Glacier Graduate Ready for Montana Pro Day

Patrick O'Connell was a standout at Glacier High before becoming an All-American linebacker for the Griz

By 406mtsports.com
Grizzlies linebacker Patrick O'Connell (58) runs a recovered fumble in for a touchdown during the Montana Grizzlies’ 30-3 win over the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks in Flagstaff, Arizona on November 13, 2021. Photo by Tommy Martino/UM Athletics

For the last three months, former Montana All-American linebacker Patrick O’Connell has been in Orlando, waking up at the crack of dawn six days a week for two-a-day strength and fitness training sessions at Tom Shaw Performance under the Florida sun. All in preparation for one single day: the Montana football Pro Day.

On Tuesday, that day arrives for O’Connell and six other Grizzlies as they return to Missoula, looking to make dreams of playing at the next level come true by showcasing their athleticism, strength and skills for pro scouts.

Also returning for Montana’s Pro Day next week are defensive lineman Eli Alford, kicker/punter Adam Botkin, cornerback Jayden Dawson, receiver and return specialist Malik Flowers, cornerback Justin Ford and linebacker Marcus Welnel.

Three players from NAIA teams in Montana will also be in Missoula to undergo testing. They include D-lineman Garrett Kocab from Carroll College, and offensive guard Noah Danielson and quarterback Jon Jund from Montana Western.

For O’Connell, another classic Montana football story of walk-on turned pro prospect, the sun-up to sun-down event-specific training for explosiveness, strength, speed and agility drills has been a long time coming.

His path to the pros, and the path of another former Grizzly in Justin Ford, began in January at the Hula Bowl All-Star game, where O’Connell led “Team Kai” in solo tackles with four, and Ford led the game with three pass breakups.

Since then, it’s been a near-daily grind for the Kalispell native, and Tuesday is where the rubber meets the road.

“That’s what’s crazy about it. It’s all that time for basically three or four hours of work,” O’Connell said. “I’m super excited. I just want the day to come already because I’ve been waiting for a long time to put all the training into effect and give it my best go. It’s kind of a dream scenario for me after everything I’ve gone through, so I’m just really excited.”

Pro Day gets under way at roughly 9 a.m. with weigh-ins and measurements before moving to the testing phase for vertical jump, broad jump and the 225-pound bench press in the Washington-Grizzly Champions Center.

Testing then moves into Washington-Grizzly Stadium (weather pending) for the speed and agility portion starting at roughly 10 a.m. and lasting until approximately 11 a.m.

Testing inside the Washington-Grizzly Champions Center is closed to the public. Testing in Washington-Grizzly Stadium is open to the public, with fans asked to observe from the stands.

The 2017 Glacier High School graduate began his college career at the University of Mary before transferring back home to play for the Griz. In 2021 he was named a finalist for the FCS Buck Buchanan award honoring the most outstanding defensive player in the division.

As a senior for the Wolfpack, O’Connell was named first-team all-state in Class AA both as a linebacker and a fullback. He was named the Western AA’s defensive MVP. He led Glacier in receiving yards with 696 and scored seven touchdowns. On defense, he led with 133 total tackles.

Glacier’s Patrick O’Connell. Best of Preps on Nov. 30, 2016. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

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