Big Sky Conference

Montana State’s loyalty helps Bobcats land Eastside Catholic star Putney


Editor’s note: Montana State welcomed nine high school prospects to campus the final recruiting weekend of the winter the first weekend of February. Almost every single one of those recruits ended up signing National Letters of Intent less than a week later. Over the next three weeks, Skyline Sports will print a series of stories about each of the late commitments to Montana State. This is the first installment of that series featuring Eastside Catholic (Washington) 3-star safety Malik Putney. 

Malik Putney waited as long as he possibly could for an offer that never came. When the Tacoma native realized the Pac 12 was not in the cards, he did not forget who showed him the most loyalty during his recruiting process.

During his second off-season as Montana State’s head coach, Jeff Choate wanted to plant an MSU flag in Western Washington. The former University of Washington defensive line coach wanted to reestablish Montana State’s recruiting presence in the Northwest. Within a week of National Signing Day, Choate extended a collection of offers to some of the best high school players in the region.

Many of the prospects quickly rose through the recruiting ranks, fielding bigger offers than the FCS Bobcats. Putney, a 3-star safety who earned first-team all-league honors three straight seasons at Seattle-area powerhouse Eastside Catholic High, was one of those seemingly out of reach prospects that heard from Choate and his staff a full year before the Class of 2018 would sign.

During Eastside Catholic’s rise to the No. 1 team in Washington 3A, Putney’s stock was fortified with FBS offers from Air Force, Army, Hawaii and Idaho. The 6-foot, 205-pounder also fielded an offer from Eastern Washington, the Big Sky Conference’s premier program this decade after claiming five league titles in a seven-season stretch.

Putney wanted to play for the Dawgs. He hoped Washington would extend an offer. But that offer never came.

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Photos contributed by Putney. All Rights Reserved.

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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