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The Griz offensive and defensive lines collide during the start of a play during a scrimmage.

MISSOULA — Many of Ryan Tirrell's early memories come from inside the friendly confines of Washington-Grizzly Stadium. 

Kroy Biermann's red contacts. Snow games. Players throwing tape all around the locker room. 

"Lex Hilliard, Colt Anderson and all those guys, just seeing all of them when we were little, they seemed so old," Tirrell said to 406mtsports.com on Saturday. 

Tirrell, currently a junior at Loyola Sacred Heart, announced his intention to play for Montana on April 19 via Twitter.

Tirrell, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound two-way player, said Montana is still feeling out what position he'll play in college, but there's a possibility he'll line up as a linebacker. 

"It's kinda surreal," Tirrell said. "When you dream about it your whole life and you finally get to the age where it happens, it hasn't really set in. It's a weird feeling."

But there's more to it than just playing for his hometown team and following in the footsteps of his favorite Grizzlies in Ryan Bagley and Hilliard.

When Tirrell steps foot on UM's campus in 2019, he'll be playing for his uncle Bobby Hauck and alongside cousin Robby Hauck.

After Tirrell committed, Robby took to Twitter as well, saying he's "fired up to finally be teammates with (his) 'little' cousin."

"It's special for sure," Tirrell said about being able to play for his uncle. "When you spend a lot of time around him and talk a lot of football but I've never ... been coached by him, it's going to be a cool experience."

Months before Bobby offered his nephew a scholarship, Tirrell was elated at the news that his uncle was going to come back to Missoula.

Tirrell's mom, Katie, broke the news before one of his basketball practices this season.

"I was so excited," Tirrell said. "But not even just the fact that he's going to be the football coach here, but I mean, my whole family's coming back, their family at least. That's a big portion of my family."

As a junior, Tirrell earned first-team Western B honors at both running back and linebacker.

Tirrell helped lead the Rams to the Class B semifinals last season, where Loyola dropped a heartbreaker to Shelby, 28-27. 

"His size and length are good, but he's also determined to be great," Loyola football coach Todd Hughes told 406mtsports.com last week. "He has continued to do all the things I've asked since last fall. When you combine that drive with his natural athleticism and desire to be the best, you know he'll be all right playing in college."

Tirrell's success so far doesn't surprise David Koppang either, a fellow Ram-to-Griz product.

"I couldn't be any happier for him with how hard he's worked," Koppang told 406mtsports.com. "I could see it coming just because how awesome of a year he had his junior year. 

" ... Ryan's very inspirational. You don't have a lot of juniors who like to step up and take a leadership role. Ryan really filled that role this year and was able to lead on the field and off the field. He really helped us on the field. Obviously he's going to the Griz now so you can tell how good he is. He's just a really good leader."

Tirrell has one more football season with the Rams and he's ready to get started.

"I'm fired up for my last season. I know my team's been working hard to get ready too," Tirrell said. " ... I'm really excited to see exactly what we can do."

Other verbal commits in Montana's 2019 class include: Fairfield's Ryder Meyer

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Amie Just covers Griz football and Missoula-area preps. Follow her on Twitter @Amie_Just or email her at Amie.Just@406mtsports.com.

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