Jerry Louie-McGee has always been soft spoken, preferring to let his exploits on the football field do his talking for him.
Growing up in Plummer, playing youth football.
Then at Lake City High.
And it has continued during his record-breaking career at the University of Montana.
Last Saturday night, in a game at Oregon, the fifth-year senior became the Grizzlies’ career leader in receptions. His third reception of the night gave him the record, breaking the previous mark of 192 set by Raul Pacheco, who played for Montana from 1995-98.
“It’s pretty cool, coming here as a walkon, getting my shot and just hoping I’d get some snaps, or be able to help the team the best I can,” Louie-McGee said Monday, during a news conference in Missoula featuring him and Griz coach Bobby Hauck. “Living in Coeur d’Alene, you know about this place, the standards and what it holds. It was pretty tough catching all those bubbles those first two years, but I’m pretty blessed, and I’m honored to have my name up there.”
LOUIE-McGEE, who is all of 5-foot-9, 171 pounds, caught 123 passes in his first two seasons in Missoula, including 73 as a redshirt freshman. Many of those receptions came on bubble screens — quick passes to the side, giving Louie-McGee the chance to make a man miss and break a big gainer.
When Bobby Hauck took over in 2018, the offense changed. The Griz were no longer going to throw 10 bubble screens a game, he said.
Still, Louie-McGee caught 42 passes as a junior to move into position to challenge the all-time receptions record.
“He’s exciting to watch play,” Hauck said. “What you all (media) don’t see is how hard he works, in the weight room and on the practice field.
The thing I’ve probably appreciated the most about him is how much he’s improved his practice habits, and how much he’s improved his game, in terms of the broad sense. It’s not just punt returning, catching the bubble screen. He’s become a way more complete football player. He’s bigger and stronger — I think he’s faster. Just the work that he’s put in has made him an even better player.”
Jerry on not catching as many bubble screens:
“I’m here to do what I can for the team, and put us in the best situation to win, and wherever the coaches want from me, I’ll do the best I can,” he said. “It’s pretty cool, but I’m just doing what I can.”
LOUIE-McGEE finished with six receptions for 66 yards against the 15th-ranked Ducks in a 35-3 loss in Eugene, Ore. He now has 196 career receptions.
Not bad for a former walkon. But then, he’s never backed down from a challenge before.
“I think what we learned is, no matter who we’re playing, we’re going to come out and do our best,” Louie-McGee said. “We’re going to come out and play Montana football.”
Mark Nelke is sports editor of The Press. He can be reached at 664-8176, Ext. 2019, or via email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter@CdAPressSports.