Lewistown’s Tanner Trafton commits to Montana State football, motivated by academics

Posted at 5:16 PM, Sep 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-01 12:11:29-04

LEWISTOWN – Tanner Trafton is a lot of things at Lewistown’s Fergus High School.

He’s a 4.0 student, a classroom leader, and is currently training to be an EMT.

Oh yeah. He’s also one of the best athletes in Montana, claiming all-state honors in football, track and basketball.

Trafton has weighed several college opportunities over the past few years in each of his main sports, but on Wednesday he made his decision. Trafton is taking his talents to Bozeman to play wide receiver for the Montana State football team.

“I feel more at peace now, for sure,” Trafton said. “It’s definitely a weight off my shoulders to get this decision out of the way. It’s been a long summer and beginning of the school year trying to decide where I was going to go. There’s really no bad decision or bad choice considering all the schools I could have gone to, but it definitely feels good to have that pressure off.”

As you might have guessed, the decision was motivated by academics and athletics in equal parts. Trafton wants to be a doctor some day and was encouraged by the track record of Bobcat football players who enter the medical field.

“The pre-med program is very strong at MSU, and then they also have engineering and architecture, which is another avenue that I might take,” Trafton said. “But as of right now, I really want to become a doctor. A couple of the wide receivers who have gone to MSU, like Mitchell Herbert, got accepted into med school through MSU, so that was a big draw for me, knowing that football players have been successful with the medical program, too.

“Biology and the sciences have always really interested me. And learning about the body and helping people. Like right now, I’m taking a class to become an EMT, so that’s going to become my first step into the medical world.”

On the athletics side, Trafton was one of the more sought-after recruits in the state holding offers from both Montana and MSU. At 6-foot-5 and an athletic frame, the Cats have had eyes on him since he was a freshman.

“Four years ago (playing at MSU) was kind of a pipe dream for me,” Trafton said. “I didn’t think that that would ever be an opportunity. And around the end of my junior year last year, I reached out to them to ask if I could come check things out and they knew exactly who I was, and they were very inviting and accepting for me to visit.

“Ever since that day we were in really good contact. I went to two individual camps there and we had our team camp there and they know my coaching staff here at Fergus really well, too, and toward the end of the summer around two-a-days after the last camp, that’s when they offered me a spot and said that they’d love to have me. So that’s when I thought it would be an awesome thing to be a Bobcat.”

Trafton will join the MSU receiving corps next fall and has already built a strong bond with the Cats’ position coach, another former Treasure State prep standout.

“I have a really good relationship with (former Helena Capital star) Matt Miller,” Trafton said. “He’s a really, really cool guy, someone I can relate to. He’s definitely really excited about me being a wide receiver there.”

The decision allows Trafton to make the most of his senior season with the Eagles. After a season-opening loss to Laurel, Lewistown has won four straight and is tied for second in the Eastern A division.

“I’m very confident in how we’ve been playing lately,” Trafton said. “We’ve really responded well to that first loss. I just don’t think we were quite ready then and we got a wake-up call. This year we’ve been really good as far as keeping guys healthy, really buying in to the schemes that our coaches have been and staying focused. It’s been going really good.”

Lewistown (4-1) hosts Hardin (0-4) Friday night at 7 p.m.

Tanner Trafton (foreground) gets off the line of scrimmage during practice in Lewistown. (TOM WYLIE/MTN Sports)