The #MTTop40, MTN Sports’ list profiling some of Montana’s best football players, started on July 2 with the defensive backs. The Treasure State has produced a number of great football players, including some standout safeties who went on to have solid professional careers.
The University of Montana’s Shann Schillinger, a Baker native, started the countdown as the No. 5 defensive back. Greg Carothers of Helena Capital and the University of Washington, Kane Ioane of Billings Skyview and Montana State, Colt Anderson of Butte and Montana, and Tim Hauck of Big Timber and Montana completed the top five, with Hauck taking the top spot.
More than just five defensive backs are worthy of recognition, though, so we now look at the honorable mention DBs, where we go back to Missoula to highlight some former Griz greats.
#MTTop40 defensive back honorable mentions
Mick Dennehy, Butte
Most probably remember Dennehy as Don Read’s successor at Montana, but before becoming a coach, Dennehy was a standout safety for the Grizzlies. He still ranks second in program history with 16 career interceptions.
Tuff Harris, Lodge Grass/Colstrip
A three-sport star at Lodge Grass and Colstrip, Harris walked on to the football team at Montana, where he became a four-year starter at cornerback and the most prolific punt returner in Griz history. His 667 return yards in 2006 are a Big Sky Conference record. Harris then spent four years in the NFL.
Vince Huntsberger, Libby
Huntsberger was a star at Montana, setting the program record for career tackles (393) from 1998-2001. An all-American safety known for his violent hits, Huntsberger received a vote for the Heisman Trophy in 2001, when Montana defeated Furman for the national championship.
Blaine McElmurry, Troy
McElmurry, who is tied for fourth in career interceptions (13) at Montana, enjoyed a five-year professional football career, including stints in the NFL and NFL Europe. The 6-foot safety appeared in 19 NFL games, intercepting one pass while with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1999.
Travis Walker, Fort Benton/Plentywood
Before becoming a standout receiver at Montana, Walker was a three-sport star at Fort Benton (for one season) and Plentywood. A four-time all-state football player, Walker finished his high school career with 21 interceptions.