MISSOULA — The legacy No. 37 jersey has a new owner for the Montana Grizzlies.
Helena native Marcus Welnel will be the newest player to don the traditional jersey for the Grizzlies. Last year's No. 37 in Townsend native Jace Lewis announced on social media on Wednesday that he is passing the jersey on to Welnel.
"I'd like to take a moment and congratulate my brother Marcus Welnel on being the next to join the #37 legacy jersey brotherhood," Lewis wrote on Twitter. "I'm excited to see the season you have. To me, Marcus exemplifies everything #37 is about. He is a selfless, team-first player, and all the hard work and time he's put in is paying off, and it shows. He's a great teammate and an even better person. The tradition is in good hands next season. Go Griz!"
— Jace Lewis (@lewis_jace) July 27, 2022
The legacy No. 37 jersey is one of Montana's most recognizable traditions. The jersey is passed down from Montana native to Montana native who stands out with work ethic and tough play on the field.
God has blessed me allowing me to live out my dream. I hope to honor the legacy of this jersey as much as Jace and others before him have. Up with Montana Boys! https://t.co/IHCsmIJq1r
— Marcus Welnel (@MarcusWelnel) July 27, 2022
The tradition started back in 1983 with Plentywood native Kraig Paulson. Welnel, a Helena Capital graduate, will be the fifth player from the Helena area to wear No. 37 since the tradition began, and first since Caleb Kidder in 2015-16.
"God has blessed me allowing me to live out my dream," Welnel wrote on Twitter after the announcement. "I hope to honor the legacy of this jersey as much as Jace and others before him have. Up with Montana Boys!"
Welnel, a senior linebacker, broke into the starting lineup to start last season and wasted no time in breaking out on the field. Welnel finished the season with 94 total tackles, 12.5 for loss, eight sacks and three interceptions.
Welnel had two of UM's most important plays last season. He caught the game-sealing interception as the Grizzlies topped then-FBS No. 20 Washington in Seattle on Sept. 4. Later in the year on Oct. 30 he blocked a potential game-winning field goal attempt from Southern Utah.
Past wearers of No. 37
· Jace Lewis, Linebacker, 2021, Townsend
· Jesse Sims, Defensive End, 2018-19, Stevensville
· Tucker Schye, Defensive End, 2017, Malta
· Caleb Kidder, Defensive End, 2015-16, Helena
· Zack Wagenmann, Defensive End, 2014, Missoula
· Jordan Tripp, Linebacker, 2012-13, Missoula
· Ryan Fetherston, Defensive End, 2011, East Helena
· Carson Bender, Defensive Tackle, 2008-10, Deer Lodge
· Loren Utterback, Linebacker, 2004-07, Fort Benton
· Ciche Pitcher, Defensive End, 2001-03, Anaconda
· Andy Petek, Defensive End, 1998-00, Helena
· Jason Crebo, Linebacker, 1994-97, Helena
· Todd Ericson, Safety, 1990-93, Butte
· Tim Hauck, Safety, 1987-89, Big Timber
· Kraig Paulson, Fullback, 1983-86, Plentywood