michigan.

Tucker Welch | RB | 5'8 | 185 | Marquette, Mich.
Welch played high school football locally at Marquette Senior High, where he totaled 10 touchdowns and was named All U.P. Special Mention, All-Conference Second Team, and Kiwanis Athlete of the Month. Welch will major in Construction Management at Northern.

Kainoa Lacar | RB | 5'8 | 170 | Negaunee, Mich.
Lacar played high school football locally at Negaunee. Lacar was named All-State and All-Region as both a RB and DB. During his career, Kainoa ran for 2,900 yards and 47 touchdowns. Lacar was also named three-time All-State in Track & Field. He will major in Human Resource Management at NMU.

Evan Arbic | DL | 6'2 | 266 | Pickford, Mich.
Arbic played for Sault Area High School where he recorded 33 tackles, 10 career sacks, and a fumble recovery while being named an All-U.P. Defensive Lineman Honorable Mention. He also participated in Swimming and Track & Field in high school. Arbic will major in Fisheries and Wildlife Management at NMU.


Jacob Bartlett | RB | 6'0 | 190 | Standish, Mich.
Bartlett played high school football at Standish-Sterling Central. He was named a member of the Dream Team as well as All-Region and All-Conference squads. Bartlett racked up 1,425 rushing yards and 88 receiving yards for 17 touchdowns. He will take to Electrical Engineering for his major at Northern.

Hunter Belanger | TE | 6'0 | 245 | Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.
Belanger attended Grosse Pointe South where he played football. He earned All-State and All-Region Honorable Mention. He hauled in 30 catches for 316 yards and three touchdowns. Belanger also played varsity baseball in which he earned All-District recognition. He will major in Construction Management at Northern.

Dewayne Brooks | DB | 5'10 | 183 | Chicago, Ill.
Brooks played his high school football at Simeon Career Academy, where he participated in both varsity football and basketball. At Northern Michigan, Brooks will major in Secondary English Education.

Tyshaun Campbell | DB | 6'3 | 168 | Chicago, Ill.
Campbell attended Carmel Catholic, where he participated in Track & Field on top of football. He was named All-Conference in track in 2023. Campbell's major at NMU is currently undeclared.

Tyler Carnell | LB | 6'3 | 210 | Nashotah, Wis.
Carnell played his high school football at Arrowhead, where he was a Second Team All-Conference selection at ILB. He recorded 70 total tackles (56 solo), six tackles for loss, three sacks, an interception, a forced fumble, and a touchdown. Carnell will major in Business Management at Northern Michigan.

Kennarius Chandler | LB | 6'2 | 215 | Kankakee, Ill.
Chandler played football in high school at Kankakee. He has a long list of achievements, including: First Team All-State, two-time Southland Defensive Player of the Year, and two-time All-Conference and All-Area. Chandler broke five school records: most tackles in a game (23), most tackles for loss in a career (47), most tackles for loss in a game (5), most career tackles (245), and most tackles in a single season (126). As a junior, he had 126 tackles, 30 tackles for loss, five sacks, two forced fumbles, and an interception. Chandler followed that up with 115 tackles, 32 tackles for loss, three interceptions, 10 sacks, and two forced fumbles as a senior. He will major in Mechanical Engineering at NMU.

Damarcus Chappell | DE | 6'1 | 220 | Milwaukee, Wis.
Chappell played high school football at Nicolet, where he earned several accolades including: First Team All-State, All-Region, and All-Conference, as well as Defensive Player of the Year in his conference. As a junior, Chappell also was recognized on the First Team All-Conference and All-Region squads. His senior season, he totaled 74 total tackles, nine sacks, 19 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles with one recovery, two blocked kicks, and a safety. Chappell will major in Construction Management at NMU.

Jaxon Childers | WR | 6'1 | 195 | Thompsonville, Mich.
Childers played high school football downstate at Benzie Central in Benzonia. He was a two-time First Team All-State wideout and holds the school record for receptions, yards, and TD's for both a season and a career. Between his junior and senior seasons, he totaled 2,620 yards and 36 touchdowns. Childers also played four years of Basketball. He will major in Business at NMU.

Erick Cleaves | RB | 5'10 | 188 | Nashville, Tenn.
Cleaves played high school football at Hillsboro, where he was a three-year varsity starter. He was named All-Region after totaling 500 yards and six touchdowns. Cleaves will major in Sports Administration at NMU.

