Even though Nash Fouch isn’t from Montana, he’s a lifelong Griz football fan.
His dad went to Montana and his older brother Nick is an incoming freshman on the football team.
So when Fouch received a call from Griz head coach Bob Stitt during his science class back in June, he knew Montana would be his top school.
“I've been to Missoula thousands of times as a kid. I love it here," Fouch told 406mtsports.com on Saturday. "Once they offered me, I pretty much knew that I wanted to be here in Missoula."
Fouch took to Twitter on Saturday night to announce his decision.
In the Tweet, Fouch included pictures of him on campus, a photo of a game, the logo and a statement that said, “First off, I’d like to thank all the coaches who took their time to recruit me through this process. I am thankful for all the relationships I’ve made in this last year. I’d also like to thank my family, teammates, coaches and friends for always supporting me in football and in life. Growing up as a Griz fan, it is a dream come true for me to commit to the UNIVERSITY OF MONTANA! #GoGriz #UpWithMontana”
Even though he lines up as both a wide receiver and a safety, Montana recruited him as a defensive back, Fouch said.
Last season on the defensive side of the ball, Fouch had 16 tackles and six interceptions according to the Woodinville (Washington) High School MaxPreps page.
Fouch has one more season as an Eagle and he’s ready for it to start. The past two seasons, Fouch’s team has lost in the quarterfinal round of the state playoffs. Last year, Woodinville lost by two.
“Getting past that point would be huge,” Fouch said. “Obviously the goal is to win the state championship and I think we can do it too. I think we have the talent to do it. We have 14 returning starters and the preseason rankings have us within the top five.”
Even with his family ties, Fouch had a hard decision to make. The three-star, two-way athlete had offers from Air Force, Idaho, Montana State, Eastern Washington, Northern Iowa and Cornell.
On Friday, Fouch and his family came down to Missoula to help move in Nick ahead of Sunday’s first day of camp. Fouch was planning to commit to Montana, but seeing the camaraderie between the incoming freshman class made him more passionate about his decision.
“(Friday) night I got to hang out with some of the incoming freshmen, and spending time with them was cool,” Fouch said. “They’re funny guys. We went to dinner, hung out and played XBox. Once I hung out with them, it was clear that this is where I wanted to be.
“They’ve been here for four days and they’re already super close.”
That togetherness as a team is something that Stitt has been wanting to achieve all along.
“Something I realized (Friday) night is that Coach Stitt is doing a really good job of recruiting not just good football players, but good people too,” Fouch said. “... One of our goals is obviously going to be to win, but the camaraderie that Coach Stitt is promoting is gonna be good for us. That’s going to bring us tighter and that will obviously translate to the football field.”
Two other prominent pieces in his recruiting were the supportive coaching staff and the Champions Center.
Fouch said Travis Niekamp, the linebackers coach, was his recruiter during the process and that “he’s been great.” And Fouch said Shann Schillinger, the safeties coach, helped him navigate the stressful recruiting process.
“It’s the people who make the difference,” Fouch said.
As for the Champions Center, “it’s kind of a big-time deal.”
“It creates a big-time football atmosphere for players wanting to come here,” Fouch said. “Players definitely gravitate toward the facilities here. Some of the PAC-12 schools have just as nice of stuff as Montana is about to have. I think that’s going to help not only bring me in, but bring a lot of other recruits in too.”
Other high school verbal commits in the Griz recruiting class of 2018 include: Garrett Graves of Eureka, Matthew Robinson of San Juan Capistrano, California, Gabe Sulser of Billings, Nick Germer of Missoula, Colten Curry of Valier and Conor Quick of Helena.