BOZEMAN — As a three-sport athlete growing up in Belgrade, Trey Mounts would attend Montana State football games, cheer on the Bobcats and dream of one day suiting up in blue and gold.
An opportunity with MSU never materialized — looking back, Mounts realizes he wasn't ready to play at the Division I level straight out of high school — and so he instead headed to Dillon to make his mark with NAIA Montana Western.
Mounts did just that, piling up 1,833 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns over four seasons with the Bulldogs.
Those numbers helped him earn an opportunity to showcase his skills in front of NFL scouts at Montana State's Pro Day last week, where he recorded 11 bench press reps, a 32-inch vertical and a 4.57-second time in the 40-yard dash.
"I felt pretty confident about the day," Mounts said at the conclusion of drills. "My 40 was super fluid. I used everything that I've practiced the last three months, so I just kept my head up and kept working all day."
Mounts was one of three former Bulldogs to earn invites to 2023 Pro Days, with quarterback Jon Jund and offensive lineman Noah Danielson participating in Montana's event in Missoula.
Those three were the first Western players to earn Pro Day invites since All-American linebacker Jason Ferris in 2020. Ferris went on to sign an undrafted free agent contract with the Carolina Panthers.
For Mounts, talent and the ability to compete at the professional level isn't predicated on what division of college football a player hails from.
"I went to a small school, but I really think that we put in the same amount of work," he said. "There's talented guys at every level. And I just felt super confident in being here."
Mounts will now wait and see if something with the NFL or CFL transpires. And while he hopes his playing days are far from over, the chance to compete for that opportunity at the stadium that he attended years ago as a starry-eyed kid was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
"It seriously is such a blessing," Mounts said. "When I was little I'd come here and watch games all the time. And then being out here with them is a pretty special moment."