Alaska’s Fab Five: Snell, Klever, Mystrom, Magner & Connaker

It’s hard enough to score one way on a NCAA football field, let alone two or three, but Derryk Snell of Eagle River has turned into a triple threat for the Montana State offense.

The Bobcats found a creative way to get the junior tight end involved in Saturday’s 55-21 victory in Bozemen over archrival Montana in the 121st Brawl of the Wild.

Snell completed a jump pass to fellow tight end Treyton Pickering for an 18-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Snell lined up at running back, took the handoff and ran up to the line before jumping up and tossing a short pass to Pickering, who walked into the end zone.

It was a planned pass play, Snell said.

“Wish I could say it was instinct,” he told me with a laugh.

Snell accounted for 68 yards of total offense on the day. He also caught two passes for 50 yards in the third quarter and fielded two fair catches on kickoffs in the first quarter.

But his Derrick Henry-ish toss on 4th-and-1 was the highlight.

It was Snell’s first pass attempt and helped him achieve a TD trifecta – the first Alaskan in 20 years to produce passing, receiving and rushing scores in a NCAA season.

Alaskans with passing, receiving and rushing scores in NCAA season

1979 – Rocky Klever, Montana
1991 – Nick Mystrom, Colorado College
1999 – Mike Connaker, Missouri Western
2002 – Cole Magner, Bowling Green
2022 – Derryk Snell, Montana State
**Western Oregon’s Phillip Fenumiai of Juneau amassed a career TD trifecta

Not many players are fortunate enough to get a chance to run the ball, throw the ball and catch the ball in the same season. Even fewer score at all three levels.

The TD trifecta is the definition of a playmaker.

Snell is asked to block on most plays, but when the Cats call his number, he has answered in a big way and produced a season TD trifecta on just eight plays across four games:

  • 15-yard TD reception vs. Weber State (10/22)
  • 14-yard reception vs. Weber State (10/22)
  • 3-yard TD run vs. Northern Arizona (11/5)
  • 1-yard reception vs. Northern Arizona (11/5)
  • 1-yard TD run vs. Cal Poly (11/12)
  • 24-yard reception vs. Montana (11/19)
  • 26-yard reception vs. Montana (11/19)
  • 18-yard TD pass vs. Montana (11/19)

2017 Alaska Gatorade Player of the Year Derryk Snell. Photo by Garrett Becker.


Rocky Klever

Year 1979
Player Rocky Klever
Hometown Anchorage (West)
School Montana
Rushing 156-679-8
Receiving 15-173-1
Passing 1-2-19-1
Extra Point The 6-foot-3, 215-pound junior tailback was a great player on a bad team as Montana finished 3-7 and was sixth in the Big Sky Conference. He was a five-time Big Sky Offensive Player of the Week selection. In 1982, Klever was drafted in the ninth round by the New York Jets and became the first Alaskan to play in the NFL.

Nick Mystrom

Year 1991
Player Nick Mystrom
Hometown Anchorage (West)
School Colorado College
Receiving 44-561-2
Passing 6-15-186-2
Rushing 13-19-1
Extra Point The 6-foot-3, 205-pound junior split time at receiver, quarterback and kicker for a 3-6 team. He had 154 receiving yards against Trinity. He also booted 11-of-13 PATs and 7-of-10 field goals, including a 50-yarder. In 1995, Mystrom kicked for the Memphis Mad Dogs of the CFL and set an Alaska pro scoring record with 137 points.

Mike Connaker

Year 1999
Player Mike Connaker
Hometown Anchorage (Service)
School Missouri Western
Rushing 223-1,042-8
Receiving 12-119-3
Passing 1-1-80-1
Extra Point The 5-foot-7, 160-pound junior running back led his team in rushing and racked up 1,241 total yards for a 7-4 team. His lone pass attempt resulted in an 80-yard TD. He ranks No. 2 all-time among Alaskans at the NCAA level in yards (2,857) and No. 3 in rushing TDs (25). He’s one of three Alaskans to rush for 200 yards in a game.

Cole Magner

Year 2002
Player Cole Magner
Hometown Palmer (Colony)
School Bowling Green
Receiving 26-374-2
Passing 3-5-74-3
Rushing 11-81-1
Extra Point The 6-foot-2, 196-pound junior receiver recorded six TDs on 40 touches for a 9-3 team coached by Urban Meyer. Magner collected 25 career TDs – 18 receiving, 5 passing, 2 rushing – and ranks No. 1 among Alaskans with 2,385 receiving yards. He caught five passes in four games for the Atlanta Falcons during the 2005 NFL preseason. Magner went on to play two seasons in the AFL, scoring 14 TDs in 17 career games with Columbus in 2007 and Grand Rapids in 2008.

Derryk Snell

Year 2022
Player Derryk Snell
Hometown Eagle River (Chugiak)
School Montana State
Receiving 16-233-2
Rushing 5-13-2
Passing 1-1-18-1
Extra Point The 6-foot-2, 245-pound junior tight end has hauled in 45 receptions in 42 career games. His eight TDs are the most for a Big Sky Conference tight end from Alaska, surpassing Anchorage’s Daniel Hardy’s six TDs for Idaho from 2007 to 2010 and Homer’s Scott Harry’s five TDs for Montana State from 1994 to 1997.

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