BILLINGS — Montana’s Dante Olson and Montana State’s Troy Andersen were both selected to the STATS FCS preseason first-team All-America squad on Tuesday.
Olson and Andersen were two of six Big Sky Conference players chosen to the first team. Seven other Big Sky players were selected for All-America recognition by STATS, including MSU left tackle Mitch Brott and Bobcats defensive lineman Bryce Sterk, who both made the third team.
Montana’s Olson, a senior linebacker, is coming off a 2018 season in which he was named to seven postseason All-America lists and was one of three finalists for the Buck Buchanan Award given to the top defensive player in the FCS.
Olson, of Medford, Oregon, finished last season with a school-record 151 tackles and led the nation with an average of 13.7 tackles per game. He had 11 tackles for loss, six sacks, three forced fumbles and two interceptions in 11 games.
Olson was also the only FCS player named to the Butkus Award watch list for 2019. He is the only Griz player named to the STATS preseason teams.
Montana State’s Andersen was named to the first team at the “athlete” position. As a sophomore quarterback last season, the Dillon product rushed for 1,412 yards in 13 games — a Big Sky record for a QB — and a school-record 21 rushing touchdowns.
Andersen was a unanimous first-team all-conference selection and was a third-team STATS All-America choice after the 2018 season. Andersen’s role is expected to be fluid in 2019, and he will presumably line up primarily at outside linebacker while still playing at times on offense.
He was recently picked to the preseason All-Big Sky team as a fullback.
Brott, a product of Billings West High School, is beginning his fourth season as a starter on the offensive line for the Bobcats. Sterk, a senior and a former player at the University of Washington, ranked second in the Big Sky last season with 8.5 sacks and 17 tackles for loss.
The other Big Sky players named to the STATS first team are UC Davis senior quarterback Jake Maier, Portland State senior tight end Charlie Taumoepeau, Idaho senior offensive lineman Noah Johnson and Southern Utah senior offensive lineman Zach Larsen.
Second-team players are Weber State sophomore running back Josh Davis, Eastern Washington senior offensive lineman Spencer Blackburn, Idaho junior punter Cade Coffey and Weber State junior kick returner Rashid Shaheed.
The other Big Sky Conference player named to the third team is Weber State junior offensive lineman Ty Whitworth.