The #MTTop40, MTN Sports’ list profiling some of Montana’s best football players, started on July 2 with the defensive backs. This week, we featured the defensive line, which included players who not only excelled at the college level but had professional careers.
Kroy Biermann, the former Hardin Bulldog, Montana Grizzly and NFL standout, was the first defensive lineman profiled at No. 5. Billings Senior product and Stanford legend Pete Lazetich, Billings West alumnus and Wyoming record-holder Mitch Donahue, and Columbus native and 12-year NFL veteran Dwan Edwards were also featured. But Chinook’s Mike Tilleman stood above the rest of the Montana defensive linemen.
The Treasure State has produced a number of quality options on the defensive line, though, so we now look at some of the honorable mentions in the trenches.
#MTTop40 defensive line honorable mentions
Shane Collins, Bozeman
Collins, who was born in Roundup but graduated from Bozeman, was a three-time all-Pac-10 selection in the late 1980s and early 1990s at defensive tackle for Arizona State, where he was also a national shot put champion. Collins was selected in the second round of the 1992 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins.
Brad Daly, Helena Capital
An undersized defensive end, Daly led the FCS with 14 sacks and 20.5 tackles-for-loss as a senior at Montana State to win the 2013 Buck Buchanan Award. He was a consensus first-team all-American and the Big Sky Conference defensive MVP.
Bill Glennon, Billings Central
Glennon was an all-state athlete at Billings Central in the 1960s before playing at the University of Washington. He became an all-Pac-8 defensive end and was ultimately drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1968.
Tony Huot, Anaconda
After a standout career at Anaconda, defensive end Tony Huot played at Oregon State and made an impact. He was the team’s rookie of the year in 1994 and became a multiple-year starter for the Beavers.
Les Leininger, Westby
Leininger was a first-team all-American in 1976 at Montana State and earned defensive MVP in the Bobcats’ national championship win over Akron. His interception set up the Bobcats’ game-clinching touchdown in the 24-13 victory.
Andy Petek, Helena High
Petek earned a starting position at defensive end his freshman season at Montana in 1997 and eventually put together one of the best single seasons in program history in 2000. Petek set UM single-season records for sacks (19), tackles-for-loss (27) and forced fumbles (6) on his way to all-American honors.
Caleb Schreibeis, Billings West
Schreibeis had a magnificent senior season at Montana State, leading the entire NCAA with eight forced fumbles in 2012. He won the Buck Buchanan Award and was a consensus first-team all-American.
Jeff Shirley, Centerville
A former 8-Man star, Shirley played on four successive national championship teams at Carroll College, where he set the national all-time record of 58 consecutive games started. He was the 2005 Frontier Conference player of the year and a first-team NAIA all-American.
Neal Smith, Polson
Smith was a fine defensive end at Montana State, garnering honorable mention all-conference honors as a junior. As a senior in 1997, though, Smith recorded 19 sacks and 22 tackles-for-loss to become a first-team all-American.
Zack Wagenmann, Missoula Sentinel
Wagenmann was an all-state selection at Sentinel, but the 6-foot-4 defensive end blossomed at Montana, breaking out in 2012. Wagenmann, who was an all-American and Big Sky Conference defensive player of the year in 2014, owns UM career records for sacks (37.5), tackles-for-loss (53) and forced fumbles (11).