DAVIS, Calif. -- Saturday’s win at UC Davis was big for a lot of reasons, but for Montana Grizzlies' senior linebacker Dante Olson it was a moment after the game that left the biggest smile on his face.
Olson got a chance to meet with and interact with underprivileged students from Gerber Elementary in Northern California farm country - a class he's been mentoring for the past two years - through a program called No Excuses University.
After a successful fundraising drive in Gerber, the students traveled 116 miles by bus to watch Olson and the No. 18 Griz upset No. 4 UC Davis 45-20.
"Just catching up, I remember most of them," Olson said. "They all asked questions and we just got to catch up a little bit because they're in fifth grade now instead of third grade when I saw them last, so a lot happens. But it's awesome to see them."
Olson has spent time regularly Skyping with the class, exchanging letters, answering questions about college life and providing a positive message of encouragement.
"Everything is geared for them to go to college, get a high school diploma and continue with their education," Olson said. "I tell them never give up, keep working hard and academics are super important. Because whether you play sports or not, it's what is going to carry you in life. It's really cool to do something bigger than yourself and help other people pursue their dreams."
Each one of the kids kept telling him they couldn't wait to see him in the NFL. And that’s not wishful thinking, as scouts from the Rams, Vikings and 49ers were on the sidelines in Davis with their eyes all trained on the Montana all-American.