Billings West takes on Great Falls CMR

Billings West's Jesse Owens has committed to play football for the Montana Grizzlies.

BILLINGS — Billings West two-sport standout Jesse Owens committed on Sunday night to join the University of Montana football team.

Owens was first-team all-state in Class AA at wide receiver and the co-offensive MVP for the Golden Bears this year. He was also first-team all-state at cornerback.

Owens totaled 71 receptions for 1,126 yards and 13 touchdowns this season as the Bears won the state championship.

The 5-foot-9, 175-pound Owens said he is projected to be a wide receiver for the Griz.

“I am super excited,” Owens told “It should be a fun 4 to 5 years.

“I am excited for after basketball season to start training for football right away.”

Owens, who was also an all-state player in basketball last year, said he believes the Grizzlies will be a good fit for him. Owens said he also had an offer from Montana State and a couple of NAIA schools.

“It was tough, but I just think with the environment and the coaching staff really let me know how badly they wanted me,” he said. “I just thought it was the right fit for me and on the field, too. It was a good fit for my style of play.

“I like how they expect to win. I like how the town supports their team and I like how the players respect the coaches. I feel like the mutual respect between the players and coaches is a good thing.”

Owens averaged 15.2 points per game last year in basketball to rank seventh in Class AA. He was also seventh in assists (3.0) and third in steals (2.10). He had team-high 15 points as the Bears downed Laurel 47-46 on Saturday.

While Owens enjoys and excels in both sports, he is confident in his decision to play football in college.

“I was definitely thinking about basketball,” he said. “All summer I played AAU basketball and put a lot of time toward it. But I feel at the end it was the best fit to go and play football at the University of Montana.”

The energy at Washington-Grizzly Stadium on game day was a draw, Owens said. The academic opportunities at Montana also were attractive to Owens. He is planning on taking business courses.

“The atmosphere of the games. … What I’m trying to do after college, the University of Montana can help me do.

“My goal is to go work on the Nike campus and the University of Montana has internships to go and do that. I think that is the right direction for myself in the future.”

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Email Gazette Deputy Sports Editor John Letasky at or follow him on Twitter at @GazSportsJohnL

Deputy Sports Editor, Billings Gazette

Deputy Sports Editor at the Billings Gazette

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