Grizzly football fans might need a moment to recognize Caleb Kidder on the field this fall. After all, he barely played in 2014 because of an arm injury.

Oh yeah, he'll be wearing a different number, too.

Kidder, a defensive tackle from Helena, will be the next holder of the Montana Grizzlies' No. 37 legacy football jersey. A redshirt junior, Kidder takes the most heralded number in Montana football from graduated defensive end Zack Wagenmann.

Wagenmann, of course, is now in NFL training camp with the Arizona Cardinals. As the previous No. 37, the decision for a successor fell to him.

"The 37 jersey represents a lot of things to us Montana kids," Wagenmann said in a news release. "... It's hard work, dedication, loyalty, selflessness, and when I was thinking about someone to pick, so many people popped into my head, which is why it took so long."

"I know he'll wear and represent that number well and everything that goes along with it," Montana defensive coordinator Ty Gregorak said of Kidder. "I believe Caleb can be a dominant force in this conference."

The passing of the torch occurred Sunday when Wagenmann invited Kidder for a workout inside Washington-Grizzly Stadium.

"I was shocked. I was pretty surprised," Kidder said in the release. "I didn't see it coming because we hang out on a regular basis since he's been back. It's pretty awesome."

The Helena Capital graduate becomes the 12th Grizzly in a row to wear the No. 37 jersey, a tradition started when Plentywood's Kraig Paulson passed the honor on to defensive back Tim Hauck, a Big Timber native, in 1987.

The past 11 have all played defense – Paulson, a running back, the lone exception.

Kidder is the second consecutive D-lineman to wear No. 37, and if coach Gregorak can sneak inside Wagenmann's head a moment, Kidder was the obvious choice.

"If you look at the lineage ... I know defensive linemen, if they can, enjoy handing it down to another big fella," Gregorak said with a laugh. "Position groups can be that way."


Kidder, Montana's Gatorade Player of the Year as a high school senior at Capital, is now a 6-foot-5, 275-pounder in the middle of the Grizzlies' defensive front. He started two games as a sophomore in 2013 before being tabbed a starter last season.

That plan crumbled, though, as Kidder pushed himself back from a wrist injury too quickly in order play in the season opener. The DT needed surgery following Week 1's loss to Wyoming and Kidder missed the rest of Montana's slate.

But he's raring to go now as the Grizzlies approach fall camp.

"I'm just so proud of him, the way he's worked since his injury," Gregorak said. "He was a big loss last year."

Kidder had 40 tackles as a sophomore with 3 1/2 sacks. He made three stops in his brief action in 2014, a redshirt year that leaves the defender with two remaining years of eligibility.

That means Kidder will wear No. 37 for two seasons in Missoula. Wagenmann donned the legacy jersey for only one year and – before a two-year stint on the back of linebacker Jordan Tripp in 2012-13 – Ryan Fetherston was also a one-year wearer in 2011.

In the tradition's two-decade history, only those two players have been one-and-done 37s.

"I think it's cool we're getting back to giving it to a guy that's got more than one year, that can represent it for multiple years. That's a great thing," Gregorak said.

The Grizzlies open fall practices the week of Aug. 3.

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