BOZEMAN — The Montana State football program has lost four players to retirement, including starting punter Bryce Leighton.

Leighton and MSU safety Jake D'Agostino both retired from football to focus on academics, according to an MSU spokesperson. The Bobcats will also begin spring camp next week without linebacker Alex Johnson and lineman Devin Slaughter, who both graduated and decided not to use their remaining eligibility, per MSU.

With these retirements, a total of 10 players with eligibility remaining have left the Cats since 2022 fall camp. The other six entered the transfer portal: Aaron Gerle (now at Northern Arizona), kicker Blake Glessner (UCLA), running back Isaiah Ifanse (San Jose State), fullback/running back Jaharie Martin (now new team announced) wide receiver Malik Mullins (no new team announced) and lineman Trey Yates (Montana Tech).

Leighton joined MSU in 2020 and started at punter for the entire 2021 and 2022 seasons. He was also the holder for Glessner on field goals and point-after attempts. In 2021, Leighton averaged 40.9 yards per punt with five that traveled at least 50 yards, 20 inside the 20-yard line, 27 fair catches, two touchbacks and a Big Sky player of the week honor. Last season, he averaged 42 yards per punt with six 50-plus yarders (long of 65), 10 inside the 20, eight fair catches and seven touchbacks. The Camas, Washington, native is a computer science major.

The only punter listed on MSU's most recent roster, released Saturday, is Butte High graduate Casey Kautzman.

D'Agostino also began his MSU career in 2020 (a season MSU canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic), one year after leading Bozeman High to the Class AA state football title as a quarterback. He saw limited action the next two seasons, recording two tackles and a forced fumble last season for his only career stats. D'Agostino, who's listed a business accounting major, had three years of college football eligibility left before retiring.

Johnson redshirted in 2019 and was listed as a second-string linebacker on MSU's depth chart throughout the previous two seasons. The Helena High grad recorded 15 tackles in 2021 and six last year. He had two years of eligibility remaining.

Slaughter walked on to the Cats last year after serving as an Army Ranger. He began the season as a reserve D-lineman but saw the field mainly on offense, first in a fullback-type role in short-yardage packages, then as an offensive tackle. The Sisters, Oregon, native tried walking on at Oregon State in 2016 before joining the United States Army. This would've been Slaughter's final year of college football eligibility. 

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story included an incorrect major for Leighton. That has been fixed.

Email Victor Flores at and follow him on Twitter at @VictorFlores406

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