MISSOULA — Bozeman senior running back Asher Croy wanted to go to West Point for the longest time, feeling it was the right place where he could combine his passion for football with an opportunity to serve his country.
Croy’s trip to the Military Academy in New York this summer wasn’t what he thought it would be. So, he had to do some re-evaluation and spent the early part of the football season unsure of what he wanted to do.
Croy had long been a fan of Montana, having the connection of his dad playing there. He had put together a good camp that led to an offer from the Griz, and when he attended their homecoming win over Idaho State on Oct. 5, he knew it was the right place to call home.
“My dad played football for the Griz, and growing up, I was always a huge Griz fan,” Croy told 406mtsports.com and the Missoulian in a phone call Thursday morning after committing Wednesday night.
“Through high school, I started to be more open to everything, but I’ve still always had that connection there. I just love the coaching staff. I love the town of Missoula itself. Every time I’ve been up there, I could see myself being there and going to school there.”
Croy said he was recruited to Montana under the all-encompassing term “athlete” at 6-foot, 206 pounds. He’s played running back in high school and has occasionally mixed in time at linebacker, although he’s willing to play wherever.
“One of the big things about the Griz compared to Army or some of those other schools I wanted to go to was I felt that I actually had a chance to play a large role at Montana throughout my career,” Croy said.
Croy has shown his adaptability this year, transferring to Class AA Bozeman from Class B Huntley Project, where he was an all-state running back who churned out 2,173 yards and 32 touchdowns in 2018. This year, he’s been Bozeman’s every-down back, running for a Class AA-best 1,282 yards and 14 touchdowns on 176 carries, an average of 7.3 yards per rush.
Also a track athlete, he flashed his speed by placing sixth at the State B meet in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.53 seconds.
“I think he’s an extremely strong, physical runner,” said Bozeman football coach Levi Wesche, whose team is the No. 1 playoff seed out of the Eastern AA. “I think his lower body strength is just incredible. Very rare, in my opinion, that I’ve seen in AA for a person to be so strong in their lower body, not just in the weight room but on the field.
“I think he takes a lot of pride in doing the right thing all the time. Loves the weight room as much as any kid I’ve ever been around. Obviously, a coach’s kid. Guy, his dad, coached him all the way up. I think he just really loves the game of football and enjoys playing and competing.”
Croy was primarily recruited to Montana by safeties coach Shann Schillinger and tight ends coach Jace Schillinger, with an assist from running backs coach Justin Green, he said.
Montana became too good to pass up, so he accepted a partial scholarship over a similar offer from Montana State and interest from Frontier schools.
“One of the first things you notice right away is the stadium and facilities. That all blew me away a lot more than I ever expected,” Croy said of Montana. “Personally, I had a really good camp up there, so that helped my feelings toward it. And then just the coaches were awesome. They were very professional about everything. It just felt a lot more personal.”
Croy said he plans to sign during the early signing period, which runs from Dec. 18-20.
"I don’t think it’s quite sunken in yet for me for sure," he said. "It definitely feels good just to have that decision made knowing where I’m going."
Croy is Montana’s sixth-known commit in the class of 2020. The Grizzlies’ other commits are Hamilton quarterback Carson Rostad, Kalispell Glacier wide receiver Drew Deck, Missoula Sentinel wide receiver/cornerback Jaxon Lee, Huntley Project defensive lineman Journey Grimsrud and Sandpoint (Idaho) offensive lineman Brandon Casey.