MISSOULA — Montana senior linebacker Dante Olson was among four Grizzlies selected as preseason FCS All-Americans by HERO Sports on Thursday.
Olson was named to the first team, as was Jace Lewis, a junior linebacker who was selected as a special teams contributor. Sophomore Robby Hauck was a second-team selection as a defensive back, and junior wide receiver Sammy Akem landed on the third team.
Olson, from Medford, Oregon, is coming off a breakout season in which he earned seven All-America honors and finished third in voting for the Buck Buchanan Award, given to the top defensive player in the FCS. He tallied 151 tackles, which broke Kendrick Van Ackeren's school record of 130, and led the FCS with 13.7 tackles per game. He added 11 tackles for loss, six sacks, three forced fumbles and two interceptions.
Lewis, from Townsend, recorded 62 tackles, the fifth most on the Griz and 38th most in the Big Sky while rotating in at linebacker and playing on the kickoff coverage unit. He ranked third on the team with 7.5 tackles for loss and added 2.5 sacks, two pass breakups and one quarterback hurry.
Hauck, a Missoula native, finished seventh in voting for the Jerry Rice Award, given to the top freshman in the FCS. In his first season after redshirting at Northern Arizona, Hauck led all freshmen in the nation with 95 tackles and was third with 8.6 tackles per game. He broke up four passes and had 2.5 tackles for loss.
Akem, from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, led the Big Sky and ranked sixth in the country with 13 touchdown receptions, tied for fifth most on the single-season list in Montana history. In 11 games, he caught 59 passes for 879 yards, an average of 14.9 yards per catch and 79.9 per game.