Olson on top-defender watch list
Former Cascade Christian High football standout Dante Olson continues to stand out for the University of Montana.
The junior linebacker leads NCAA Division I in tackling and this week was added to the STATS FCS Buck Buchanan Award watch list, the prize given each year to the top defender.
In seven games, Olson has 106 tackles, including a 24-tackle game against Cal Poly and six games in which he’s tallied double-digit tackles.
With an average of 15.1 per game, he leads the Big Sky Conference by a wide margin in total tackles and currently has more tackles than any player in FCS or FBS football.
“We’re happy for Dante,” said Grizzlies coach Bobby Hauck. “He’s had a terrific season so far, and I think this recognition is well deserved. If he continues to play like he has, I think he might be able to win the award. It’s also a good thing for our whole team when one of us gets recognized on the national level.”
Olson needs just 25 tackles over the next four regular-season games to break the school single-season record of 130 set by linebacker Kendrick Van Ackeren in 2015. He’s also 71 tackles shy of breaking JC Sherritt’s Big Sky Conference record of 176 tackles in a season.
Olson’s 24 tackles against Cal Poly and his 19 stops against Portland State rank among the 10 best single-game performances in UM history, with 24 being the second most any Grizzly has ever tallied.
Olson was named the ROOT Sports Big Sky player of the week three times in the first month of the season and was named the STATS FCS national player of the week following a game against Drake in which he posted 16 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, a forced fumble and a pass breakup.
Only two Montana players have won the Buchanan award. One was former Eagle Point standout Tyrone Holmes in 2015.