Missoula kicked it off with an early afternoon affair while Polson held a first-ever and Kalispell closed out the evening festivities as the 2017 crop of football signees to the University of Montana received public accord Thursday.
And the full compliments of Griz scholarships for the first time in the Bob Stitt era included a strong Montana prep contingent.
With four additional rides returned after a self imposed UM penalty after the 2012 season now to a maximum of 63, which incidentally can be shared at the FCS level, Montana looks to have signees out their proverbial ears.
Ten of the class are Treasure State products, all of whom but one were on campus together for their taste of a program that has fallen from the ranks of the elite to even scrambling for Big Sky Conference significance.
But only a single player got out of the grasps of the Griz or the Cats as both programs look to respectability with what always has been a mainstay-home grown, initially partially scholarshipped, hard working overachievers that not only understand the required commitment in and off the field, in the weight room and the classroom but also that sometimes lacking ingredient of tradition. Personally I don’t think you can teach it but the character of teammates themselves can pass it along to obtain the required success.
It’s not necessary to talk about who those Grizzly players have been over the years although of course Dave Dickenson’s name quickly surfaces but some of it preceded the great Falls diminutive quarterback and while those late 80s, early 90s tams didn’t necessary win the circuit in competing with Reno, Idaho and Boise State but there were more victories than losses and win success came that pride factor followed by belief.
At the signing of Matthew Rensvold and Tanner Wilson in Polson I thought back to talking about bottling those things that came to campus with Don Read – well not actually to campus since Dornblaser Field was of campus-and observing the pride of the overflow crowd most of whom now just take double-digit win season for granted.
Every team signs its share of all American hopefuls and yes some of them will be but that intangible that teams at this level across the country just expected to bring success to Missoula. I hope it returns …just sayin’