BUTTE — Montana State's Pro Day gave Hunter Spartz an opportunity to showcase what he was capable of.
"I was definitely happy with how it went down," said the Montana Tech offensive lineman, who put up 28 reps on the bench press and elevated his 6-foot-3, 305-pound frame for a 30-inch vertical leap. "I felt like I gave myself the best opportunity to continue to play the sport I love."
Spartz will get that chance.
The Green River, Wyoming, native received an invite to participate at the New England Patriots' upcoming minicamp as an undrafted free agent, where the small-town, small-college athlete will get an opportunity to prove that can play at the professional level.
"I didn't get drafted and was waiting to hear back from my agent," Spartz said. "He reached out and said 'hold onto your pants.'"
Spartz is the first Oredigger to sign with an NFL team as a UFA since Tech linebacker Ryan Jones was signed by the Baltimore Ravens following the 2013 NFL Draft.
The process of preparing for MSU's Pro Day began about two weeks after Tech's final home game on November 13. Spartz spent the better part of the next five months training with Phaler Sport Specific in Missoula.
Spartz said it's still hard to wrap his mind around what he's accomplished as someone from a town of about 12,000 who just didn't want to stop suiting up and battling in the trenches.
"It's kind of shocking," Spartz said. "A kid from Green River, Wyoming, wanted to keep playing football. Getting the opportunity to play at Tech, where my dad (Bret Spartz) played football was pretty cool. And even getting the opportunity to play at the next level is every kid's dream growing up playing football."
Montana Tech may be a small university nestled in the Rocky Mountains, but it helped pave the way to a big opportunity for Spartz.
"I think Tech's got a great culture," Spartz said. "It's a lot of hard-working, blue-collar guys that come in and it's awesome being able to prepare at such a high level, with high-scheme offenses.
"Just being able to be coached by some of the best in the game has been awesome."
With a shot at competing for a spot on an NFL team awaiting him, Spartz is focused on keeping things in perspective and realizing that nothing is going to be handed to him.
"Just stay grounded, that's the biggest thing wherever you come from," he said. "There's always someone bigger, faster, stronger than you. Just stay grounded, keep my head on straight. Stay focused and go out there and show I'm capable of continuing to play."