CollegeMontana State Bobcats


'We're blessed': Leadership for Montana State's three returning captains shines through spring ball

Montana State spring football practice
Posted at 1:24 PM, Apr 17, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-18 15:23:12-04

BOZEMAN — A unique aspect — and advantage — for the Montana State football team this year is that the Bobcats have three returning captains from last season.

Quarterback Tommy Mellott, defensive end Brody Grebe and linebacker Danny Uluilakepa return to lead the team in their final seasons.

"It was definitely a blessing to have a couple of the guys returning for their senior year and being captains," Mellott said. "You know, just being able to be vocal and lead, because they’ve seen what it’s like to be successful. They’ve also seen what it’s like to go home early in December."

Mellott stressed how much work has already been put in this offseason by the team so the Bobcats can make a deeper run next postseason.

Montana State spring football practice
Montana State quarterback Tommy Mellott goes through drills during a spring practice session at Bobcat Stadium in Bozeman on April 11, 2024.

Uluilakepa reflected on how excited he is to continue to lead the brotherhood MSU stands for along with Mellott and Grebe.

"I just say we’re blessed," he said. "We have a lot of leadership up top. A lot of guys doing things the right way, just showing young guys what to do, what it’s supposed to look like. So, we’re excited for this group of seniors and ready to put it all on the line this year."

Montana State spring football practice
Montana State linebacker Danny Uluilakepa goes through drills during a spring practice session at Bobcat Stadium in Bozeman on April 11, 2024.

The effort from those chosen to lead their teammates is not just seen in-game, but across all the offseason work and practices.

"They have to be the ones that are leading by example first and foremost, and they’ve done that," coach Brent Vigen confirmed. "If that’s bringing energy on the practice field or the weight room, if it’s just setting that example how they work, how they execute, how they bounce back from a play they didn’t make."

For these three, it’s not just about leading the team’s young core, but setting a standard for the large group of their senior counterparts on the roster.

"With a large senior group, we’ve got 25 seniors almost probably, and trying to bring those guys along," Grebe explained. "Turn them into good leaders. I think having those guys at the top, lead from the front and be a good example, and then me, Tommy and Danny helping everyone along, trying to make the team better as a whole."

Montana State vs. Portland State
Montana State defensive end Brody Grebe (10) tries to sack quarterback Dante Chachere during the Bobcats' game against Portland State at Bobcat Stadium on Sept. 30, 2023.

It's a responsibility they earned with the time they’ve put in to the program as seniors, but more importantly because of the people they are.

"It comes with seniority, certainly," Vigen said. "But it’s more about who you are as a person and how you go through the good, the bad, everything in between."

Montana State's spring football drills close with the Sonny Holland Classic in Bobcat Stadium at 1 p.m. Saturday.