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The few hundred fans that braved the settling smoke Saturday morning to see the Montana football team's second scrimmage may not have noticed No. 48 flying around on the field.

The defensive end got a handful of snaps with the second stringers, made a few tackles and was part of a defensive front that completely obliterated any semblance of a run game.

But all that may have fallen off the radar; No. 48 wasn't even on the roster.

The mystery man is Donald Bedell, a native of Fair Haven, New Jersey, and the final offseason transfer pickup for the Grizzlies. Bedell joined the Griz at the start of fall camp from Rutgers. He is a redshirt freshman.

Since the end of spring ball in April, the Grizzlies brought in receivers Tyler Lucas (Penn State), Keenan Curran (Air Force Prepatory Academy) and Ben Roberts (Washington State, baseball), as well as safety Yamen Sanders (Arizona).

Bedell's interest in UM is not new. In fact, the 6-foot-4, 245-pounder has had his sights set on joining the Grizzlies for years.

As a senior at Rumson-Fair Haven High, the all-area and all-league selection sent the Griz coaches his recruiting tape and highlights. The three-star recruit's persistence didn't gain any traction though.

"But they don't recruit the East Coast," Bedell explained. "It was really hard for me to get their attention."

Defensive coordinator Ty Gregorak remembered Bedell's attempts. It's tough to put much stock in a kid reaching out like that, Gregorak explained, especially from so far away.

"There's a lot of schools in between. Why would he be interested?" Gregorak said.

Well Bedell has family in the area in an uncle who is a Montana graduate, and the defender spent many summers away from the bustle of the city fly fishing out in Big Sky Country. He didn't forget about the Griz, even after committing to FBS Rutgers as part of the Scarlet Knights' recruiting class of 2014.

Bedell's freshman year was one as a redshirt, practicing and watching game day from the sidelines. And he grew restless, fed up with his environment -- both athletically and academically.

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"I didn't like the busyness of living inside a city like that," Bedell said of Rutgers, a school based in New Brunswick, New Jersey, less than an hour outside of New York City. "It was a much bigger school, 45,000 or something. It's huge.

"I just needed to be more happy about where I was. I'm a little more of an outdoorsy guy. (Montana) is about as polar opposite as it gets, but in a good way. This feels a lot like home even though I'm all the way across the country."

Bedell made up his mind in early spring that that semester would be his last as a metropolitan. By late June he'd been in contact with the folks at Montana and he made a visit to the Missoula campus over the Fourth of July weekend.

Bedell committed right then and there, leaving behind a full-ride scholarship to Rutgers to walk on with the Griz.

"He's a Jersey boy who is Montana through and through," Gregorak said. "He loves to hunt and fish. I think it was a fantastic addition."

As a drop-down transfer to the FCS level, Bedell is eligible to play right away this fall. Gregorak said he expects the end to factor in on defense this year, adding depth to a position that is down a few players from last year, most notably Big Sky Conference Defensive MVP Zack Wagenmann.

"I think he's gonna keep working his way into playing time. Down the road, you watch, he's gonna be a player," Gregorak said.

That will benefit the Grizzlies in the future. Both starting DEs are seniors in Tyrone Holmes and Derek Crittenden, so having some young guys like Bedell, Tucker Schye and Nick Metes see more live reps will help acclimate the unit for filling the gaps in 2016.

"Just like the linebackers, these cats have got to get some reps this year because they're it next year," Gregorak said.


NOTES: Jason Lind, a walk-on linebacker from Lutheran High in Orange, California, is no longer part of the Grizzlies football team. Lind (6-0, 235) was a late addition to the UM signing class back in February.

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