The long wait is over for Blaine’s Caleb Statham. After watching rival Northwest conference stars Blair Bomber and Ryan Seto of Lynden sign their letters of intent at a press conference on recruit signing day, the Borderite tailback ended weeks of speculation by deciding on March 2 to play football for the University of Montana next year.
“It was a tough decision,” Statham told www.Rivals.com, “and one that was made after a lot of prayer and consideration. I discussed it with my parents and some of the mentors in my life and I’m confident that this is where I’m supposed to be.”
Statham’s decision-making was muddied by coaching changes across the country that set in motion a domino effect of recruits changing their selections.
In the high-stakes game of college football, recruiting has become a chess game of second-guessing among scouts and coaches across the country. Besides Montana, Washington State, Nevada-Las Vegas, Portland State, Eastern Kentucky, Pacific Lutheran and Simon Fraser courted Statham.
“Caleb has a great personality,” noted Blaine head football coach Jay Dodd, “it’s the kind of person he is. He was a real hard worker. This year he gave us the ability to score on any one play. He has the ability to make game-changing plays.”
The Grizzlies were enticing to the speedy Statham because they are a perennial football powerhouse in the NCAA football championship subdivision, (formerly division 1-AA). Montana was 14-1 this year, bowing to Valdosta State in the national championship game.
The Grizzlies ranked seventh in the nation in scoring and were ninth in total offense. Statham was a unanimous all-NWC selection and led the Borderites into the state playoffs this year, compiling 1488 yards, 21 touchdowns, and averaging over eight yards a carry.
Playing on what may have been the best Blaine team since the 1978 championship season, he rushed for over 100 yards in nine games this season, including 178 yards and a 99 yard TD in one half against state champion Lynden. Statham looks forward to playing in Montana’s prolific spread offense.
“I had watched game films of Montana. They’re a good fit for me. They have a balanced offense and I will be able to get the ball in space which I like to do.”
Statham will be redshirted next year for the Grizzlies but will next be on the gridiron again in June, when he appears in the East/West all-star game in Yakima.
Fans wanting tickets for that game can call the Statham family at 366-0488.