Griz Add Oregon State Transfer to Defense - News, Sports and Weather

Griz Add Oregon State Transfer to Defense

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The Montana Grizzlies 2016 recruiting class just got stronger, but this time strength and conditioning coach Matt Nicholson wasn’t responsible.

Coach Stitt has added Oregon State transfer safety Justin Strong to his incoming class of 2016, bringing the total number of incoming student-athletes for fall camp to 32.

Strong, a 5-11, 198 pound sophomore, arrived at Oregon State in 2013 as a three-star recruit out of Summit High School in Rialto, Calif., where he finished his career ranked as the No. 56 safety in the country by Scout, the prep recruiting website. He will join Yamen Sanders (Arizona) and Markell Sanders (Washington State) as the third player with Pac-12 experience in Montana’s defensive secondary.

“We love his physicality. That’s the thing that jumps out on tape,” said Montana defensive coordinator Jason Semore. “He’s not the biggest guy in the world, but you can see, watching his Pac-12 tape, that he’s a really explosive athlete. I think he fits in to our scheme and what we’re going to ask him to do in this league very well. I think at the end of the day that’s what drew Justin to the Montana program is how he fits our defensive scheme.”

Strong is listed as one of Oregon State’s breakout players as a redshirt freshman in 2014, playing at nickel safety in all 12 of the Beaver’s games, and getting starts in three games. He recorded 56 tackles that season, including five tackles-for-loss, a sack and three pass breakups. He also forced a fumble on a quarterback sack against Utah, and tallied 10 tackles in back-to-back games against California and Washington State, as well as forcing 1.5 tackles-for-loss against Utah and Washington State.

In 2015, Strong played and started in eight games, registering 54 tackles, 35 of which were unassisted, including a 10-tackle performance at Washington State. He also posted a quarterback hit against San Jose State.

Strong’s brother Victor Butler played defensive end at Oregon State before being selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL Draft.

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