After 3 days and 256 picks, University of Montana Linebacker Brock Coyle was still without a team. However, the Former Griz captain was quickly signed to a free agent contract with the Seattle Seahawks. Coyle was one of five former UM football players to make it to the NFL in 2014, Keeping that program’s NFL legacy alive.
The University of Montana has a storied winning tradition and is a national title contender year in and year out. They are one of the most dominant teams in the FCS of the last decade winning multiple and consecutive Big Sky Conference titles. The Griz’s most recent National Title game was a loss to Villanova in 2009. A big piece of the football tradition at UM is putting their stars at the FCS level into the National Football League. The reason Montana stands out when putting talent into the NFL is because they play at a lower level and with that they tend to be overlooked as not being great players compared to the big name players who you watch dominant their opposition on ESPN. The University of Montana currently has 13 former players in the NFL. A notably former Griz is WR Marc Mariani, who was drafted in the 7th round in 2010 by the Titans and wound up being a Pro Bowl returner as a rookie. Before the 2014 NFL draft, the most recent draft pick for the program was All-American cornerback Trumaine Johnson, who was drafted in the 3rd and winning far greater than that of in state Rival Montana State in Bozeman, Coyle felt like it was be the opportunity of a lifetime stating “When you walk onto campus for camp you are held to a very high standard in all phases of life” and that “You are EXPECTED to uphold the Tradition of a Montana Grizzly”.
Brock Coyle walked onto campus in Missoula in 2009 and was fortunate enough catch the attention of the coaching staff, so much that the coaches decided not to use a Red Shirt on Brock. Coyle saw mainly special teams and situational snaps as a true freshman while playing behind a future NFL draft pick in Caleb McSurdy. Coyle finished his freshman campaign with 30 total tackles. Going into the 2010 season, Brock was expected to have a larger role within the defense until a shoulder injury sidelined him for the season and having to use a red shirt. Brock faced his first battle with adversity in his journey to become the best. The 2011 season offered Brock the chance to step back on the turf at Washington Grizzly Stadium after missing the entire season before… and he didn’t disappoint. Coyle saw more time within certain schemes and had similar stats to his freshman season with 31 tackles, 1.5 sacks and an interception. Going into his junior season, it was his job. Brock started all 11 games and finally was able to display his athleticism and versatility to the country, having a standout season leading the Grizzly defense with 107 tackles. He also had 2 sacks, 2 force fumbles and a fumble recovery.
In 2013, Brock was a man amongst boys. This was his last chance at helping to lead the Griz back to the playoffs and a National Championship, something that the team last played in 2009. Brock had one of the best seasons in Montana’s program. He was voted to the Big Sky Conference’s 2nd round by the St. Louis Rams in 2012. With the tradition of the NFL defense and was received defensive player of the week after showing off his vertical and athleticism to nab the game clinching interception in overtime against Cal Poly. Coyle would finish the leading the team in tackles for a second year in a row with 125 tackles. He also showed off his ability to rush the passer from the linebacker position finishing with 13.5 sacks.
Brock was selected to participate in the NFLPA Bowl in California after the season. Despite being one of few FCS players invited, Coyle states “I was solely focus on what I could control, and that was playing the game the only way I knew how”. After a solid performance in the bowl game, Brock knew it was time to face a bigger challenge… the NFL. Brock traveled to Orlando Florida to train with workout guru Tom Shaw at the ESPN wide world of sports complex. Some of the other notable players that joined Brock in Florida were future 1st Khalil Mack and Deone Buchannon. During the two months he spent in Florida, Coyle worked on his 40, agility test and some of the other tests that would be present when it was time for his Pro Day.
“ I was very fortunate to train with the guys and the staff that I did, Tom Shaw is a first class man and run a first class Facility”.
Draft day was one of the craziest days in Coyle’s life. “The whole Process was crazy” said Coyle. “You hear a lot of hearsay but never know what is going to happen”. Well unfortunately, Coyle saw 256 players be selected in front of him… Coyle went undrafted. Coyle said immediately after the draft that his phone was going off the hook. “ I would be the phone with one team and next thing you know another team would be calling”. Coyle ultimately chose to go to the defending Super Bowl champions in Seattle. Coyle’s dream finally became reality. “They’re just obviously an amazing defense. They play very hard, and I really like their linebacker coach, Ken Norton Jr. When I was on my visit there, I really liked Ken, their defensive coordinator, their GM — everybody. They really took the time to talk to me when I was there”. Coyle said that the Seahawks are getting the same ole Brock. “I’m the type of player that plays 110% every snap and with a lot of passion. I’m going to do everything within my control to help make his team better”.
“I’m extremely blessed to have the opportunity to see my dream become reality and to be a Seattle Seahawk”. From the Rocky Mountains in Bozeman, Montana to Seattle, Washington, Brock’s Draft journey was one of up and downs but he stats that he wouldn’t have it any other way”.
Brock Coyle’s draft journey was brought to our readers by owner of NFL Draft Nation Josh Zimmer. Zimmer is a guest writer here at NFL Draft Diamonds and if you would like to follow him on twitter feel free to do so here @Zim_draftnation