A few of you have linked this ESPN Los Angeles story on Joe Montana and the next generation of his football family.
It’s obviously a timely story with Nick Montana beginning spring practice at UW on Tuesday.
I also had a chance to talk with Nick Montana few days ago and wrote this:
As eager as Washington fans may be to take their first look at prized 2010 recruit Nick Montana is as eager as he is to finally get in a Husky uniform.
“I’m very excited,” he said a few days ago of officially becoming a Husky next week. “I can’t wait.”
Montana — as you may have heard, the son of a once relatively well-known QB named Joe — was anxious enough to start his college career that he spent the last few months doubling up on his classes so he could graduate from Oaks Christian High in Westlake Village, Calif., in time to take part in UW’s spring practice.
“I kind of had to push myself and it was a lot of work that I had to fit into a little bit of time,” he said. “But it will definitely be worth it to get up there for the spring and all those practices.”
Montana said the complicating issue was finishing some religion classes that are a specific requirement of graduating from Oaks Christian with some other core classes like history and government and English. He took a few of the classes on-line to make it all work so he was able to graduate from Oaks Christian.
Montana said he finished the work a couple of weeks ago and as of Sunday, was still waiting final word from the NCAA and UW that he will be good to go — he doesn’t anticipate any issues and plans to come to UW this weekend. Classes start Monday and spring practice on Tuesday.
Every UW practice will be open to the public this spring and those who attend may get a glimpse of Nick’s dad.
“He’ll be around for some practices for sure,” said Nick Montana.
UW coaches encouraged Montana to enroll in time for the spring once they knew that last year’s backup Ronnie Fouch was planning to transfer to Indiana State. That leaves Montana as one of just three scholarship QBs on the roster for this spring (Jake Locker is technically a walk-on after signing a contract with the Angels last summer but obviously isn’t a walk-on in the traditional sense).
Montana will compete with redshirt freshman Keith Price for the backup spot to Locker.
Montana said being able to contend to be the proverbial play away from playing was one motivator to enroll early, though he said it wasn’t all of it.
“It was that and just being able to learn from Jake and see how he does things, how he operates,” Montana said. “And just getting more time around everyone, the coaches and the players. Just getting the opportunity to learn and get better.”
The Montana that arrives for the spring may be a little bigger than some remember from his playing days. Often listed in the 170s during his Oaks Christian career — which has led many recruiting analysts to say he may need a year or two to develop physically — Montana said he stands 6-3 and weighs 195 pounds. That’s about 10 pounds more than he played at last season, he said.
“Having a little bit of time off to lift and work out has helped a lot,” he said. “And hopefully just keep growing.”
Montana’s workout regiment has included regular work at a local facility that caters to college prospects and NFL players
When not working out, he’s also done some throwing drills with guys like former Notre Dame and Oaks Christian QB Jimmy Clausen, whom Montana calls “a pretty good friend,” and former Oregon tight end Ed Dickson. Montana said he threw to Dickson and other receivers training for the NFL Draft twice a week, and did drills with Clausen “once a week on top of that.” Another who attended the receiver workouts was former Washington State safety Eric Frampton, now with the Vikings.
Montana said there was the to-be-expected friendly jousting over the UW and Oregon and UW and WSU rivalries with those players, but he appreciated their presence at those workouts.
“That’s helped a lot, just getting that time in,” Montana said.
Players graduating early to get an extra spring practice before they start their college careers is becoming increasingly common. For all, there is usually one last moment of high school throw into the mix — attending graduation. Montana said he’s already made plans to return home for those ceremonies later this spring.
“I’ll definitely be back,” he said. “That’ll be a fun experience.”