His mom and dad knew for awhile. Of course they did. They're mom and dad!

And while that enormous burst of pride had to have been hard to keep bottled up, the secret remained in tact. And the players involved were finally able to celebrate the occasion with a big reveal. Looks like it will once again be worn with a lot of Griz pride.

University of Montana graduated Griz linebacker Jace Lewis of Townsend chose Helena senior linebacker Marcus Welnel as the next native Montanan (the former number 10) to wear legacy jersey number 37. The tradition dates back to the mid-1980s, where the outgoing Grizzly player passes the jersey down to another Montana kid with at least one year of eligibility remaining, and who plays on the defensive side of the ball.

Image courtesy of University of Montana Athletics
Image courtesy of University of Montana Athletics
loading...

From Tim Hauck to Jason Crebo to Jordan Tripp to Zack Wagenmann to the late Jesse Sims, there are few names among the talented 15 players who have carried on the tradition that longtime Griz football fans wouldn't recognize. And after an amazing breakout season in 2021, Marcus Welnel is poised to leave a lasting legacy. Or maybe he already has.

Who intercepted the pass with less than a minute to play to end a last-gasp comeback and preserve the 13-7 upset win over the Washington Huskies? Who blocked the 32-yard field goal attempt late in the game that would have given Southern Utah a 22-20 lead, instead helping to preserve a nerve-racking 20-19 victory? That guy now wearing number 37.

But it's not just the talent you see on the field. Marcus Welnel has the maroon-and-silver-bleeding heart of a Grizzly, all about team and what it means to be a Montana kid taking the field for UM. And just how bad did he want to represent his team and his home state by wearing that jersey?

Image courtesy of University of Montana Athletics

attachment-Welnel
loading...

His mom and dad, Shannon and Jason, had this to say on Facebook: "Jason and I were bursting to share the news!...We could not be more proud of Marcus. He said this was the only individual goal he has ever set for himself...His dedication to the team is unwavering."

Yep, for at least another year, number 37 found a perfect home.

Z100 Missoula's Only Classic Rock Moves