March 5, 2009

Montana his father's son

Having a father who is one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history can put a lot of pressure to succeed in football.

But for Nick Montana, he is making a name for himself as one of the top quarterbacks in the 2010 class. The Georgia Bulldogs are looking for a top flight signal caller for next year and recently added their name to the growing list of Montana's suitors.

"I had not spoken to Georgia before the offer," Montana said. "Coach (Mike) Bobo emailed my coach in January about me. I kept calling and missing him for about two weeks but then I got a hold of him. He told me they were going to offer me, and I was really excited about that. I hope to talk to Coach (Mark) Richt soon as well."

The California native is up to 12 offers now, and while he admits he is not well-schooled on the Bulldogs, he knows they are a top team in the country.

"I had the chance to see a couple Georgia games last year and it is easy to see why they are so successful," he said. "They win a lot of games, and they had a great quarterback."

While his namesake may get him noticed, the young quarterback is quick to give credit where he feels it is truly due.

"Oaks Christian is a great school with national exposure. Our head coach, Bill Redell, does a great job at getting us out there and making sure we get seen," Montana said. "I owe all of that to him; all of my offers would not be possible if he did not get me noticed. I am sure that is what happened with Georgia as well."

Speculation is that Montana will follow in his father's footsteps to Notre Dame, but the 6-foot-2, 180-pound quarterback says he has no current leader.

"I cannot really say anyone stands out right now. I am still feeling it out and trying to get as many visits done as I can to see what these different schools have to offer and how I fit into their systems," Montana said. "I hope to have a clearer picture in a couple of months."

Montana threw for over 2,500 yards last year, with 34 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions in mostly first-half action. With impressive numbers, a gaudy offer list, an NFL pedigree, it would be easy to let the success go to his head.

"Well definitely my parents help keep that from happening, especially my mom. She ensures that I do not have an ego or get cocky, so I have to thank her for that," Montana said while laughing. "My parents have been the biggest influence on me with them process so far. My mom has been on every one of my visits. My dad is pretty busy, but he is trying to make the rest of them. We talk it up about every school, and we discuss the pros and cons after every visit. It is good to have people with experience who know what they are talking about."

Will the talented prospect be visiting anymore schools anytime soon?

"I have not set dates, but I hope to see Alabama, Arizona, Florida State and Georgia."

While he plays on the West Coast, Montana admits there is a lot of intrigue to the Southeastern Conference.

"I think every kid wants to play in the SEC, the football is just different out there. It seems like the best conference to play in because it is the most intense," said Montana.

"I am not limiting myself to any conference though," he added.

Georgia will be replacing possibly the most talented quarterback in school history, and the publicity provided by his draft status is not going unnoticed by some of the top quarterbacks in the country.

"Seeing Matthew Stafford have a chance to succeed in the NFL is definitely a big plus," Montana said. "When I am looking at schools, obviously I have aspirations of playing at the next level."

When it comes time to make a decision, having an offense that will get him to the next level will go a long way in Montana's eyes.

"I am looking to see if it is a pro-style offense, are they going to coach me up and get prepared for the NFL," Montana explained. "To see a school like Georgia put guys in the league, it is a huge plus."

For people on the west coast, seeing highlights of Montana may not give the whole picture of what he brings to the table. He gave what he thought were his best qualities as a player.

"My best asset is my accuracy and footwork. I admit I do not have the strongest arm, but it is strong enough to where I can make all the throws. I am not going to wow people with my arm strength, so I take pride in my ability to put the ball exactly where it needs to be," said Montana. "Also, I can move around pretty good. I have worked hard to improve my speed and footwork. I do quickness training three to four times a week in addition to all of the team drills."

When Montana makes up his mind, it will be because he has found the total package. He explained that it could happen while he is there, or it could come after discussion with his parents. But it will be a combination of factors that lead to his decision.

"For me it starts up front with academics. Because I know I need a strong base in case football does not work out," Montana said. "I have to see myself being comfortable there with or without football. The football program, the coaches and the offense, and whether they put guys in the NFL."



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