Troy Andersen hopes the news of his commitment resonates with his peers throughout the Treasure State.
Andersen, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound athlete from Dillon who is widely considered the prize of next year’s in-state recruiting class in Montana, gave his verbal commitment to the Montana State Bobcats earlier this week. He hopes his commitment creates a domino effect.
“Montana State offered me at (individual) camp (in June) and they thought I’d commit early because they knew I was a Bobcat fan,” Andersen said. “I just thought this was the right time. I felt like if I committed now, I could help bring other recruits in. And get the load off my chest, the pressure off me so I can focus on the next season.”
Andersen was the first in-state commitment for first-year head coach Jeff Choate and his staff. Days later, Kalispell Glacier standout linebacker Tadan Gilman committed to MSU. On Saturday, Glacier defensive lineman Jaxen Hashley, another of Montana’s top recruits, verbally committed to Montana State. The Treasure State trio are among five verbal commitments Montana State has received for the Class of 2017.
“I just hope other guys around the state see I’ve committed to Montana State and hopefully that will get them thinking about going there as well,” Andersen said.
As a junior, the quarterback earned Southwestern A Player of the Year honors by piling up 2,960 yards of total offense and totaling 43 touchdowns while spearheading the Beaver defense from his safety position. In the spring, Andersen ran the 100 meters in 11.12 seconds and the 200 in 22.42 seconds to sweep the sprints at the Montana Class A state track and field championships in Bozeman.
Andersen is projected as a safety for the Bobcats. His sister Holly Andersen will be a sophomore sprinter for the MSU women’s track team next year, something he said gave him comfort but didn’t play into his decision.
“I’ve grown up going to Bobcat games over in Bozeman, being a fan of the Bobcats,” Andersen said. “I’ve gone to games in Missoula as well. I have friends at MSU and that play on the team and I feel like it’s a dream of mine to play for Montana State in the Big Sky Conference.”
The Grizzlies also recruited Andersen fervently over the last few months. Andersen turned heads at both the UM and MSU individual camps, leaving Missoula and Bozeman with scholarship offers in hand. Andersen said, despite his deep Bobcat ties, he did consider Montana as an option.
“Yeah, I did and I went over there for camp and I talked to their coaches,” Andersen said. “I liked all them, they were all good. I just feel my connection with Montana State coaches and family and friends over there is just better for me.”
Andersen will become the fifth former Beaverhead County High player on the Bobcats’ roster in the fall of 2017. Junior offensive lineman Caleb Gillis should challenge for a starting spot on an offensive line that loses four starters as will junior interior offensive lineman Monte Folsom. Ben Folsom, Monte’s younger brother, finished spring football as Tyler Bruggman’s backup at quarterback. Kyle Finch, a defensive end that will be a freshman for MSU when the ‘Cats open camp this fall, is one of Andersen’s best friends.
Since 2000, Dillon has claimed seven Class A state titles and played in two other state title games, including last season. The small town where Choate went to college — MSU’s new coach played linebacker at Montana Wester in the early 1990s — has maintained its reputation as a hotbed for Division I recruits.
“Our coaching, we have great coaches,” Andersen said. “Coach Nordahl, Coach Carver, all of them get it done. We believe we are going to win and we outwork every team. We put in the summer, the time, the effort, extra throwing sessions, lifting and that’s why we have been successful over the years.”
Andersen said he is uncertain of what he will major in but he is leaning toward engineering, another determining factor in his early commitment. Regardless of his academic discipline, he’s simply happy to have his decision out of the way
“It’s really special,” Andersen said. “I’ve grown up around the game and a lot of that is through Montana State. I’ve always dreamed of playing for the Bobcats. Then I get the chance to do it with friends and in front of family and close to home, that’s pretty special.”