(Editor’s note: Story by Montana Sports Information)
MISSOULA — Record-setting Montana linebacker Dante Olson continues to haul in preseason accolades ahead of his senior year, being named to the 28-man Athlon Sports FCS Preseason All-America team on Tuesday.
This is the second preseason nod for Olson, having been selected to the HERO Sports first-team All-America list last week.
The Medford, Oregon, native’s preseason accolades should come after shattering the Montana school record for single-season tackles in 2018 with 151 total takedowns – the most of any player in all of Division-I football (FCS or FBS). He was also named the NCAA Statistical Champion in tackles-per-game with an average of 13.7.
Olson, (6-3, 237) was a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award following that breakout season and earned a spot on seven different All-America squads, including that of Athlon Sports.
Olson is one of eight players from the Big Sky Conference to earn a place on Athlon Sports’ list and is the only defensive player from the league to make the team.
Athlon Sports’ 2019 Preseason FCS All-America Team
QB Jake Maier UC Davis
RB AJ Hines Duquesne
RB James Robinson Illinois State
WR Michael Bandy San Diego
WR Josh Pearson Jacksonville State
WR Nathan Stewart Sam Houston State
TE Charlie Taumoepeau Portland State
C Zach Larsen Southern Utah
OL Spencer Blackburn Eastern Washington
OL J’Von Brown Central Connecticut State
OL Noah Johnson Idaho
OL Zack Johnson North Dakota State
DL Sully Laiche Nicholls
DL Nasir Player ETSU
DL Chris Terrell Central Arkansas
DL Nick Wheeler Colgate
LB Jabril Cox North Dakota State
LB Zach Hall Southeast Missouri
LB Dante Olson Montana
LB Christian Rozeboom South Dakota State
DB Mason Bridges Jacksonville State
DB Manny Patterson Maine
DB Rashad Robinson James Madison
DB Isiah Swan Dartmouth
K Aidan O’Neill Towson
P Cade Coffey Idaho
KR Rashid Shaheed Weber State
PR D’Angelo Amos James Madison
MORE ON OLSON
2018: Finalist for the STATS FCS Buck Buchanan Award … Athlon Sports All-American … Phil Steele 2018 FCS Defensive Player of the Year … Phil Steele Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year … Phil Steele First-Team All-American … AFCA First-Team All-American … STATS FCS First-Team All-American … Walter Camp Foundation All-American … Associated Press First-Team All-American … American Football Coaches Association First-Team All-American … HERO Sports First-Team All-American … Led Division I football in total tackles (FBS and FCS) in the regular season with 151 … Broke Kendrick Van Ackeren’s school record for single-season tackles (130) … 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 … 2018 GoGriz.com Person of the Year … FCS ADA Academic All-Star … 2018 University of Montana President’s List (4.0 GPA) … 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 …. 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