Senior Standing at Cat/Griz

Rory Perez 

Rory Perez chose MSU because he wanted a change from his home state of California. “I came to Montana State because the program and players made you feel like a part of the family already. I also wanted to get out of California and experience something totally different.”

The Moreno Valley, Calif. native is grateful for the support Bozeman and Montana show the Bobcats. “I have enjoyed creating so many friendships and memories that I gained through the football program that I will cherish for a lifetime.”

Looking toward the final Cat/Griz matchup of his college career, Perez said, “I want to go out with a bang, challenge the Griz and end my career as 3-1 against them.”

Perez, the son of Robert and Kay Perez, says his future plans include returning to California to attend graduate school and pursuing a job in finance or banking.

He would like to make the most of his time in Bozeman before graduation and leaving Montana. “I want to try to experience the Montana outdoors, and try to do as much as I can before I leave.”

Cody Kirk 

A football scholarship and family legacy may have brought Brad Daly to Montana State, but he has carved his own legacy while on the football team. He made second team All-Big Sky the last two years, and is a team captain this season.

The Helena, Mont. native and son of J. and Sue Daly, said his favorite part of Bobcat football has been creating relationships with his teammates.

The business management major plans on finishing his degree and focusing on the future in his remaining time at Montana State. After graduation, Daly said he will “pursue work in the oil field at a management level.”

Regarding the Cat/Griz matchup, Daly plans to “absorb as much of the moment as I possibly can.”

Shawn Gords

Football might have brought Sean Gords from Torrance, Calif. to Bozeman, but he has embraced the Montana culture in his time here. He plans to see the Montana outdoors once football is over. “I want to go snowboarding and enjoy things I couldn’t do during football. I’ve never hiked the M, so I’ll do that.”

Gords, the son of Trishonn Whiting and Montres Gords, enjoys the culture that is at Montana State. “I like that we’re a winning team, the culture and that the community is good to us. The school is good academic wise.”

After graduation in the fall, Gords plans to follow his goals. “I would like to pursue my dream of playing in the NFL. If not, I’ll see what I can do with my degree in marketing, either in sports or fashion marketing,” he said.

Gords says he is not treating the Cat/Griz game any differently than other games. “I’m preparing for it like I prepare for every game. I’m watching lots of film, practicing hard, working on my technique, and listening to what my coaches have to say.”

Tanner Bleskin 

Tanner Bleskin is one of the best receivers in Bobcat history and he is ready to take on the rival Grizzlies on Saturday. “I’m preparing like it’s the last football game of my life. I will leave it all on the field and enjoy every second of the game, giving it everything I have.”

Bleskin, a Great Falls, Mont. native, and the son of Dan and Peggy Bleskin, said he came to MSU to get a degree and play football, but has “loved being a part of the Bobcat brotherhood on and off the field” in his time here.

The microbiology, medical laboratory science option major says, “I will graduate in the spring, and I’m not sure what my future holds. Something will come my way.”

Regarding his plans for the rest of his time at MSU, Bleskin said, “I am looking forward to having a semester without winter conditioning and focusing on what I want to do for the rest of my life.”

DeNarius McGhee 

DeNarius McGhee is frequently compared to current NFL quarterback Russell Wilson and he is on the list with many other football greats. McGhee surpassed the 10,000 yards passing, 1,000 yards rushing mark for his career earlier this season, and has joined the ranks of well-known quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III, Steve McNair and MSU great Travis Lulay who also have achieved this milestone.

The business marketing major and native of McComb, Miss. said he will continue playing football in the NFL or Canadian Football League “if the opportunity presents itself.” However, he would like to use his business degree to do consulting work for offshore oil plants. Later on, he would also like to work in a sports setting as an athletic director.

McGhee will be in MSU’s history books as one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play for the Bobcats and a win against the Grizzlies on Saturday would cement the legacy.

Andy Austin 

Austin was born in Anchorage, Alaska, but was raised in Billings, Mont. He left Billings to begin his college career here in Bozeman because of the “strong academics. I really like the philosophy of the football program that it is more than just football,” he said. Austin has connected with not only his teammates, but also with the Bozeman community over the years.

Austin shows incredible dedication and talent in the MSU community, but he is also a major advocate for his family’s non-profit, “Wheels for Change.” He plans to travel to Africa for the organization in January.

Austin shared that he and his team have been practicing hard on the fields in preparation for the upcoming Cat/Griz game. Austin added, “It’s in the back of my mind for sure that this is my last Cat/Griz as a player and that’s something special that not a lot of people get to experience.”

Jon Ellis

Jon Ellis is from Mansfield, Texas, and is the son of Adrianna and Jonathan P. Ellis Sr. Montana State seemed to be the perfect fit for Ellis as his father encouraged him to go out of state to pursue his undergraduate degree. Looking back now, Ellis says he has enjoyed playing football for the Bobcats as well as “going to battle every game with my teammates.”

Come graduation time, Ellis will leave MSU with a degree in sociology. Ellis realizes the caliber of the Cat/Griz showdown, but plans to prepare for it as he would for any other game.

Craig Ashworth

Craig Ashworth was born in Florence, Mont. and is son to Dave Ashworth and Colleen Doolittle. “I was heavily recruited by Carroll College out of High School. MSU wanted me to walk on and I decided that I didn’t want to look back on life and pass up the opportunity to play for a division one program. So I took a chance to walk on and its been the best decision I have ever made,” said Ashworth.

His post-graduation plans are to find a position as a graduate assistant and coach. He also plans to be married in July. Ashworth shares he has enjoyed playing with the team for the last five years. Ashworth says the team plans to approach Cat/Griz like any other game in order to not get too caught up in the event’s hype.

Even though Ashworth started as a walk-on, he eventually became a two-year starter on the defensive line. From this experience, he says “overall I am just very humble and grateful to have the opportunity to be a Bobcat.”

Preston Gale 

Preston Gale is from Forney, Texas. Dave and Vicki Gale are the parents of this senior, who knew he would be part of a winning program coming to Montana State. He adds it didn’t hurt that Montana also provides a beautiful backdrop in which to train and play.

Some things he has listed as being favorable aspects of his career are his “awesome teammates, winning championships, road trips, laughing during D-line meetings and the awesome fans.”

Looking forward, Gale plans to move to Missoula upon graduation to work and train. He looks forward to competing the last few times with his team and then being relieved of the stresses of school. He shares that he and his team have been practicing hard, watching film and staying focused to prepare for this weekend at Cat/Griz.

Steven Bethley

Bethley is a business major from Chino, Calif., and is a defensive back for the Bobcats. His accomplishments on the team have accumulated each season, making him a key player now in his senior year.

He began as a freshman playing only on special teams. Now, the 2013 season has deemed him a preseason All-Big Sky candidate and a starter for free safety. His talent and strength on the field are valuable components to the Bobcat’s performance and will play a big part in the Cat/Griz game come Saturday.