(Editor’s note: Story by Griz Communications)
MISSOULA – Record-breaking Montana linebacker Dante Olson has added another All-American accolade to his resume after leading the nation in tackles during the regular season.
Olson was the only defensive player from the Big Sky Conference and just the fourth overall player from the league to be named to the Walter Camp Foundation’s FCS All-American team on Friday. Only 14 offensive players and 13 defensive players from the Football Championship Subdivision earned a place on the team.
On Tuesday Olson was also named a First-Team All-American by the Associated Press, the first national accolade for the Buchanan Award Finalist this season.
The Medford, Oregon, native earned first-team Big Sky honors this season, and won UM’s Steve Carlson team MVP award in addition to defensive MVP honors at the Grizzlies’ post-season awards banquet in November.
His tally of 151 total tackles on the season shattered Kendrick Van Ackeren’s UM school record of 130 tackles, and was just 26 shy of breaking the Big Sky Conference record, despite not playing in a single post-season game.
Olson posted double-digit tackles in nine of Montana’s 11 games this season, including a single-game high of 24 at Cal Poly, 19 against Portland State, 18 against Montana State, and 16 against Drake. His 24 against the Mustangs are the second-most in UM school history behind Tim Hauck’s 25 tackles posted against Fresno State in 1989.
In addition to his 151 tackles, Olson also tallied 11 tackles for loss, six sacks, three forced fumbles, two interceptions, five quarterback hurries and three pass breakups in his breakout season.
Olson was named the STATS FCS national Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 8 and was named the ROOT Sports Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week three times as well.
In January he will travel to Frisco, Texas, for the STATS FCS national awards banquet ahead of the national championship game, where he will learn if he has become Montana’s third Buchanan Award winner in program history.
He is the 23rd Grizzly to earn Walter Camp All-America honors. The last Grizzlies to make the prestigious team were Tyrone Holmes in 2015 and Zack Wagenmann in 2014. Other Grizzly legends to be recognized by the Walter Camp Foundation include Trumaine Johnson (the only Grizzly in the modern era to be named to the team twice), Marc Mariani, Vince Huntsberger, and Dave Dickenson.
The team was selected by FCS head coaches and sports information directors and was certified by the accounting and auditing firm, Marcum LLP.
In all, players from 10 different conferences and 23 institutions are represented on the 2018 Walter Camp FCS All-America team. The Big Sky and the Colonial Athletic Association each have the most honorees with four, while the Missouri Valley Conference, Ohio Valley Conference, Southern Conference, and Pioneer League all had three honorees.
FCS semifinalist North Dakota State, Southeast Missouri State, Samford, and Towson all had two honorees.
Walter Camp, “The Father of American football,” first selected an All-America team in 1889. Camp – a former Yale University athlete and football coach – is also credited with developing play from scrimmage, set plays, the numerical assessment of goals and tries and the restriction of play to eleven men per side. The Walter Camp Football Foundation – a New Haven-based all-volunteer group – was founded in 1967 to perpetuate the ideals of Camp and to continue the tradition of selecting an All-America team annually.
2018 Walter Camp FCS All-America Team
Pos. Name, School Hgt Wgt Class Hometown
WR Michael Brandy, San Diego 5-11 190 Jr. LaMirada, CA
WR Kelvin McKnight, Samford 5-8 186 Sr. Bradenton, FL
TE Donald Parham, Stetson 6-8 204 Sr. Lakeland, FL
OL Iosua Opeta, Weber State 6-4 3-5 Sr. Stansbury Park, UT
OL B.J. Autry, Jacksonville State 6-5 340 Sr. Eight Mile, AL
OL Matt Kauffman, Towson 6-5 309 Sr. York, PA
OL Zack Johnson, North Dakota State 6-4 331 Sr. Apple Valley, MN
OL Drew Forbes, SE Missouri St. 6-5 305 Sr. Bonne Terre, MO
OL Mario Farinella, Delaware 6-2 300 Sr. Bloomfield, NJ
C Zach Larsen, Southern Utah 6-1 305 Jr. Draper, UT
QB Devlin Hodges, Samford 6-1 210 Sr. Kimberly, AL
RB Joe Protheroe, Cal Poly 5-11 230 Sr. Concord, CA
RB Ryan Fulse, Wagner 5-11 185 Sr. Fort Meade, FL
PK Aidan O’Neill, Towson 6-1 199 Jr. New Paltz, NY
Pos. Name, School Hgt Wgt Class Hometown
DL Darryl Johnson, North Carolina A&T 6-5 232 R-Jr. Kingsland, GA
DL Isaiah Mack, Chattanooga 6-3 305 Sr. Tunnel Hill, GA
DL Derick Roberson, Sam Houston St. 6-4 250 R-Sr. San Antonio, TX
DL Darin Greenfield, South Dakota 6-3 240 Jr. Sheldon, IA
LB B.J. Blunt, McNeese State 6-1 220 Sr. New Orleans, LA
