Senior's Gabe Sulser

Billings Senior's Gabe Sulser has committed to play football at the University of Montana.

Gazette file photo

Gabe Sulser's choice of school has been a hot topic of conversation almost since the minute he put on the pads and began his high school football career as a Billings Senior Bronc.

Well, the wait is over.

Sulser is going to be a Griz.

Sulser announced on Twitter his decision to play football at the University of Montana, choosing to follow in the family footsteps and head to Missoula.

"I am extremely excited to announce that I have committed to the University of Montana to play football for the Griz! #UpWithMontana," Sulser said Thursday in his tweet, adding bear and football emojis for good measure.

Sulser's father, Mark, is a former Griz football player, having played from 1986-1989. Mark was a receiver his first three years and a safety and member of special teams in his final season. Gabe's sister, Morgan, is on Montana's track and field team. 

"It's always been my dream ever since I was a little kid to play for the Griz," Sulser told 406mtsports.com Thursday. "I grew up a Grizzly, and had lots of family members go there, and it just felt right to me. It felt like home."

Regarded as the best in-state football product, Sulser said Montana's early pursuit stood out. He said the offer from the Griz during his sophomore season was his first.

"They believed in me for a long time here so I'm excited to give my commitment to them," Sulser said. "It says a lot when a program believes in you that long and sticks with you."

Sulser said the Montana coaches involved in his recruiting process were head coach Bob Stitt, safeties coach Shann Schillinger and wide receivers coach Mike Ferriter.

College coaches are prohibited from commenting on commitments until recruits have signed national letters of intent. National Signing Day is Feb. 7, 2018, but college football will also have an early three-day signing period in December for the first time this year.

Sulser chose Montana over offers from Montana State and North Dakota State. He said the University of Washington of the Pac-12, where Montana will travel on Sept. 9 to open the season, wanted him to be a preferred walk-on.

Sulser has been fielding questions about where he's going to college for quite some time. He added he's happy to put this decision behind him and focus on his senior year.

"The success we've had in high school football really kind of drew away from (the recruiting)," Sulser said. "It was more than just trying to score touchdowns for yourself to get recruited. It was much more of a team thing."

Sulser has been an integral part of the Broncs' back-to-back Class AA state championship appearances. Last year they went 13-0 on their way to the school's first state championship in 37 years.

Sulser had three touchdowns in the state title game, including a game-sealing 16-yard touchdown catch from current Griz Nate Dick with three minutes to play in a win over Kalispell Glacier. 

Last year, Sulser totaled 81 catches for 1,321 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also rushed 57 times for 419 yards and seven touchdowns and passed for a score in Senior's 40-0 win over Butte.

"(Dick) gave me a call and said congrats and he's pretty excited," Sulser said. "It'll be fun to play with him again."

Sulser is the second Bronc to commit to the Cats or Griz this summer. Teammate Nolan Askelson announced in April that he is joining Montana State's football program.

Askelson will join former Bronc Keaton Anderson in Bozeman as well.

"Nolan and Keaton, they would always joke about me going to the Cats, but neither gave me too hard of a time," Sulser said with a laugh. "They just kind of let me make the decision on my own. They joke around here and there and our friendships are strong and I'll still love the crap out of Keaton and Nolan. It'll be fun to play against each other."

Sulser said he accepted a full scholarship.

Now that his commitment is out of the way, he said it'll be more about enjoying the little things before he trades Friday night lights for college game day on Saturdays.

"Growing up as a kid all you want to be is a Senior High Bronc," Sulser said. "It's crazy how fast it goes. Three years ago we were little freshmen just trying to make a name. It's awesome, I can't wait to play this last senior year.

His Griz goals are pretty big, too.

"I want to do whatever it takes to go win championships at the University of Montana and be a big part of it, make lots of plays for the Griz," Sulser said.

Email Kyle Hansen at kyle.hansen@406mtsports.com or follow him on Twitter at @GazSportsHansen

Prep sports reporter at the Billings Gazette

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