Subscribe for 17¢ / day

Casual fans may be surprised when they see "4.42" next to Shann Schillinger's name, though it's unlikely everyone at last week's pro day at the University of Montana wrote down that number.

"The thing about the 40," says Schillinger, the Grizzlies' former starting free safety, "is I think every scout writes down his own time.

"What people don't realize is it was a 40-degree day we were running in. I think we all ran good times."

Whatever his time over 40 yards - 4.42, 4.50 - was, it's hard to say it helped Schillinger's stock as the NFL draft approaches. Really, it's just a number.

It doesn't alter his game-changing interception of Armanti Edwards in Montana's 24-17 win over Appalachian State last December. Does it matter more than Schillinger chasing down Demetrius Crawford in 2008, when the Griz went "Old School" in copper uniforms and thumped the Cats?

I'd like to think not.

Whatever happens, whether he goes in the sixth or seventh round on April 24 or is offered a free agent tryout, the Baker product has done all that can be expected of him in five years on the UM campus. Probably more.

"I can't believe how fast it goes by," Schillinger says, echoing countless athletes before him. If his words aren't original, his career is. He played in 56 games and started his last 31 for the Griz, who in that span went 50-6 and 29-2.

Certain early evenings at UM stand out.

"The Montana State game, with the throwbacks," Schillinger says. "The James Madison game (in the 2008 FCS semifinals). To go down and win in that environment was special. And the Appalachian State game.

"With the guys we had, and the coaches, that was a great run. It's sad to have it be over, but they say every good thing must come to an end."

Schillinger is taking six credits this semester, worked in around training. He, Marc Mariani and Shawn Lebsock were running the stadium steps while the Griz went through spring drills Tuesday. Two Mondays ago he benched 185 pounds 21 times for NFL scouts, who measured his vertical leap at 37 inches.

He's done all he can, but to make sure he takes counsel from roommate Brandon Fisher, his Griz teammate who is heading to the NFL himself - as an assistant.

"He's done everything from prepare me for pro day to tell me what to expect from the scouts," said Schillinger of Fisher. "I owe a lot to what he's done. And he's already been offered a couple jobs in the NFL. He's a hot commodity."

You'd like to think the same of Schillinger, one of just three Big Sky Conference players who were invited to a postseason all-star game. He says he's preparing for the worst so his expectations don't get too high.

It's that "Old School" game that showcases his attitude and ability the best. It's Nov. 22, 2008, and MSU's Demetrius Crawford runs 84 yards on the Cats' second snap. It would've been a TD had Schillinger not chased him down, beat a lead blocker and popped the ball loose.

Officials missed the fumble; soon, it was academic.

"Had we got that fumble - that would've been nice," Schillinger says. "But we had a goal-line stand to really set the tone for the game.

"The way it worked out was probably better."

Fritz Neighbor can be

reached at 523-5247 or at


You must be logged in to react.
Click any reaction to login.