LB Zach Hall, SE Missouri State 6-0 230 Jr. Louisville, KY
LB Dante Olson, Montana 6-3 237 R-Sr. Medford, OR
DB Isiah Swann, Dartmouth 6-0 190 Jr. Queen Creek, AZ
DB Jimmy Moreland, James Madison 5-11 175 R-Sr. Royal Palm Beach, FL
DB Robbie Grimsley, North Dakota State 6-0 194 Sr. Hutchinson, MN
DB Will Warner, Drake 6-3 201 Jr. Pella, IA
P Chris Faddoul, Florida A&M 6-1 184 Soph. Wesley Chapel, FL
KR Jean Constant, Bryant 5-9 177 R-Jr. Delray Beach, FL
More on Olson
2018: Finalist for the STATS FCS Buck Buchanan Award … Walter Camp Foundation All-American … Associated Press First-Team All-American … Led Division I football in total tackles (FBS and FCS) … Selected as First-Team All-Big Sky Conference by the league’s coaches … Awarded Montana Football’s Steve Carlson MVP Award … Awarded Montana Football’s Defensive MVP Award … Named ROOT Sports Big Sky Defensive Player of the week on 9/3 … Named College Sports Madness Big Sky Defensive Player of the week on 9/3 … Repeated as ROOT Sports Big Sky Player of the Week on 9/8 … Was named STATS FCS National Defensive Player of the Week on 9/8 as well …. Also repeated as College Sports Madness Big Sky Player of the Week on 9/8 … Named ROOT Sports Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week for a third time on 10/1 after posting 24 tackles against Cal Poly … Against UNI (9/1), Olson led the Grizzly defense with 13 total tackles … Also recorded an interception which he returned 26 yards, a sack for a loss of 9 yards, one PBU and one QB hurry … Was named the ROOT Sports Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week after the UNI game … Against Drake (9/8), Olson recorded 16 tackles, 2 sacks (career high), 3.5 TFL’s (career high), one forced fumble and one PBU … Olson recorded 11 tackles, 1.5 TFLs, half a sack, one QB hit, and an interception that he returned 25 yards in a well-rounded performance vs. Western Illinois (9/15) … Against Sacramento State (9/22) recorded 15 tackles, 1 sack, 1 PBU, and a QB hit … Against Cal Poly (9/29) Olson earned Big Sky Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors for the 3rd time in 5 weeks putting up 24 total tackles (career high and 2nd best single-game tackling performance in UM history) … Against Portland State (10/6) put up 19 tackles, half a sack, 2 TFL’s and 2 forced fumbles … Olson put up 8 tackles and one half of a TFL in a matchup against North Dakota (10/13) … Olson added to his impressive season totals with a 13 tackle and one sack performance vs. #6 UC Davis (10/27) … Leading his team in tackling, Olson contributed to his team’s road victory over Idaho (11/10) with 10 tackles and a QB hit on the day … Olson completed his break-out season with an 18 tackle performance against rival Montana State (11/17)
2017: Second Team All-Big Sky on Special Teams… Academic All-Big Sky … Hauck Family Special Teams Player of the Year … Recorded 38 tackles, 16 of them solo … Had 2 TFLs and one sack against Idaho State for a loss of seven yards … Blocked a kick against Northern Colorado … Logged QB hurries against Savannah State and Eastern Washington … Played in all 11 games for UM … Once again awarded the William (Robi) Robertson Memorial Athletic Scholarship at the annual Lindsay Awards Banquet
2016: Academic All-Big Sky… Hauck Family Special Teams Player of the Year … Olson played in 11 games as a redshirt freshman at linebacker … Recorded 29 tackles, seven of them solo … Had two tackles for loss for six yards, also recorded a sack … Had back to back games with seven tackles against Miss. Valley State and Sacramento State … Recorded both tackles for loss and also his only sack in the Miss. Valley State game… Awarded the William (Robi) Robertson Memorial Athletic Scholarship at the annual Lindsay Awards Banquet.
2015: Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year … Was a redshirt freshman
HIGH SCHOOL: Olson was a four-year letterman in football at Cascade Christian HS, where his team won four conference championships (10-3 in 2011; 13-1 in 2012; 12-2 in 2013, and 8-3 in 2014) in a row… Three-year team captain and defensive player of the year…. Also led his team in tackles for three seasons…Voted defensive MVP of his conference and the state two times… His senior year he had 135 tackles, 5 sacks, and 4 forced fumbles; rushed for 583 yards and 8 TDs… named to the state’s All-Star Football Game… A three-time all-state selection at linebacker and tight end (as a senior) … His prep coach was Jon Gettman…. Also lettered in basketball and tennis.
PERSONAL: Olson carries a 3.87 GPA …. A Management major … His parents are Linda and Jeff Olson of Medford … His dad Jeff was the former head football coach at Southern Oregon University … Serves as a pen-pal mentor to a class of underprivileged kids in Northern California