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Holdsclaw goes big, chooses Grizzlies

Havre's Thurman Holdsclaw will walk on to the University of Montana football team


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Havre High's Thurman Holdsclaw rushes the ball during a Class A football game against Sidney last fall at Blue Pony Stadium. Holdsclaw will be a walk-on at the University of Montana.

If you were never able to see Havre High’s Thurman Holdsclaw play football, you missed a lot of great performances on the gridiron.

His two-year prep career went by in a flash, but fortunately for football fans, while his prep career has come and gone, his collegiate career is just beginning.

In just a short amount of time, Holdsclaw was able to get on a lot of schools' watch lists.

As a junior, Holdsclaw’s first season of high school football, he was named First-Team All-Conference tight end and defensive end. He was also named All-State tight end. And as a senior, Holdsclaw continued to be one of the best players in the state, on both sides of the ball. Last fall, he was named First-Team All-Conference tight end, Central A Conference Offensive MVP, and again, All-State tight end. And on defense, Holdsclaw was named First-Team All Conference return specialist and defensive end. Holdsclaw will also play in the upcoming East-West Shrine Game this summer.

And his efforts didn’t go unnoticed, as Holdsclaw had several colleges interested in having him join their team. Next fall Holdsclaw will walk on to play football for the University of Montana Grizzly.

“I was stuck between Montana Tech and UM,” Holdsclaw said. “But in either scenario, I was going to have to walk on, so I decided to just go big, and chose UM.”

Position also came into play. Holdsclaw may have played a variety of positions for the Ponies, but in the college ranks, he will be able focus on one side of the ball, and on one position. Walking on for the Girz, Holdsclaw play wide receiver, a major factor in his final decision. The University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D. was very interested in Holdsclaw, but wanted him on the defensive side of the ball. The choice between offense and defense made the choice in school an easy one.

The 6-2, 210-pound has been a utility player on a very successful Blue Pony offense. Holdsclaw also lined up in the backfield as a running back, in the slot as a receiver, and even in the backfield as a quarterback in a wildcat set.

“I didn’t want to travel that far just to play defense,” Holdsclaw said. “I knew I wanted to get out of Havre for a little bit, but (wide receiver) is what I like, and what I wanted to play.”

The transition from high school to college is tough on everybody. Academically and athletically, the change takes time, but Holdsclaw believes he has what it takes to find success. He had a ton of success in high school, but with just two years under his belt, he also has a lot of untapped talent the Griz program can benefit from.

“The game is going to be a lot tougher,” Holdsclaw said. “It is going to be a lot faster, and against a lot bigger guys. But I think I will do all right, because I am willing to work as hard as I can, and have to, to get playing time. I always kept up with football, and was always around it, even if I wasn’t playing. But only playing for two years really kept me interested a lot more. I never got burnt out on it. I have a lot of stuff I can still work on to get better, and walking on is going to give me time to do that.”

There is no timeline Holdsclaw wants to follow to collegiate success. This is another stage in his life and career, and most importantly, Holdsclaw knows football is there to also help him get through school. But if things work out as planned, Holdsclaw will find success in the classroom and on the field over the next four years.

Holdsclaw will be the first Havre High player to don a Grizzly uniform since star Marc Mariani graduated from Montana as the school's all-time leading receiver in 2009.


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