MISSOULA — Samuel Akem is getting his professional football shot.
The former Montana wide receiver and one of the all-time statistical greats for the Grizzlies announced on social media that he has signed a contract to play football for the Philadelphia Stars of the USFL.
"I'm blessed!" Akem posted on Twitter in response to agent George Holley announcing the news.
"Congrats to (Akem) on signing with the Philadelphia Stars of the USFL! Good things come to those who earn it! Congrats!!!" Holley wrote.
I’m blessed! 🙏🏾🙏🏾 https://t.co/lP3g7qzJuP
— Samuel Akem (@s_akem18) September 7, 2022
Akem, a native of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, finished his storied career with the Grizzlies in 2021 after etching his name into the record books in numerous places. Akem tied Marc Mariani for the all-time career touchdowns mark with 29, ranks third in career receptions with 191 and is fourth in all-time receiving yards with 2,711.
A fan favorite during his time at UM and a player known for his social justice work off the field, he's the only Griz to be in the top five of each of the three major receiving categories in school history.
In 2021, Akem was UM's leading receiver with 49 catches for 689 yards and seven touchdowns. Akem is one of the latest Grizzlies to get a pro football opportunity, with former UM receiver Samori Toure making the Green Bay Packers 53-man roster while former Griz lineman Dylan Cook was added to Tampa Bay's practice squad.
The USFL made its return in 2022 with its inaugural season. The Stars went 6-4 in the regular season and advanced to the USFL championship game after winning their division final, which served as the semifinal round of the playoffs. The Stars fell in the championship game to the Birmingham Stallions, 33-30.
The Stars are coached by former Griz player and ex-Rocky Mountain College coach Bart Andrus.