BILLINGS — Growing up, Journey Grimsrud envisioned himself playing college football at Montana State.

It turns out, Grimsrud has put himself in position to play college football — but when he takes the field at the next level it will be for the Montana Grizzlies.

On Friday, the 6-foot-3½, 240-pound all-state lineman for Huntley Project committed to play football for UM beginning in 2020.

Grimsrud, who was all-conference on both the offensive and defensive lines last year as a junior for the Red Devils, said he is projected to play on the defensive line at Montana. He believes he’ll be a redshirt in the 2020 season, but is not sure yet.

Grimsrud was swayed to attend Montana as he really likes the coaching staff. He said he was won over by head coach Bobby Hauck, defensive line coach Barry Sacks, safeties coach Shann Schillinger and tight ends coach Jace Schillinger. Both MSU and UM offered Grimsrud a partial scholarship, he said. Grimsrud said there were also Frontier Conference programs who showed interest in him.

“Actually I wanted to go to Bozeman ever since I was younger, but then I guess things change and perspectives change,” Grimsrud told 406mtsports.com. “Coaches are a huge, huge thing for me. I have to have coaches I click with. If I can’t be close with my coaches I’ll never be able to give 110% to them. Coaches are for sure the biggest aspects for me. I need to be close with my coaches, so I can maximize my effort.

“I’m stoked. (The Griz) are just a bunch of dudes who want to win. I love the coaches. Those guys are just awesome.”

Grimsrud said he has been a two-way starter for the Red Devils since he was a sophomore. Grimsrud visited the UM campus on July 30 and made his decision to commit to the Griz program shortly after.

“The No. 1 thing was the coaches and then their facilities, like their stadium, weight room and locker room,” Grimsrud said. “I have not seen anything like it, and I just kind of fell in love with it.”

The all-around athlete — Grimsrud placed second at 285 pounds at the State B-C wrestling tournament and won the State B title in the discus — said he is looking forward to the opportunity to hone his skills while with the Griz.

“Probably just bettering myself and seeing what I can grow into in that kind of environment where you live football and in the weight room,” he said. “You are around a bunch of guys who want to do the same thing.”

While he is looking forward to playing in the Big Sky Conference, Grimsrud is also focused on this school year. Guy Croy, who coached the Red Devils last year, resigned as head football coach on July 15. Then, 10 days later it was announced that Jay Santy would be returning to coach the Red Devils. Santy led Project to back-to-back state Class B football championships in 2008 and 2009 before retiring after the 2011 season.

Project’s high school team football camp was held July 30-31.

“It’s an entire different playbook, like our offense is completely different,” Grimsrud said. “Offense will be tough to adjust to, but our defense should be fine. I think we will have a pretty good defense.

“We will do fine. We have some good coaches. Once we get past the learning curve of all the new plays, I think we can be a dominate team. We have some athletes.”

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Email Gazette Deputy Sports Editor John Letasky at john.letasky@406mtsports.com or follow him on Twitter at @GazSportsJohnL

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