Tevin Montgomery talks finalists, surgery

Tevin Montgomery's final trio of schools have plenty in common. Boston College, Vanderbilt and Virginia are all considered fine academic institutions with solid, up-and-coming football programs.

“That's the reason why those three schools are in my top three,” the defensive tackle from Marion (Mass.) Tabor said.

Montgomery has grown to know all three schools well. He said he has a good relationship with each coaching staff. He also visit Vanderbilt and Virginia's campus in August and has been to nearby Boston College numerous times.

The Golden Eagles have proximity on their side. Not only does Montgomery live close to Boston College's campus, he also grew up in Boston before moving to West Virginia then Texas. Montgomery moved back to Massachusetts last year thinking basketball would be his future. Then, some football coaches saw that the 6-foot-4, 295-pound prospect could move, well, like a basketball player.

“After going through that one season, I really enjoyed it,” Montgomery said. “That's why I was looking forward to coming back for this season.”

That will take some time. Montgomery suffered a sprained ankle in March while playing basketball. He finished that season, worked out for football all summer until admitting that his ankle still didn't feel right and realizing he couldn't quite move like he could before. So he opted for surgery last week and will miss at least two or three games of his senior season.

His three finalists and other colleges haven't backed off. They're still intent on seeing Montgomery continue his football career up close. Boston College seems tough to beat, especially since Montgomery still has family in the area.

“I feel like a lot of people will be able to come support me at the game,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery said he also liked the fact that Boston College was the first school to recruit him and offer him a scholarship. That still stands out.

“That's really important because they kind of put me on the map,” Montgomery said, adding that he likes the tradition of linemen at the school.

Virginia has its own appeal as well, even if it is indeed similar to its competitors for Montgomery. Like so many prospects, Montgomery said he feels close to the Cavaliers' coaching staff, led by head coach Mike London.

“Their program is on the rise,” Montgomery said. “I feel like they're going to be really successful in the ACC.”

When it comes to conferences, however, Vanderbilt is tough to compete with. Playing in the SEC has a unique appeal.

“It is a very large factor because you're playing against NFL players in the fastest conference. ... That's one of the things I really look at,” Montgomery said.

It's been a fast rise from well-traveled basketball player to college football prospect. Montgomery still remembers the goal last year: learn, learn and learn some more.

“The best thing I can remember from last season was getting reps,” said Montgomery, who played defensive and offensive tackle. You can watch film, evaluate the game and do everything you can but you're not really experienced (until you play).”

One thing that's not in question is Montgomery's mentality. Sure, he had to learn some of it, but much of it was already there.

“I'm mean enough,” Montgomery said with a chuckle when asked if he was mean enough to play football. “That's a funny question. Of course I'm mean enough. I'm a competitive person. I'm good with controlled aggression...Physical contact wasn't an issue for me....I'm not trying to be a pretty boy wide receiver.”

College coaches agree. Montgomery said he'll announce his official visits in about a month.