Bay Port’s Montgomery verbally commits to Iowa
By Greg Bates
SUAMICO – Jayden Montgomery was born in Iowa City, Iowa.
Growing up a Hawkeyes fan was like second nature.
His dad, Jerry, who is the defensive line coach for the Green Bay Packers, is a noted alumnus of the University of Iowa.
So, when the Bay Port football standout visited the Iowa campus in early June and received an offer for an athletic scholarship, it didn’t take Montgomery long to decide where he would play his college ball.
The day after the offer, June 8, Montgomery made his verbal commitment official.
“Ever since we moved out of Iowa – even when we were in Oklahoma – we’d always come up to one or two Iowa games a year,” Montgomery, a senior, said. “No matter where we were, Iowa was always the team on Saturday I was going to watch and cheer for. When I got the offer, it was a no-brainer.”
Bay Port football coach Gary Westerman believes Montgomery made a sound decision picking Iowa.
“I think it’s great,” Westerman said. “First and foremost, he’s a great kid, so you love that about it. I think it’s a great fit the way they develop athletes and his blue-collar mindset as a human.”
Jerry, who has been a college and NFL coach at several stops over the last 20 years, said he’s excited his son will play at his alma mater.
“It’s hard to put into words, but he loves it there,” he said. “It’s a special place for him. He knows what the Iowa football program can do for anybody who goes through the program. He knows it’s the right place for me.”
Montgomery, who’s an inside linebacker, has been a three-year starter at Bay Port.
He’s played in 29 games during his career and racked up 176 tackles, 24 for loss.
He also has six sacks, three interceptions and three forced fumbles.
In four games this past alternate fall season during the spring, Montgomery had 51 tackles (10 for loss) and two sacks.
Busy recruiting process
Montgomery went to a camp at Iowa two summers ago and impressed the Hawkeyes’ coach staff.
He recalls putting up good numbers and his movement skills were solid.
At 5-foot-11, 215 pounds, Montgomery is a thick specimen.
“The only thing holding them back as far as an offering was my height,” Montgomery said. “I continued to work knowing that was the issue, which I can’t do much about. I worked to get better and stronger. My film from these past years is ultimately what led to this offer.”
Before he visited Iowa, Montgomery received offers from Northern Iowa, Princeton, Indiana State, Pennsylvania, North Dakota State, Illinois State and Troy.
When Montgomery visited Iowa, he said it further enhanced his desire to play in front of the Hawkeye faithful.
“That’s a place I’m going to be for four years – that’s my home,” Montgomery said. “We got to see all the facilities, the weight room, the locker room and the stadium. All those things are top-notch – some of the best in the country. That was awesome to see. On the academic side of things, there’s lots of support for everyone at the university. That was reassuring that this is an amazing place. After seeing everything, I was like, ‘Yeah, this is the place. This is where I want to be.’”
Montgomery said he’s grateful his dad was by his side during the recruiting process to make it go as smoothly as possible.
He was able to get his dad’s input and be ahead of the game.
“I don’t know if lots of people know this, but he was one of the best recruiters in the country when he was in college,” Montgomery said. “He would tell me something a college would do, and they’d do it in the next week. His knowledge about the process helped me in everything recruiting.”
Preparing for the Big Ten
So, what does Montgomery offer the Iowa football program?
“A great, hard-working teammate, who plays hard and physical,” Westerman said. “He can probably play lots of positions, and he’s smart. His football IQ is off the charts.”
Montgomery also believes he will fit in at Iowa.
“I’m a guy who’s always going to work hard and push my teammates to be the best version of themselves,” Montgomery said. “They’re going to get a hard-nosed football player who’s going to work hard, try to outwork everybody and make others around me great.”
When Montgomery was talking with the Iowa coaching staff before committing, he was told he’d have a shot to work his way up the depth chart by getting repetitions on special teams.
Last season, Montgomery played plenty of special teams for Bay Port, starting on kickoff, kick return, punt, punt block and point after attempt block.
Montgomery, who will join 2018 Bay Port graduate Jack Plumb at Iowa, said he wasn’t given any indication if he’d have a shot to play as a true freshman or if he would be redshirted.
“I’m more of a proponent for kids to redshirt when they have the ability to,” Westerman said. “You’re going to be a much better football player when you’re 22 years old instead of 18, so I don’t know what their plan is. I think the player should have the opportunity to do that.”
Now that Montgomery has committed to Iowa, it closes the book on his recruiting.
He can concentrate on his senior season at Bay Port and be a team leader.
“I enjoyed the recruiting process, but I’m glad it’s over,” Montgomery said. “I’m glad I found my home. I’m looking forward to what comes next in getting (to Iowa) next year.”