MANHATTAN — Manhattan’s football team has reached the state Class B quarterfinals in each of the past four seasons, and key cog in their success has been Michael Nehring.
The versatile two-way starter helped the Tigers post a 6-4 record this past fall, and on Tuesday afternoon the four-year starter signed a letter of intent play at Montana Tech University.
Nehring had also looked at Frontier Conference rival Carroll College and Montana State University before choosing the Orediggers.
“I thought the coaches were really good. I got to work with them a little bit during my official visit and I really liked their coaching style,” he said. “And a great offer, so I figured that would be the place to go.”
Nehring is also a standout shortstop for the Gallatin Valley Outlaws, a legion program based in Three Forks, but noted football is his first love. And, being able to stay close to home was another important factor.
“I love Montana and I love to ski,” he said. “So I really wanted to stay close and that’s what kind of led me to football. And, Montana Tech’s obviously just a great program where I can get a great education and have some fun while doing it.”
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Nehring, took over at quarterback this past season and completed 58 percent of his passes for 1,467 yards and tossed 10 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also rushed for another 1,002 yards (5.8 yards per carry) and 12 scores.
But he’s been recruited to play linebacker for the Orediggers.
“I was hoping to play on defense,” Nehring said. “Obviously this last year I did play quarterback, but I think my heart was still with linebacker. I like to hit people.”
Nehring has played both inside and outside linebacker during his career, and tallied 66 tackles (39 unassisted), forced a fumbled, and returned an interception for a score this past season.
“Defensive side of the ball. He’ll fit in great there. He’s always really had a knack for the defensive side of the ball,” Manhattan coach Chris Grabowska said. “Last year he had a lot of roles and responsibilities and he was able to do them well.”
Montana Tech finished with a 5-5 record this past season, which includes an upset of 11th-ranked Rocky Mountain College to cap the regular season.
While undecided on a major, Nehring is thinking about studying engineering or business.
“He’s been a very versatile player. Not just a versatile player, but he’s been a great leader and a great person, and great role model for our kids to follow,” said Grabowska. “Couldn’t be more proud of him.”