(Editor’s note: MTN Sports began recognizing some of the best football players in Montana history on July 2 with the launch of the #MTTop40. The series started with defensive backs and will run eight weeks, featuring one position each week, concluding with quarterbacks the week of Aug. 20-24 to coincide with Montana’s high school football season opener. We’ve wrapped up the defense, also profiling the defensive linemen and linebackers, and started the offense with the offensive linemen. Now, we feature the tight ends.)
No. 5 tight end – Will Dissly, Bozeman
A dominant, record-setting player at Bozeman High, Will Dissly was a star on both sides of the ball and had collegiate opportunities at both defensive end and tight end. It’s at tight end, though, that Dissly is breaking into the NFL.
Will Dissly stat sheet
Dissly was a monster force at Bozeman High, helping the Hawks to a 13-0 record and Class AA state championship during his senior season in 2013. Dissly, 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds at the time, recorded 64 tackles, 12 tackles-for-loss, 9.5 sacks and 32 quarterback hurries from his defensive end position. He was equally – if not more – dynamic at tight end, catching 54 passes for 917 yards and 12 touchdowns. Dissly was named Montana’s Gatorade player of the year and was a Parade all-America honorable mention. He twice earned first-team all-state honors on both sides of the ball and was named a Class AA co-defensive MVP as a junior.
Dissly originally committed to play college football at Boise State, but instead followed coach Chris Petersen to the University of Washington. Dissly started his college career at defensive end, playing in six games as a true freshman. He also spent his sophomore season on the defensive line, playing in 13 games and making his first college start at Stanford. He moved back to offense prior to his junior season in 2016 and played in all 14 games at tight end. Dissly started five games as a junior and became a full-time starter as a senior. He caught 21 passes for 289 yards and two touchdowns in 2017, setting single-game career highs of five receptions, 79 yards and two touchdowns in Washington’s 63-7 win over Montana. During Dissly’s two seasons on offense, the Huskies went 12-2 and 10-3, losing in the 2016 Peach Bowl and 2017 Fiesta Bowl. He was a second-team all-Pac-12 selection in 2017.
Following his senior season, NFL Draft prognosticators considered Dissly one of the best blocking tight ends in the 2018 draft. The Seattle Seahawks selected him in the fourth round with 120th overall pick.
… on Dissly:
Bozeman head coach Levi Wesche: “I’m going to say (Dissly was a better tight end than defensive end) because I was his offensive coordinator. I think he had a huge impact on the ball, but he started three years on tight end and only two years at defensive end, and he’s playing in the NFL at tight end, so let’s go with tight end.
“He’s 6-4, 245 pounds and could run. As a tight end he started three years and would catch anything thrown at him. Put him outside as a wide receiver and he could run fades, put him in slot and he could double-move guys. We did a lot of stuff dragging him across the middle. He was just a dominant, dominant blocker. I can remember against Helena High, it was his junior year in a quarterfinal game, he was just dominating that side of the line of scrimmage. He would just wash guys down and make great cutback lanes for our running back. As a senior, obviously he took off there. As a tight end, he was a great route runner, great speed for high school, and, obviously he had above-average size for anyone playing in high school at that time.
“I think he’s super versatile because he’s a very good athlete. He can run well enough to play defensive end, but also well enough to stretch the seam at tight end. I think it shows that he can learn a lot of schemes, too, because to know what you have to do on defense and switch it all over, learn what I’m sure is a pretty complicated offense at Washington, you have to be pretty impressed with a guy that can handle all that mentally.
“I think it fits Will’s personality, because you talk about guys being a diva, that’s something Will never has been. He’s always been blue-collar, has never really enjoyed the spotlight that much. He just wants to go out and do his job, whatever it takes to win, and if that means getting physically after someone and putting them on the ground, he’s always had that mean streak to him, too. He’s not about looking pretty. He set all of our receptions records, receiving yards records, receiving touchdowns records, I think he’s No. 3 on our all-time knockdown list, so he’s very, very versatile.”