Tadan Gilman has to remember how to be a quarterback. The Kalispell Glacier star did not want his college decision hanging over his head.
Gilman picked up offers from Montana State and Montana earlier this summer during his trip to each individual camp. Weeks before the Wolfpack begin fall camp in a quest for their third state title game appearance in four years, Gilman has made his decision. The athlete and future Glacier quarterback has verbally committed to Jeff Choate’s Montana State Bobcats.
“It’s a relief because I can really focus and hone down on my new position of quarterback,” Gilman said on Friday. “I have to really focus in on our team and getting that decision out of the way really allows me to do that. Overall, it will allow us to have more success. The quarterback is the leader of the offense and I have to focus in on that.”
Gilman will almost certainly not play quarterback for the Bobcats. His Division I interest comes from his ability as a linebacker. Gilman played quarterback through his freshman prep season. As a sophomore, he earned Glacier’s starting “Stud” linebacker spot, taking over a highly productive position played in previous years by standouts like current Bobcat linebacker Josh Hill.
The 6-foot, 205-pounder is the son of former Nebraska standout Mark Gilman. He received strong interest from both Montana’s Big Sky Conference programs, but Choate’s pitch resonated and landed the second highly regarded in-state player of the week for MSU. Dillon athlete Troy Andersen, who many consider the top prospect in the state, also committed earlier this week.
“What drove my decision as how amazing their coaching staff was and how energetic they are,” Gilman said. “They remind me a lot of what I have here in Glacier and how much I’ve enjoyed my experience here. I figured I could move on to college and enjoy it just as much. Every single one of those guys gets you hyped up and that’s really what made me want to make this decision right away.”
Director of high school relations B.J. Robertson, the former head coach at Montana Western, is MSU’s lead in-state recruiter. He was the first to contact Gilman. The outside linebacker said he considered Montana but Choate’s pitch sold him on becoming a Bobcat.
“As much as the Griz has had success in the past, the ‘Cats, how much different they approach the player, when I went to individual camps, I went to both of them and when I was down in Bozeman, every single coach was jumping around and hyped up,” Gilman said. “The Griz, as much experience as they have, I didn’t feel that same connection and energetic feel that I felt with the Bobcats.”
Choate’s energy came through immediately upon Gilman calling him and telling him of Gilman’s future plans.
“That guy gets you pumped up for anything,” Gilman said. “Yesterday when I made my commitment and right away, he talked about how awesome the experience was going to be and all the things they hope I can do.”
As a sophomore for former Grizzly quarterback Grady Bennett’s squad, Gilman earned honorable mention Class AA all-state honors as Glacier captured the first state title in school history in 2014. Gilman earned first-team all-state honors last season as the Wolfpack advanced to the state semifinals. Glacier lost 22-16 to eventual state champion Bozeman a game short of a third straight state title game. The Wolfpack lost to Bozeman in the 2013 state title game as well.
The success has translated into Glacier becoming a Division I football recruit factory. Two-time All-Big Sky center Joel Horn graduated following last season. Defensive end Devin Jeffries will be a fourth-year junior for the ‘Cats this fall. Sophomore running back Noah James is in his third year with the Bobcats. Hill, quarterback Brady McChesney and running back Logan Jones came to Montana State following Glacier’s state title two years ago. Gilman said he’s talked directly to Hill and Jones this summer.
“They just said how much of a similarity there is between the programs and how much fun they have down there,” Gilman said. “The town of Bozeman reminds them a lot of Kalispell and they seem like they are having a bunch of fun.”
Gilman is one of two Glacier defensive standouts who is among the state’s top recruits. Jaxen Hashley, the 6-foot-5, 245-pound son of former MSU standout basketball player Doug Hashley, is being recruited heavily by both Montana schools.
“Having his dad as a Bobcat alumni, it has an influence on him but he’s still contemplating it,” Gilman said. “Now I have some encouragement for him to be a ‘Cat but it’s totally up to him and he hasn’t said much about it. I really don’t know what he’s thinking. He’s such a good athlete, who knows, he could go bigger. But maybe I’ll give him a little push to come to Bozeman.”
Hashley gave his verbal commitment to Montana State just hours after the publication of this story.
Gilman first toured Montana State’s campus during the Bobcats’ Junior Day event during spring ball. When he returns in the fall of 2017, he plans on exploring a degree in some sort of health science in an effort to stay involved in athletics as long as he can, whether it’s as a physical therapist or a physical education teacher.
MSU tried Gilman at running back during its individual camp and have since classified him as an athlete with position versatility. Regardless of where he ends up playing, Gilman is happy to have the decision behind him as he returns under center for again, likely for his last quarterback season.
“It’s an honor to get this chance, “Gilman said. “It’s going to be super exciting. I’ve always dreamed about playing football in college. It will be an honor truly and I can’t wait to get started.”