Lineman opts to play college football at Montana Tech
LA CENTER — For Jack Hiller, any day could have been signing day.
There are no designated signing periods for athletes attending NAIA schools, so La Center High School celebrated Hiller’s decision with a ceremony Tuesday at the school.
Coaches, administrators, teachers, and a few friends and family members gathered around Hiller as he made his commitment to Montana Tech official.
Hiller made a bit of history for La Center football this past fall, earning the Trico League’s MVP award as an offensive and defensive lineman. He also was named ClarkCountyToday.com’s Lineman of the Year for small schools.
And while he could have played for a bigger program, could have gone to an NCAA school, Hiller said he will fit in just perfectly at Montana Tech, joining his older brother, Max Hiller, on the Orediggers’ roster.
“I kind of like the small school and everything it has to offer, academic wise,” said Hiller, who wants to study mechanical engineering. “It was the best option for me. I get to have fun playing football and get an education.”
Interestingly, Hiller had his signing ceremony the day before the new early signing period for NCAA football players. Many of the country’s elite high school football players are signing national letters of intent today.
That is a change from the traditional signing day, which had always been in February. That day will remain a big one, but it is now the second signing period for football players.
It appears most, if not all, of Clark County’s Division I recruits are waiting until February to sign. Cole Grossman of Skyview — who has offers from Montana, Wyoming, Hawaii, and Portland State — and also has had interest from even bigger programs, said he is waiting until February.
Hiller had no need to wait for any specific date, and has no regrets about going to a small school. He grew up in La Center, after all.
“We’re all family. We’re so close,” Hiller said of his teammates at La Center. “Even after the season, we’re always talking and hanging out together. That’s really cool.”
He added that the unity associated with La Center football “motivated me throughout high school and helped get me where I am.”
That small school feel, he hopes, will continue at Montana Tech.