Luc Damiani | S | 6'2 | 190 | Plymouth, Mich.
Damiani played four seasons of high school football at Plymouth. He also excelled in the 100m and 200m dash in Track & Field. Damiani will major in Sports Science at Northern.

Maurice Davis | WR | 5'11 | 173 | Chicago, Ill.
Davis played high school football at Marian Catholic High School, where he was named All-Conference. Davis will major in Criminal Justice at NMU.

Luke Emmons | OL | 6'3 | 305 | Muskegon, Mich.
Emmons played high school football at Mona Shores, where he was twice named First Team All-Conference, selected to the All-Region First Team, and was named to the MLive Muskegon Area Dream Team for two seasons. Emmons was also honored as an Academic All-State student-athlete. He will major in Athletic Training at NMU.

Will Graffin | LB | 6'2 | 195 | Franklin, Wis.
Graffin played his high school ball at Franklin, where he was a state champ, state runner up, and two-time All-Conference selection. He went 40-4 at Franklin, recording 91 tackles, three interceptions, three sacks, and 20 tackles for loss as a senior. Graffin will major in Physical Education at Northern Michigan.

O'Mari Hall-Brown | CB | 5'10 | 160 | Muskegon, Mich.
Hall-Brown played for Mona Shore High School, where he recorded over 60 tackles, added four interceptions, and did not allow a passing touchdown as a defensive back. He was named to the All-Conference and All-Region teams. Hall-Brown will major in Business at Northern Michigan.

Gavin Hanaman | DL | 6'2 | 275 | Cedarburg, Wis.
Hanaman played football for Cedarburg High School. While on the gridiron, Hanaman recorded 27 solo and 39 assisted tackles for 66 total, forced a fumble, and added four sacks. He was named Second Team All-Conference on the defensive and offensive line. Hanaman will major in Fisheries and Wildlife Management at Northern.

Brayden Hayes | ILB | 5'11 | 210 | Slinger, Wis.
Hayes participated in football at Slinger High School, where he racked up 307 tackles, 3.5 sacks, three pass deflections, and a blocked field goal on his way to NSC Linebacker of the Year honors. He also twice earned First Team All-Conference as well as All-Region honors. Hayes will major in Physical Education at Northern Michigan.

Jake Heemstra | TE | 6'1 | 215 | Grand Rapids, Mich.
At Forest Hills Eastern, Heemstra was named the Team MVP. Heemstra played three years of football, two in swimming, and another year of lacrosse. He will major in Construction Management at NMU.

Christian Hernandez | CB | 5'11 | 165 | Corona, Calif.
Hernandez played his high school football at Norco High in Norco, California. He was named Second Team All-League on the defensive side of the ball after recording two interceptions, eight pass breakups, and 20 tackles.

James Hinds | OL | 6'3 | 280 | Melbourne, Fla.
Hinds played high school football for Melbourne, where his long list of achievements include: First Team All-District and First Team All-Space Coast in 2023-24, All-FACA Senior All-Star in 2023-24, Second Team All-Space Coast in 2022-23, and Marines Outstanding Leadership Award in 2022-23. Hinds was a three-year varsity starter, where he helped lead his team to back-to-back district championships. He will major in Cybersecurity at NMU.

Kaleb Isom | WR | 6'0 | 192 | Chicago, Ill.
Isom played high school football at Marian Catholic High School. Isom also participated in Basketball and Track. He will major in Pre-Business at Northern Michigan.

Kelby Key | DB | 6'0 | 176 | Chicago, Ill.
Key will come to the Wildcats from Marian Catholic High School in Illinois. Key also participated in Track & Field, where he was a member of the state championship team.

Damonte Lee | OL | 6'3 | 320 | Milwaukee, Wis.
Lee played his high school football at Saint Thomas More Academy. There, he was named First Team All-Conference on the offensive and defensive line for three seasons, First Team All-Region, and an All-State Honorable Mention. Lee will look to the Business program as his major at NMU.

Sebastian Luevano | OL | 6'5 | 265 | Racine, Wis.
Luevano played football at Franklin. There, he garnered All-Region and All-Conference honors. He will take to Marketing for his major at Northern Michigan.

Matthew Marchiniak | LB | 6'1 | 220 | Joliet, Ill.
Marchiniak was a member of the Joliet West football team, where he was named All-Conference after recording 70.5 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 13.5 tackles for a loss, and forcing a fumble as a senior. He also played two seasons of varsity baseball. Marchiniak will major in Business at NMU.

