MISSOULA -- The Montana football program lost 16 seniors to graduation after last season. Two of those losses were key pieces on the offensive line in guard Angel Villanueva and center Cy Sirmon.
On Monday, the Grizzlies made a big step toward filling that gap.
Former Nebraska Cornhusker AJ Forbes announced via Twitter that he would be ending his short stint in the transfer portal by heading to Missoula to play for the Grizzlies. Forbes was in the transfer portal for 12 days.
This process has been more stressful than I could have imagined, but I’m very grateful. Thank you to all the coaches across the country that decided to take a chance on this Walk-On from Bellevue, NE.
I’m thankful to continue this journey at...
THE UNIVERSITY OF MONTANA 🐻 pic.twitter.com/8kRFgetQFc
— AJ Forbes (@__AREA52) May 19, 2020
"My phone was blowing up constantly," said Forbes. "I was on the phone for these past 10 days, or however long I was in the portal, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m."
"Coach (Chad) Germer called, he said, 'Hey, I'm going to be going into a staff meeting here soon, just wanted to get some background on you real quick.' About 30 minutes later, he calls me back and says, 'Hey, we're going to offer you a scholarship,' and I was floored," said Forbes.
Forbes grew up in Nebraska, but the University of Montana isn't a completely foreign place to him.
"I knew about Montana, I knew that they had been perennially good in FCS," said Forbes. "I was really excited when Montana called and they offered, and they're ultimately the decision that I made and I'm really excited about it."
The redshirt sophomore will have three years of eligibility left and will be able to play in the 2020 season due to dropping down from the FBS level.
He's aiming for a starting spot and, while he knows four offensive linemen left, he says it's still a deep group.
"I think I'm coming into a great situation," said Forbes. "I have guys around me that have a lot of experience and I can come in and I can just try to make it better."
Not only is the new addition getting to know the team but the fans as well. With Twitter and social media growing in popularity each year, it's not rare to see NFL stars compliment Washington-Grizzly Stadium, so naturally that's the pull.
However, Forbes says he's been impressed with how the fans have embraced him in such a short time.
"I probably got 30 new followers on Twitter, just Montana fans and Montana fan pages and stuff like that," said Forbes. "The people of Montana have really extended their arms to me and taken me in. I know once I put that helmet on, once I strap it up for the first time, it's going to be a good time. I'm excited."