MISSOULA – The NCAA wanted to speed up the recruiting process, so a brand-new early-signing period for college football started on Wednesday, which put Montana in a bit of a rush.

Bobby Hauck took over as head coach just a few weeks ago, and he’s currently still serving as an assistant with San Diego State preparing for a bowl game this weekend. But 15 recruits decided to make it official and sign with Montana on Wednesday.

That includes one just a few blocks away at Missoula Sentinel High. Nick Germer signed next to his friend and Spartan teammate Brandon Morley, who will attend Montana Tech.

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Germer had no doubt about his earlier commitment after the coaching change. He has known Hauck for years. Germer’s dad, Chad an assistant coach at Montana, has coached with Hauck in the past and now will in the future, so Nick has always felt like part of the program.

“One game I remember was that Appalachian State game when I was younger,” said Germer, recalling a 2009 FCS semifinal win for the Griz. “And ever since that day I’ve just been always dreaming about being a Grizzly. I’ve been looking forward to this day for a long, long time, and it’s just an awesome feeling with mostly in-state kids committing (Wednesday). We’re all just going to be a family for the next four or five years.”

Nick will get to play on a team coached by his dad for the first time. But he suits up at wide receiver, so he still doesn’t expect much instruction from the offensive line coach.

“He’s given me tips here and there, but with the way I’ve grown up I’ve always been the tall, lengthy kid,” said Germer. “So I haven’t really been an o-lineman. So he can’t really give me really big tips about being an o-lineman.”

“It really is surreal,” said Chad Germer when asked about getting to coach his son next season. “Especially when our last group of freshman came in it kind of hits you that in a year that could be one of my guys. It’s pretty incredible. And obviously I feel really fortunate and excited to be part of that for sure.”

“It’s going to be great,” added Nick. “But I also know he is going to be on me every single second of the day.”

Germer’s crosstown rival Levi Janacaro from Big Sky also committed to the Grizzlies. You can read about all of Montana’s 15 new recruits here.

Meanwhile over in Bozeman, Jeff Choate brings in his third class of recruits for the Bobcats. Montana State signed 16 players, including four transfers and seven high school gems from the Treasure State. They even picked up a big target from the Grizzlies’ backyard.

Missoula Loyola’s Joe McElroy made his choice official surrounded by teammates, classmates, coaches, and many others. He starred as an offensive lineman for the Rams, but Choate said they’re going to try out the 6-foot-4, 250-pound McElroy at tight end next year.

Even though he grew up in Missoula, the new Bobcat only had Bozeman in mind throughout the recruiting process.

“I’ve always been a Cats fan for my whole life,” said McElroy. “Once the opportunity came to play there and continue my education, I had to take it for sure. It’s a nice relief. I’m excited for the new journey. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time, and with that early signing period it just came a little quicker. And it was a better feeling.”

McElroy said he’s looking forward to returning to Missoula as a visiting Bobcat in the future and admitted he’d probably have to hate his hometown for four hours every couple of years.