This year's University of Montana graduates came to Missoula from eight different states
Sam Gratton, John Harris and Peter Nguyen regognized for their academic achievements
Montana returns 18 starters, including 10 on defense, 6+ on offense and its kicker and punter
A total of 17 Montana players were recognized for their play this season
2012 Honors Candidate
Montana: Sam will start at wide receiver for the third straight season. He is the Grizzlies' leading returning receiver. He will soon move on to Montana's career receiving leaders list, as he begins his senior season with 1,026 career yards, along with 92 career receptions.
2011: He started in all 14 games and his 36 catches were the most (tie) on the team, while his 465 receiving yards were the second most. He was named to the All-Big Sky honorable mention selection. Gratton was voted the winner of the Tony Barbour Award ("best exemplifies the values and work ethic of Grizzly football"). He was named to the league's academic team for the third year in a row.
2010: He played in 10 games and started in eight. He was fifth on the team with 28 receptions, and tied for third with four scoring grabs.
2009: He played in all 15 games and started in three. He was UM's seventh leading receiver with 28 catches. He had at least one catch in 13 contests.
2008: He would have played as a true freshman, but suffered an injury in fall camp and redshirted.
High School: He was a three-time all-state pick at wide receiver. He played in Montana's East-West Shrine Game and the Mon-Dak All-Star Game...named to the Great Falls Tribune's "Super State Team."...chosen an All-American and Montana's Player of the Year by PrepNation.com...his prep football team was the "AA" runners-up in 2007, going 10-3. His senior year he was team captain and had 43 catches for 723 yards and seven TDs. Chosen co-Special Teams MVP as a senior at kicker. Career-wise he had 149 receptions for 2,155 yards and 13 TDs...his high school football coach was former (1987-88) Griz wide receiver Mark Sulser...he was an academic All-State team pick with a 3.6 GPA.
Career Highs: He had two scoring catches (8 and 25 yards) against Northern Iowa in a FCS quarterfinal win in 2011. He had 8 catches for 124 yards and a touchdown at Cal Poly in 2010. He had a career-long 45-yarder on a touchdown catch at Northern Arizona in 2009, and also had a 45-yarder at NAU in 2011. He blocked a punt in the opener against Western State in 2009.
Personal: His parents are Scott Gratton of Missoula, and Shelley Haughton of Billings. His major is business (management). Birth date: Oct. 10, 1989. Sam's dad Scott played linebacker for the Grizzlies from 1979-82 and was UM's Golden Helmet Award (hardest hitter) recipient in 1981 and 1982.
Quoting Coach Delaney: "Sam is going to be one of the two or three leaders of the entire offense, not just the receiving core. He is always where be is supposed to be, and very, very physical and tough. He just has that spark that you love to see. Sam is the type of guy, that when the tough catch has to be made, or the tough block has to be made, he will be the guy who makes it.
"I would think that Sam will have a high number of catches for us this season, but more importantly, it's what he brings to the team personality-wise."
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