MISSOULA — Last season saw quarterback Dalton Sneed and wide receiver Samuel Akem emerge as two of the biggest offensive threats for the Montana football team. While the numbers were impressive, both players are set up for what could be an even more lethal air attack in 2019.
Sneed linked up with Akem 59 times in 2018, while the receiver racked up more than 800 yards and a Big Sky Conference-leading 13 touchdowns last season.
Coming into 2019, Akem is already being labeled as one of the best receivers in the FCS, earning preseason all Big-Sky Conference honors.
“I do notice the stuff and the people posting me and stuff, but I have to stick to what I know because last year, I mean, I was a nobody and it’s all about the team. I can’t make it about me, I have to keep focusing and trying to make my team better,” said Akem.
And his quarterback claims that the hype is real, but it’s not just because of his playmaking abilities on Saturdays.
“All these accolades and stuff come from his performance from last year, but, I mean, if there were offseason accolades, he would be at the top of every list, and I would take him over a lot of other guys in the country because just his work ethic and how he approaches it every day,” said Sneed, the senior QB.
Although Akem seems to be able to push aside the preseason hype, it’s no secret to other defenses that he’s a top-tier offensive weapon, and with that usually means getting the best defensive back matchup each week.
“I prepare the same. I just take a gritty mindset into it and just know that me and my team are working, me and Dalton are working and everybody’s just working. I just know we’re going to be prepared whenever that challenge presents itself,” said Akem.
And Akem isn’t the only one on opposing defenses' radars. Sneed took home Big Sky newcomer of the year in 2018 and is looking to be even better this fall.
“I feel great. (UM strength and conditioning coach Matt Nicholson) has done a great job with us in the weight room and helped condition us and running us in this heat, but he’s done a great job preparing us and guys are flying around and it really shows,” said Sneed.