MISSOULA — Since Brandon Casey started watching football, he imagined playing at the college level and came to think the Big Sky Conference would be the right fit for him.
The Sandpoint, Idaho, native who committed to Montana's 2020 recruiting class this week had also considered coming to Missoula for college. So, he stopped to tour the campus while driving through town during his spring break in April despite never having been in contact with anyone from Montana about playing there.
While on the tour, Casey found an affection for the place and called his high school football coach, a 12-year assistant at FCS Colgate, to ask if he’d be able to get a tour of the football facilities. With his film readily available on Hudl, Casey soon heard from recruiting coordinator Justin Green, got a tour from video coordinator Lennard Manke and stayed to watch the Grizzlies’ spring practice that day.
“The facilities are really impressive, and I was just blown away,” Casey told 406mtsports.com about his initial impression.
Montana receivers coach Brent Pease later visited him at his high school, and Casey was invited back for Montana’s Big Man Camp in June, where he’d earn a full-ride scholarship offer.
Casey received similar offers from Montana State, Eastern Washington, Idaho State and Idaho, the last being his parents’ alma mater. He eventually chose the Griz, committing on Monday night.
“The big thing is the atmosphere there,” Casey said of what sold him on Montana. “My big thing is winning. I believe in the next couple years Montana will be national champions, and I want to be part of that team. As simple as that.”
He reiterated that point, saying: “I want to come to Montana and win a national championship. I believe it’s going to happen.”
When Casey gets to Montana, he said the Griz want him to be an offensive lineman, potentially at tackle or guard. He stands at 6-foot-6 and recently weighed in at 263 pounds.
Casey is playing on both the offensive and defensive lines at Sandpoint High School and said he’s been on varsity since the end of his sophomore season. 247Sports lists him as a 2-star prospect as a strongside defensive end, but he likes playing on offense.
“I like the challenge,” Casey said. “I like how you line up and hit every play. There’s some positions where you’re way out there, you don’t get any contact. I like the contact every play. It’s fun. I also like the mental challenge of memorizing plays, knowing schemes.”
Casey was recruited by Pease and offensive line coach Chad Germer, adding that Germer was the main coach with whom he talked and the one who won him over.
“He’s a really big influence on me, the big reason why I chose Montana,” Casey said. “Through the whole recruiting process, I had a few questions and I called him, and all of our conversations, he answered all my questions. He’s the guy I want to play for.”
During his recruitment, Casey was selected as one of the offensive line MVPs at Eastern Washington’s camp and was named the offensive line MVP at the Spokane Showcase.
As a junior, Casey earned first-team all-league honors playing offensive line in Sandpoint’s run-heavy offense. The Bulldogs play in Class 4A, the second-highest classification in Idaho.
"Brandon is the full package," said Sandpoint coach Ryan Knowles, a former Idaho defensive end who was a four-year starter. "He's been in a bunch of different systems, and we're going to be more spread with zone read this year. He's a tackle who can climb to the linebacker or pass block because he's so athletic and can run. He's long and rangy, has length, and is a good athlete who can move his feet."
A multi-sport athlete, Casey plays basketball in the winter and had played baseball and lacrosse in the spring. This past spring, he joined the track and field team to throw shot put and discus at the behest of Knowles and qualified for state.
Casey said he plans to sign with the Griz during the early signing period in December.
Casey is the fifth known commit and the first out-of-state commit in Montana's Class of 2020. He's joined by Hamilton quarterback Carson Rostad, Kalispell Glacier wide receiver Drew Deck, Sentinel triple-threat standout Jaxon Lee and Huntley Project defensive lineman Journey Grimsrud.