The #MTTop40, MTN Sports’ list profiling some of Montana’s best football players, started on July 2 with the defensive backs. We then moved through the defensive line and linebackers before tackling the offense. The linemen were last week and the tight ends this week.
Montana’s tight ends have had interesting college careers, as some outstanding high school tight ends moved to the offensive or defensive lines. On the flip side, some great high school receivers put on weight to move to tight end during the college careers. The #MTTop40 featured Bozeman’s Will Dissly, Deer Lodge’s Joe Bignell, Great Falls’ Brian Salonen, Kalispell’s Mark Gilman and Chester’s Casey Fitzsimmons this week.
There are others certainly deserving of recognition, including one of Billings’ best all-around athletes and one of Montana’s legendary coaches.
#MTTop40 tight end honorable mentions
Ken Hustad, Billings West
A 1968 Billings West graduate, Hustad is one of just a handful of players to score three touchdowns in the Montana East-West Shrine Game. Hustad played college football at the University of Wyoming, where he led the Cowboys in receiving in 1970.
Scott Reed, Butte
Reed was a two-sport standout at Butte High, playing both basketball and football. On the gridiron, he led the Bulldogs in receiving in 1969 and 1970 to earn all-state recognition before continuing his career at the University of Utah.
Mike Van Diest, Helena High
Van Diest is a 1970 graduate of Helena High and 1975 graduate of Wyoming, where he played tight end for the Cowboys. Van Diest has had coaching stops across the country but has been the head coach at Carroll College since 1999. The Saints have won six NAIA national championships under Van Diest.
Duane Walker, Malta
Walker was three-sport start at Malta, excelling in basketball, football and track and field. He was the MVP of the 1971 Montana East-West Shrine Game before becoming a two-time all-conference tight end at the University of Montana.
Eli Workman, Billings Senior
Workman is considered one of the best all-around athletes ever to come out of Billings Senior, where he starred in basketball, football and track and field in the early 1990s. He played collegiately at Colorado State, totaling 58 catches for 658 yards and five touchdowns in 45 career games.