Why actually...since you mentioned it...it sounds like the Griz got some really good recruits. Here's the scope if anybody is interested:
Montana announces 2006 football recruiting class
By Trent Makela of MontanaGrizzlies.com, Wednesday, 02/01/2006
The University of Montana's football team tried a new look during the 2005 season when their usually dominant and balanced offense was replaced by a smothering defense and a power-based running game.
After the talent-rich 2006 recruiting class of 15 players officially announced their intentions Wednesday, next year's squad might blend the best of both styles.
Montana head coach Bobby Hauck said the team's recruiting philosophy was a simple one:
"We're The University of Montana so we're going to start looking at young athletes from the state of Montana. That's where we're going to look first," Hauck said. "We want to recruit every athlete out of the state of Montana that we feel can help us win a championship. Then, we go elsewhere to supplement that class.
"We also want to recruit height and speed. Those are two things you can't teach. We can put weight on them and we can develop skill but we can't make them grow taller and we can't make them much faster. We want big-framed young men who can run and are fast for their position. Then we want to develop them and build them up when they get here."
Montana's most impressive recruits for 2006 may have come from outside the state, however. With four transfers from Division I-A schools, the Griz locked up a potentially devastating foursome of skill players at the quarterback, running back, wide receiver and cornerback positions who, with their experience, might seamlessly fill the holes that plagued UM last season.
With their high school prospects,! the Griz believe they have wrapped up the best in-state players at those same three offensive skill positions, in addition to eight athletes from Montana, Washington, Colorado and California who represent the next generation of great UM linemen.
The I-A transfers are the most likely to have an immediate impact, however, and not only because they are talented enough to be recruited by bigger schools. The transfers also bring experience and, because all of them will enroll early, they will have sufficient time to mesh with the team.
"With all four of these transfer players, their ability to be here for winter conditioning and spring ball enhances their ability to get on the field and be contributors next fall," Hauck said. "It's not like transfers who come in August and take half a season or more to get into the flow of the team and the scheme. For these guys it's a great benefit for both to our team and for them as individuals to be here this winter."
The c! rowning jewel of the Grizzlies' transfer class might be redshirt sophomore Craig Chambers, a speedy 6-foot-5 receiver from the University of Washington. Chambers was rated as one of the nation's top receiving prospects when he graduated from Washington's Jackson High School in 2002, and finished as the Huskies' second-leading receiver during both of his seasons on the field in Seattle.
Chambers' playing time dropped early in 2005, but he became one of the Huskies' main options late in the season. Most of his 573 yards and team-leading six touchdowns came when he started six of UW's final nine games.
Possessing a rare mix of athleticism and height, players of Chambers' ability rarely slip to the I-AA level and he should make an immediate impact with his natural abilities. With three years experience in a Division I-A program, including his redshirt season, Chambers will likely also provide leadership to a young Grizzly receiving corps that graduated its lone upperclass! man in Jon Talmage.
"Over the last two years, he was Washington's leading receiver," Hauck said. "And he's got the ability to go downfield and go up and get the ball. He's got a real knack for being able to use his body to screen defenders to get at the football. He provides us another weapon on the outside - and a veteran leader at that position."
The Grizzlies' quarterback transfer, 6-foot-5 senior Josh Swogger from Washington State, could also provide immediate help at a position that was seen as a weakness for UM in 2005. The Vienna, Ohio native was named the Cougars' starting quarterback at the start of the 2004 season and racked up 1,283 yards and 13 touchdowns in the team's first six games before breaking his foot and watching from the sidelines for the rest of year. Swogger held an impressive quarterback rating of roughly 118 prior to his injury.
Swogger only saw action in three games for the Cougars in 2005, however, and attempted just 18 passes. He ! should, nonetheless, add an even stiffer element of competition to a crowded quarterback position for the Grizzlies that includes two other new faces as well as two starters from last year in Cole Bergquist and Jason Washington.
"When we were watching his video, we were very excited about the way he threw the ball down the field very accurately," Hauck said. "He does a nice job of understanding schemes and defenses. He's got a great chance to come in and be our starting quarterback next year."
Running back Reggie Bradshaw from the University of Louisville is somewhat of the wildcard in UM's transfer class. Though his height of just 6 feet and weight of 215 pounds doesn't fit the prototype of recent Griz runners, Bradshaw's former coaches at UL touted him as perhaps the fastest player on a team that was regarded as one of the best in the nation in 2005. The UL website listed his 40-yard dash time at a blistering 4.38 seconds.
After redshirting his first year ou! t of Centennial High School in British Columbia, Bradshaw appeared as a special-teams dynamo in 11 of the Cardinals' 13 games in 2004. The freshman saw limited time behind a veteran stable of runners, however, and tallied just 116 yards rushing and a single touchdown. The 2005 season saw Bradshaw get squeezed out of even more playing time, as classmate Michael Bush developed into one of the top rushers in the country.
Montana is hoping that Bradshaw can both supply enough speed in the backfield to prevent teams from stacking the line against junior running back Lex Hilliard, and fill the role of rock-solid backup that was vacated by graduating senior JR Waller.
The Grizzlies' lone defensive transfer is Dramayne McElroy, a 5-foot-11 and 170 pound cornerback who comes from Arizona and Rancho Cucamonga Junior College. Hauck warns that McElroy has some scholastic hurdles to clear during the spring semester, but the speedy corner should provide some much-needed depth to! the Grizzly secondary. The UA website lists McElroy's 40-yard sprint time as 4.5 seconds and lists him as second on the Wildcats' depth chart though he played limited minutes.
The seven players that comprise the homegrown portion of Montana's high school recruiting class hail from every corner of the state and seemingly fill every position on the field.
"It was a bit of a unique year in the state of Montana," Hauck said. "There were more prospects at small schools than there were at the AA schools. Of the seven kids we signed out of the state this year, five of them were small school guys. Only two of them were from AA. We had an interesting time going out and recruiting these guys."
One of those AA recruits, Billings West senior Andrew Selle, will join UM's logjam at the quarterback position. Selle, who led his school to the state's AA championship in his senior season, was a prize recruit for the Griz and could challenge immediately for the starting job.
The 6-foot-2 and 205 pound Selle completed roughly 60 percent of his attempts this season for 2,915 yards, 25 touchdowns and just 9 interceptions. The performance was an unexpected step up from his spectacular junior season that had already attracted recruiters f