By COLTER NUANEZ
The first step toward Tanner Roderick’s presumed return to the Treasure State became a reality on Friday morning.
Roderick, a former Bozeman High School standout who put together one of the best prep careers in Montana history, was released from his football scholarship at the University of Nevada.
Roderick confirmed the release via text message to Bobcat Beat. He declined to comment on his future plans, but did say he would grant Bobcat Beat an interview next week after he sorts out his future.
There has been widespread speculation of Roderick’s transfer before the confirmation came of his release. Multiple sources close to the situation have confirmed Montana State and Montana have been in touch with the 2010 Bozeman graduate.
Friday evening, the Missoulian's Fritz Neighbor reported Roderick was spotted in UM head coach Mick Delaney's office on the Montana campus. Delaney, who will enter his second season leading the Griz after a tumultuous offseason last winter, is not allowed to comment on potential recruits.
Roderick just completed his second season in Reno. If he transferred to the FCS, he would have three years of eligibility remaining and would be able to play right away.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound quarterback set the Treasure State on fire during his senior year as a Hawk. He was the state Gatorade Player of the Year in football and basketball, marking just the third time a Montana athlete claimed the prestigious award in two sports. Former Bozeman High standouts Shane Collins (football, basketball, 1986-87) and Kirsten Tilleman (soccer, basketball (2006-07) captured multiple awards.
In football, Roderick led Bozeman to its first state title since 1917 and just the second in school history. He led Class AA in passing and rushing, throwing for 2,457 yards and 28 touchdowns and rushing for 1,913 yards and 23 touchdowns. Both were school records. Roderick rushed for 185 yards and a touchdown in Bozeman’s 28-7 win in the 2010 Class AA state title game to cap a 13-0 season.
In basketball, Roderick was equally as dominant. He led the Hawks to a 22-1 record, capped by a 26-point effort in Bozeman’s 61-53 state championship game victory over Billings West. Roderick averaged 19 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.5 steals as a senior.
"He's a dominant factor on the court. He's a good perimeter shooter and penetrator, and he's a very good defender. If he hadn't committed to play football in college, he probably would've gone Division I for basketball. He's that good,” longtime West head coach Doug Robison said in a press release about Roderick’s Gatorade Player of the Year award.
Roderick has ties to both Treasure State Division I programs. His father, Steve, played at Montana State in the late 1970s while Mick Delaney was an MSU assistant. The owner of the Ridge Athletic Club in Bozeman is also a lifetime member of the “M Club” at MSU.
Aside from his familiarity to Delaney, Roderick’s former school-mate Brock Coyle is Montana’s starting middle linebacker.
Roderick’s Montana State ties stretch beyond family. His close friend Heath Hunter is a redshirt freshman linebacker/defensive lineman for the Bobcats. Manny Kalfell, a redshirt freshman wide receiver, like Hunter, was part of the 2010 Bozeman state title team.
Roderick was one of six quarterbacks on the Wolfpack roster last fall. As a sophomore, Cody Fajardo completed 67 percent of his passes for 2,786 yards and 20 touchdowns and rushed for 1,121 yards and 12 more touchdowns in earning All-Mountain West honors. The 2011 Mountain West Newcomer of the Year will enter his third season as a starter in 2013. Sophomore Devin Combs (6-2, 215) played in five games last season. Tyler Stewart (6-4, 215), Jacob Hollister (6-3, 215) and Hasaan Henderson (6-5, 215) were all true freshmen in 2012 for Nevada.
Roderick never took a snap as a member of the Wolfpack.
Roderick initially chose Nevada over Montana State, Montana and Washington State because of head coach Chris Ault’s famed pistol offense, an attack Roderick became familiar with in high school. After 36 seasons and 223 wins as the head coach in Reno, Ault retired late last month.
Colter Nuanez can be reached at BobcatBeat56@gmail.com or followed on Twitter @Bobcat_Beat. Photo courtesy of Nevada athletics.