HELENA — Helena Capital High football coach Kyle Mihelish said he would never understate the value of having a versatile kicker like his Bruins had in Brian Buschini for the last three years.
“I’ve always said this about a kicker when you have one you don’t worry about it, and when you don’t have one you wish you had a kicker,” Mihelish said. “Buschini has put in a tremendous amount of time in the offseason being a year-round kicker."
During National Signing Day on Wednesday, there was speculation Buschini would sign with the University of Montana after he received an offer from the Griz to become a punter.
That speculation became a reality when Buschini announced Thursday morning on Twitter his commitment to the Griz as a guaranteed preferred walk on.
"Extremely excited to announce that I have 100% committed to the University of Montana. Thanks to all who helped me through the recruitment process!" he wrote on his Twitter.
Buschini said getting a chance to suit up for the Griz is a life-long dream.
"Ever since I went to my first game this year, I wanted to play for the U of M," Buschini said via text message with 406mtsports.com. "I feel like the way this program is, we will not only be winning a Big Sky title in the coming year but competing for a National Championship."
Being able to stay close to home was a big factor for Buschini.
"Being able to stay close to home was huge for me," Buschini said. "Now I will be able to represent this great University, and it's a huge honor for me."
Mihelish didn’t hesitate to refer to Buschini as one of the most valuable players on the Bruins football team the last three seasons.
“He’s not a kid that comes in and spends a lot of time on his craft and is focused on just one thing," Mihelish said. "Buschini is a versatile guy. He comes in and kicks off for us, he kicks field goals, he punts, and he’s done that for three years. He’s a great punter and can drive the ball on kickoffs, and was a pretty solid field goal kicker for us.
“He was a three-year kicker for us, and he did a lot of education and learning on his own,” Mihelish said of Buschini’s development as a kicker.
Working with Bruins special teams coordinator Dick McMahon and Capital receiving and punting coach Jared Hunt, he continued to cultivate his skills and learned autonomously rather than through instruction.
“When he needed to pin someone down on a punt, he did a great job of finding the rectangle and put the ball where he wanted it,” Mihelish said.
Like every position in football, competition is fierce.
Mihelish knows Buschini will have to fight for his position, but thinks his competitive nature will allow him to earn a spot with Montana.
“He’s going to be a great asset to the Grizzlies.," Mihelish said. "I am sure there will be other kickers on the roster they may recruit. Just like there is whatever position anyone chooses to play, he’ll have to fight for that job."
Mihelish expressed confidence in Buschini's ability to compete.
“He’s been kicking a long time, and he’s been working hard on his own for the last five or six years so (kicking in college) has been the goal he wanted to obtain, and he’s reached it,” Mihelish said.
Buschini, who also had a preferred walk-on scholarship with the Bobcats, chose to sign with the Montana for several reasons.
"I was getting interest from Washington State, Eastern Washington, and I also took visits to the University of Wisconsin, and Oregon State over the course of my recruitment process, but honestly the school that impressed me the most was the University of Montana," Buschini said.