Caleb Kidder (left) has moved from defensive tackle to defensive end for the Montana Grizzlies this offseason. (SLIM KIMMEL/MTN Sports)

Montana Grizzly defensive end Caleb Kidder has garnered another preseason accolade. The former Helena Capital Gatorade player of the year was named to the STATS FCS defensive player of the year watch list on Friday.

“I’m honored. Just knowing that people out there are watching and looking, it’s a humbling thing and I’m ready to go out and show what I can do,” Kidder said in a release from the University of Montana.

“I love him (Holmes), and everything he did last season. I just hope to fill those big shoes he created, but do it in my own way.”

Kidder is referring to former Griz teammate Tyrone Holmes, who won the STATS FCS defensive player of the year honor a season ago. Holmes led the nation with 18 sacks, thanks in part to Kidder’s presence on the defensive line.

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“I think they’re right,” said Montana head football coach Bob Stitt. “I think they’re correct in the preseason awards that he’s getting, and it’s going to be fun to see him play this year.

“I think to win an award like that you’ve got to have an unbelievable year, but more importantly, you’ve got to bring it every single week. You can’t have a bad game, and that’s the way Tyrone played for us. He was dominating in every game he played. Caleb definitely has the ability to do that athletically, and I know he’s very excited about getting on the field and proving it. He’s getting a lot of great honors coming into the season, but he’s really prepared, and put a lot of work into having the ability to go follow up and do it on the field.”

Last season, Kidder registered 82 tackles, 10 tackles-for-loss and 3.5 sacks while playing defensive tackle. His switch to defensive end has put him, “In the best shape of my life,” he told MTN Sports earlier this spring.

Expectations remain high for Kidder, who was recently named STATS FCS preseason second-team all-American. During the Big Sky Conference media days, he was voted the preseason league defensive player of the year and was named Big Sky Conference “most feared defender” by Athlon Sports.

Kidder and the Grizzlies report to fall camp on Sunday, August 7th. Practice begins on Tuesday, August 9th as Montana prepares for its season opener against Saint Francis on September 3rd at Washington Grizzly Stadium.

Caleb Kidder named preseason defensive player of year in Big Sky Conference. (SLIM KIMMEL/MTN Sports)
Caleb Kidder named preseason defensive player of year in Big Sky Conference. (SLIM KIMMEL/MTN Sports)