MISSOULA — Montana linebacker Patrick O'Connell will get his chance to showcase his talents in front of scouts in January.
O'Connell, a Kalispell native and Glacier High School graduate, accepted an invite to play in the Hula Bowl on Jan. 14, 2023 in Orlando, Florida, the all-star game announced on Wednesday. According to the Hula Bowl's website, "The Hula Bowl is an event where all NFL, XFL, USFL and CFL teams will be represented by top scout players during Hula Bowl week.
"100 of the top senior athletes will be selected to play at the Hula Bowl in Orlando, Florida. This is the ideal venue to showcase their talent up against the best the game has to offer. Our players will be coming in from across the United States, Canada, Australia and Japan."
The Hula Bowl is one of many college all-star games that allows potential prospects another chance to get themselves on the radars of scouts and pro teams.
Patrick O’Connell has been a dominant linebacker for Montana and we are pumped he is headed to Orlando! @pattyc233 @MontanaGrizFB @DraftDiamonds are found at the #HulaBowl @SageCards @Hula_Bowl pic.twitter.com/E8hUySdg42
— Hula Bowl (@Hula_Bowl) December 7, 2022
O'Connell just finished up his final season with the Grizzlies with one of the most decorated careers in school history. A two-time first team All-Big Sky pick and All-American for the Grizzlies, O'Connell finished his UM career with 28.5 sacks, good for sixth all-time at Montana.
A finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award in 2021, O'Connell was well on his way to another finalist campaign but injury derailed the latter part of his season. O'Connell finished the season with 73 total tackles, 14 for loss, eight sacks, two interceptions and one forced fumble. O'Connell suffered an ankle injury against Weber State and missed UM's contests against Cal Poly and Eastern Washington before playing in the final three games of the season, though he was limited in UM's finale against North Dakota State in the FCS playoffs.
O'Connell began his college career as a two-sport athlete in baseball and football at NCAA Division II University of Mary in North Dakota coming out of Glacier, but he left Mary to walk on at Montana in 2018. O'Connell cracked the lineup as a starter in 2019 and went on to finish his career with 242 total tackles, 45 for loss, 28.5 sacks, two interceptions, five forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and one career touchdown.