Cats Add Size to Defensive Line, Lose Three Players - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Cats Add Size to Defensive Line, Lose Three Players

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Montana State’s football program got bigger where it was needed the most Monday when Jeff Choate announced the addition of a pair of junior college defensive linemen. Brandon Hayashi joins the Bobcats from Citrus College, and Fou Polataivao transfers from the College of San Mateo.

A 6-0, 300 lb nose tackle originally from Hacienda Heights, Calif., Hayashi brings a dynamic physical presence to the middle of the Bobcat defensive line. He recorded 63 tackles, including five for a loss, in 10 games for Citrus last fall. He registered three sacks. He finished third on his team in tackles as an interior lineman. He logged 26 tackles, including five for a loss with one sack, as a freshman in 2014, when he forced one fumble and recovered another.

“Brandon is a really good student who values the off-the-field experience in terms of giving back to the community,” Choate said, “and I think that’s part of what attracted him to our program. He works in the YMCA in his community, and when he visited Bozeman he realized how important football is here and what a great opportunity our students have to give back. He is a compact, explosive three-two gap nose tackle and that’s an area we definitely wanted to prop up. He’ll join Tucker Yates and Matt Brownlow at that position and compete right away.”

Originally from Medford, Ore., the 6-1, 290 Polataivao registered 18 tackles with two sacks and one fumble recovery. Choate liked what he saw from Polataivao in familiar recruiting grounds. “I’ve recruited a number of players from the College of San Mateo and have developed a good relationship with the defensive coordinator (Tim Tulloch),” Choate said. “Fou was a productive player at a really good school and we’re excited to sign not only a player of his caliaber but also a player of his character. He gives us positional versatility in the defensive line, and he’s a productive, well-coached player from a good school that plays a good brand of football. I’m excited that a member of the CSM family is coming to join the Bobcat family.”

While the addition of Hayashi and Polataivao shores up an area thin on numbers and experience, Choate said his team continues to explore options for further additions. “We always look for ways to improve the team, and there are a number of avenues,” he said. “We’re always excited to add players with the character of Fou and Brandon.”

Choate also announced the departure of three players. Defensive end Zach Hutchins and linebacker Wyatt Christensen each retired from football after lengthy injury battles. Christensen, originally from Fountain Valley, Calif., played in four games in 2013 and six in 2014 before missing all of 2015 with an injury. Hutchins, from Las Vegas, started five games in 2015 and played in all 11, logging 21 tackles, 4.5 for a loss. He played in 11 of the team’s 13 games in 2014. Choate also indicated that freshman linebacker Sam Plucker, originally from Wisconsin, was granted his release from the program.

“Zach and Wyatt both decided their time as football players is at an end,” Choate said. “They’ve each had a number of injuries, but I’m very happy for each young man that they’ll finish at Montana State academically and graduate. Sam decided that he wants to pursue other options, perhaps closer to home, and we wish him the best.”

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