Elevated Expectations

ELEVATED EXPECTATIONS: Okada ready to rise to leading role for Bobcats

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BOZEMAN, Montana — The number of times Ty Okada has had his number change has been about equal to the number of times he’s spent each off-season learning the nuances of a new position in Montana State’s secondary.

As a redshirt freshman in 2018, Okada first started building a reputation within the program, earning MSU’s “Young Gun” award during his redshirt year in 2017 while wearing No. 11. Then he started getting time on the field the following season while covering kicks and wearing No. 19.

Then the Woodbury, Minnesota product burst into the collective conscience of Bobcat followers while sporting No. 3. Okada’s stellar performance in MSU’s 35-14 victory over No. 24 Incarnate Word in the first round of the FCS playoffs proved pivotal as former head coach Jeff Choate earned his first post-season victory and the Bobcats won in the post-season for the first time since 2012.

That afternoon, Okada proved he could play nickelback against a Southland Conference team with a penchant for throwing the ball.

In 2019, Okada fought off an injury that cost him the first half of his sophomore season to play a big role in Montana State’s secondary as the Bobcats favored a three-safety look during a stretch run that saw them race to the semifinals for the first time in 35 years.

Although Montana State’s roster featured three talented seniors — Brayden Konkol, Jahque Alleyne, JoJo Henderson — Okada found his way on to the field for the final seven weeks of the season, wearing his No. 14 jersey. Okada rotated in as MSU’s third safety, started the final month of the season next to Konkol and Alleyne and established himself as a legitimate cog in the Montana State program.

As he enters his junior season, the former walk-on who’s in his fifth fall on campus is back in single digits — the 5-foot-11, 185-pounder will wear No. 7 this year — and he’s expected to have Elevated Expectations for the No. 9 Bobcats.

BOZEMAN, Montana — The number of times Ty Okada has had his number change has been about equal to the number of times he’s spent each off-season learning the nuances of a new position in Montana State’s secondary.

As a redshirt freshman in 2018, Okada first started building a reputation within the program, earning MSU's "Young Gun" award during his redshirt year in 2017 while wearing No. 11. Then he started getting time on the field the following season while covering kicks and wearing No. 19.

Then the Woodbury, Minnesota product burst into the
collective conscience of Bobcat followers while sporting No. 3. Okada’s stellar
performance in MSU’s 35-14 victory over No. 24 Incarnate Word in the first
round of the FCS playoffs proved pivotal as former head coach Jeff Choate
earned his first post-season victory and the Bobcats won in the post-season for
the first time since 2012.

That afternoon, Okada proved he could play nickelback
against a Southland Conference team with a penchant for throwing the ball.

In 2019, Okada fought off an injury that cost him the first half of his sophomore season to play a big role in Montana State’s secondary as the Bobcats favored a three-safety look during a stretch run that saw them race to the semifinals for the first time in 35 years.

Although Montana State’s roster featured three talented seniors — Brayden Konkol, Jahque Alleyne, JoJo Henderson — Okada found his way on to the field for the final seven weeks of the season, wearing his No. 14 jersey. Okada rotated in as MSU’s third safety, started the final month of the season next to Konkol and Alleyne and established himself as a legitimate cog in the Montana State program.

As he enters his junior season, the former walk-on who’s in his fifth fall on campus is back in single digits — the 5-foot-11, 185-pounder will wear No. 7 this year — and he’s expected to have Elevated Expectations for the No. 9 Bobcats.

About Colter Nuanez

Colter Nuanez is the co-founder and senior writer for Skyline Sports. After spending six years in the newspaper industry with stops at the Missoulian, the Ellensburg Daily Record and the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, the former Washington Newspaper Association Sportswriter of the Year and University of Montana Journalism School graduate ('09) has cultivated a deep passion for sports journalism during his 13-year career covering the Big Sky Conference. In August of 2014, Colter and brother Brooks merged their passions of writing and art to found Skyline Sports.

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