Xavier Martinez | DB | 6' | 190 | Schaumburg, Ill.
Martinez played football at Hoffman Estates High School, where he also participated in Track and Baseball. Xavier is a member of the National Honors Society. He will be majoring in Nursing at Northern Michigan.

Hayden May | WR | 5'10 | 170 | De Pere, Wis.
May played high school football at De Pere, where he was named a unanimous All-Conference First Team wideout. In total, May recorded 866 yards and 10 touchdowns on 54 receptions. He also was a highly successful Track & Field athlete in high school. May will major in Business at Northern Michigan.

Jack Meloche | DE | 6'4 | 220 | Grand Rapids, Mich.
Meloche played high school football at Forest Hills Eastern, where he also played two 

Murphy Monreal | S | 5'10 | 170 | Wauwatosa, Wis.
Monreal played at Marquette University High School, where he was a two-time All-State Honorable Mention, two-time All-Region, and two-time First Team All-Conference honoree. He had 189 tackles, five interceptions, three total touchdowns, 24 pass breakups, and 966 total return yards. Monreal finished his career as a member of 2023 WIAA Division 1 Football State Champions. He will major in Business Finance at NMU

Khalil Nichols | DB | 5'10 | 165 | Oak Park, Ill.
Nichols took to the gridiron at Oak Park-River Forest, where he was named All-Conference, Team MVP, and Team Defensive Player of the Year. In two seasons, Nichols recorded 87.5 tackles for loss, four interceptions, two blocked field goals, four blocked PAT's, two fumble recoveries, a sack, 452 all-purpose yards, and four touchdowns. He will major in Civil Engineering at Northern.

Kristian (KJ) Peterson | OL | 6'2 | 295 | Cross Plains, Wis.
Peterson played football at Middleton, where he earned the Hardest Offseason Worker Award ( football team voted), was a two-time All-Conference selection, two-time All-Region, All-State, and two-time Conference Lineman of the Year.

Isaac Olson | WR | 6'1 | 170 | Little Falls, Minn.
Olson played football at Little Falls Community High School. There, he was team captain, two-time Defensive Player of the Year, two-time All-District, the most valuable DB of the district, and Academic All-District. His senior season, Olson caught 33 balls for 429 yards and five scores. He will major in Exercise Science at Northern.

Carter Schmitt | S | 6'0 | 170 | De Pere, Wis.
Schmitt played at West De Pere, where he was named All-Conference in both football and baseball. He totaled 112 tackles, 14 interceptions, seven pass breakups, and one forced fumble. Schmitt will major in Construction Management at NMU.

Duke Shovald | QB | 6'1 | 185 | De Pere, Wis.
Shovald played at West De Pere, where he earned All-Conference honors three times, with one being a unanimous vote. He also earned All-Region recognition. Shovald was a three-time starter and two-time captain, totaling 6,128 passing yards with a 110 QB rating. He will be a Sports Management major at Northern.

Carter Sitz | LB | 5'11 | 220 | Gaylord, Mich.
Sitz played his high school football at Gaylord, where he was a three-time All-Conference honoree. Sitz recorded 98 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, five sacks, two interceptions with one being a pick-six, 22 QB hurries, a forced fumble, and five pass breakups. He also took part in Hockey and Wrestling in high school. Sitz will major in Finance at NMU.

Mason Struck | WR | 6'4 | 195 | Chesaning, Mich.
Struck played high school football at Chesaning Union, where he was Second Team All-Conference and Second Team All-Area as a wideout. Struck scored five touchdowns on 207 yards. He also took part in cross country and basketball. Struck will major in Mechanical Engineering Technology at Northern Michigan.

Bradyn Taylor | TE | 6'4 | 210 | Verona, Wis.
Taylor played football in high school at Vel Phillips Memorial. While there, Taylor was named All-City TE of the Year and All-Conference Honorable Mention. He totaled 210 yards for three scores. Taylor will major in Digital Marketing at NMU.

McKinley Underwood | DT | 6'2 | 295 | Kalamazoo, Mich.
Underwood joins the 'Cats as a graduate. He will pursue his masters in Business Analytics at NMU.

Jahi Wood | RB | 5'8 | 180 | Lansing, Mich.
Wood played high school football at Waverly, where he was named All-Region and All-Conference. He also participated in Track where he was a three-time All-Conference honoree. Wood will take to Entrepreneurship as his major at NMU.

LISTEN: NMU's Shane Richardson Interview Part #2
LISTEN: NMU's Shane Richardson Interview Part #1
LISTEN: Trevor Theuerkauf on Signing Day