WHITEHALL — On Monday, Whitehall offensive and defensive lineman Dylan Smith announced that he committed to the University of Montana to play football.
“My parents lived in Missoula for a while so they were pretty happy to hear that I was playing for the Griz and not the Cats," he said. "I was so happy I called my coach and my dad right away and I was like, 'I did it.'"
Smith had offers from Montana Western and Carroll College, but once he was offered by the Griz last Thursday, he knew that’s where he needed to go.
“Once the Griz called, I knew I had to play at the highest level I could, so that’s why I decided to play there," said Smith. "I always wanted to play at a big school, and I was always a Griz fan instead of the Cats anyway, so it was perfect.”
With the high school season always in flux due to COVID-19, Smith is thankful to have played his senior season to show that he can play at the NCAA Division I level.
“My junior highlights, I thought they were good, but once I watched my senior film I realized it was a lot better," Smith said. "I’m glad I was able to get a senior season under my belt, I felt like it was a big advantage to get me where I needed to be.”
It sounds as though Smith will be playing defensive end for the Griz.
“I feel like that’s the best position for me to play in college just because I’m built to play defensive end," he said. "I haven't always played (defensive end) in high school. Because of our numbers I had to play defensive tackle, but I think playing defensive end is the perfect place for me to play as a pass rusher.”
Watching the Griz growing up, it’s surreal to know he will be playing on the Washington-Grizzly Stadium turf.
“It’s just crazy watching those games, being in that stands, and now I’m going to be able to be down on the field and the kid that I once was is watching down, looking at me through the stands and I’m going to be on the field playing in those games. It’s crazy to think," said Smith.
Smith is excited to play with his former Whitehall teammate redshirt freshman Max Feight, who is a safety for the Griz.
“Even though we’re a really small school, it just shows you’re going to get a chance to play on the field sooner in your high school career, which might even be an advantage to getting more film and more experience by the time you make a college decision," said Smith.