Michigan Tech inks four from Marquette County schools on National Signing Day

MARQUETTE – Michigan Tech University’s football program has dipped into Marquette County for some of its latest recruits.

Tech head coach Tom Kearly and his staff have signed four county players to National Letters of Intent: Eric Kostreva and Gabe Eppert of Ishpeming; Adam Francis of Negaunee; and Joe Iwanicki of Marquette.

Kostreva rushed for 182 yards in 20 carries and scored three touchdowns in Ishpeming’s 20-14 victory over Detroit Loyola in the Division 7 state championship game.

“He looked at Northern Michigan University and had some feelers out at other schools … but he got a better offer from Tech,” Ishpeming head coach Jeff Olson said. “He likes the school, the academic part of it and its winning tradition in football.”

Named the Mid-Peninsula Conference Back of the Year, the 5-9, 185-pound Kostreva earned All-Upper Peninsula Large Schools Offensive Team honors after rushing for 1,153 yards (7.3 average) and scoring 17 touchdowns last season.

“Tech is looking for him to be a defensive back (though),” Olson said, “and also a kick and punt returner.

“He’s one of the hardest working kids we’ve ever had. He’s quick, agile, strong and a smart football player.”

Eppert (6-4, 220) signed with NMU in 2011, but never played for the Wildcats. He was named to the Upper Peninsula All-Class Team as a wide receiver his senior season after catching 29 passes for 643 yards and nine TDs.

“He’s just a phenomenal athlete,” Olson said after Eppert’s peninsula honor. “He’s big, strong and explosive.”

Francis is a 6-0, 200-pound linebacker who earned U.P. Large School Defensive Team honors last season. He recorded 112 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions.

“He visited NMU and Ferris State,” Negaunee head coach Paul Jacobson said, “but he liked the atmosphere at Tech and the people there.

“He’ll be an impact player on defense. He’s a character kid, will work hard in the weight room, has a nose for the ball and is strong on run support.

“I’m happy for him,” Jacobson added. “Tech will be a good fit for him.”

Iwanicki (6-0, 215) is an offensive lineman who earned U.P. “Dream Team” honors as a senior. The son of former Tech player and assistant coach Jim Iwanicki, Joe plans to major in engineering.

“He’s one of the best offensive linemen I’ve coached,” Marquette head coach Dave L’Huillier said. “He’s an outstanding young man, a leader on and off the field and has the best (blocking) techniques I’ve ever seen. He uses leverage well, is able to control his side of the defensive line and is just a hard-nosed lineman.”

Iwanicki, also earned Great Northern Conference Lineman of the Year laurels last season.

Among its 31 total recruits, Tech also signed Cody Goldsworthy of L’Anse, a 6-3, 215-pound linebacker. He was a U.P. Small Schools Defensive Team pick his senior season after recording 128 tackles (52 solo) and three sacks.

Michigan Tech went 7-3 overall and in the GLIAC last season.

Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251.