Nick Germer

Missoula Sentinel receiver Nick Germer attempts to haul in a pass last season against Kalispell Flathead. Germer committed to play college football for the Montana Grizzlies on Friday.

TOMMY MARTINO, Missoulian

You won't find many recruits with closer ties to the Montana Grizzlies than Nick Germer.

A native of Missoula, Griz football has been his family's livelihood on three separate occasions. Nick's father, Chad Germer, is in his third stay as UM's offensive line coach, most recently since 2015. The junior Germer grew up in Washington-Grizzly Stadium and by Friday's Junior Day recruiting visit, he could have practically given the tours himself.

To put it simply, "I was born a Griz," Nick said.

So his decision to commit to play for the Grizzlies should be of little surprise. The Missoula Sentinel wide receiver accepted a three-fourths scholarship offer Friday as Montana's first verbal commitment of the recruiting class of 2018.

It's not that he was in a hurry, rather he knew exactly what he wanted in his school.

"And I just wanted to get it over with," Germer said Friday before UM's second spring scrimmage, which was attended by about 180 junior high school prospects. "I wanted to get the pressure off and there was no other school I would rather go to, especially at the FCS level."

The Germers returned to Missoula in 2015 after the patriarch's five-year stint on coach Bobby Hauck's staff at UNLV. Chad Germer, who previously coached under Joe Glenn (1998-2000), also led the Griz O-line during Montana's 2009 national runner-up season.

Nick was 9 years old when he accompanied his father to Chattanooga for the championship game against Villanova. Griz football still has the same aura and tradition to this day, he said, all part of what convinced him to join the program.

"Nothing much has really changed," he said. "Well, except maybe a little bit more seating (in Washington-Grizzly Stadium)."

Montana's coaching staff is restricted by NCAA rules from commenting on specific recruits before signing day, which is still 10 months away on Feb. 7, 2018.

Unable to publicly praise his son without committing a recruiting violation, Coach Germer settled for a simple tweet Friday: "Griz Family."

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Nick Germer is more than the son of a coach though. At 6 feet, 2 inches tall and about 175 pounds, he's also one heck of an athlete.

An honorable mention all-state pick as a junior last fall, he caught 42 passes for 745 yards and six touchdowns during Sentinel's 6-5 playoff campaign. He showed his knack for the home run ball on his future homefield last September, too.

His seven receptions amounted to 204 yards in the Spartans' thrilling but disappointing 63-62 overtime loss to Kalispell Glacier at Washington-Grizzly Stadium. That included two touchdowns in less than a minute's time in the third quarter, one a 64-yarder.

"He's got big-play potential and vertical speed," said Sentinel head coach Dane Oliver, himself a former Griz wide out (2000-03). "He's also got a big frame on him; it's hard to coach height and he's got that and speed naturally."

Those touchdown passes against the Wolfpack both came from quarterback Mitch Roberts, a current senior who is part of UM's signing class of 2017. Roberts will also line up at receiver once he joins the Griz.

"Always my favorite target to go to," Roberts said of Germer last season. "... Now we're going to battle for playing time (at WR). We're always pushing each other to get better."

For as good as Germer was in 2016 -- both the Griz and Bobcats had offered him scholarships already -- he's still got a lot of growing to do. He'll be a major piece of the Spartans' offense next fall as a senior, and that's a scary prospect for the rest of Class AA.

"There's another big leap from junior to senior year. I don't think he's even tapped his potential," Oliver said.

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