The fact that Taylor Sheridan came back to Montana to continue his football career by playing Division I football as a captain was probably not a surprise to those who knew him. After all, the Littleton, Colorado product had actually spent most of his childhood in Montana, living in Missoula until 7th grade, and spending his freshman year of high school at Bozeman.
What may have come as a surprise was the Montana school he chose.
“My whole family and I were Grizzly fans – which is funny to this day.”
After earning all-league honors at Rock Canyon High School, Sheridan got looks and interest from Colorado, Colorado State,l and a host of Division II schools in Colorado. But it was the Bobcats’ interest from the start, coupled with a desire to play Division I football, that put Sheridan on the path to his former childhood rivals.
“They offered me from day one. These guys were honest from day one in how much they wanted me. It was huge for me to come back and just be two hours from so much family.”
His family was happy to follow suit.
“It’s cool to see how much my family has converted from Grizzly to Bobcat fans. My grandparents were awesome, they were season ticket holders for the Griz forever, but as soon as I signed here my grandpa traded everything in and started wearing blue and gold.”
After redshirting his freshman year, Sheridan saw plenty of playing time both on defense and on special teams. Originally slated to play defensive end, Sheridan moved inside to defensive tackle when the need arose, and hasn’t left the position since.
“I moved down into defensive tackle because we had so many injuries. I was behind Zach Minter and Taylor Dees, and then Minter got hurt my redshirt freshman year and then I started playing. When I got here I thought I was going to be a defensive end, but I actually like the way it turned out.”
The move paid off for Sheridan, who played defense and special teams in nearly every game his first two years. Sheridan became the team’s permanent starter at defensive tackle in 2014, and played an important role in getting that team to last year’s playoffs. In 2015, Sheridan was the team’s only returning starter. For a defense that this year has utilized so many freshman and sophomores, the senior Sheridan found himself in a leadership role.
“For the most part I try to lead by example. The biggest thing I try to show everyone is how much fun football is supposed to be. We take it as serious as possible but at times I love to show the guys that you’re better when you have fun.”
When asked about his role models, Sheridan was quick to give credit to his family and friends.
“Definitely my parents just in the way that worked and I support I always had from them. A huge role model I’ve had is my older brother Trevor. He turned into my best friend, which no one had expected when we were growing up. My friend Kyle, he and his family were unreal. His mom and dad, we called them “Papa and Mama Hawk”, they were everything to me. All those guys kept me on the straight and narrow. They led me down the right path.”
As Sheridan prepares to play his final game for the Bobcats against the Grizzlies, he’ll be sure to makeT his guys ready and motivated.
“I think if I was addressing the team from the start I would definitely tell them the conference championship definitely means more. But when it becomes Cat-Griz week I’d tell them I was lying, because Cat-Griz is huge!”
Even though Sheridan’s career at Montana State will end following Cat-Griz, he still has an eye on what this game would mean for the Bobcat’s future seasons.
“When we beat the Griz, it gives everyone that good taste of the season. The momentum and positivity carries over for these guhen they work out over the summer and into next season, it’s huge, we definitely have to win it.”