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The Griz offensive and defensive lines collide during the start of a play during a scrimmage.

Rebekah Welch, Missoulian

MISSOULA — Milton Mamula's high school football career didn't follow the typical script. 

Instead of developing as a player during his freshman and sophomore seasons, The 6-foot-3, 220-pound pass rusher sat on the bench — sidelined due to broken L4 and L5 vertebrae. 

"I couldn't run. I couldn't work out. I couldn't do anything," Mamula told 406mtsports.com on Tuesday afternoon.

Mamula broke his foot the next season and played through the pain for a few games. 

After the season ended, he had surgery on his foot to repair the damage.

"That took me out for basically a whole year," Mamula said. "I couldn't go to any football camps. I still couldn't work out. I still couldn't run. Basically, up until late August, early September of my senior year, I hadn't worked out or ran the whole time."

The Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, native played in nine games his senior season and racked up 55 tackles with 22 1/2 tackles for loss. 13 1/2 of those were sacks. 

"It was a rough road," Mamula said. "Finished out senior year, pretty successful. I'm happy I had options."

Mamula announced his commitment to Montana via Twitter on Sunday after going on his official visit this past weekend. In all, Mamula had at least a half dozen scholarship offers and seven preferred walk on offers. The most notable of those walk on offers was to the University of Michigan. 

"Honored to say that I have committed to the University of Montana," he wrote. "Thank you for all the coaches who had interest in me."

How does a kid from the suburbs of Philadelphia end up committing to Montana?

The Bobby Hauck connection. 

Milton's dad, Mike Mamula, played for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1995-2000. One of Mike's teammates: Tim Hauck. Tim Hauck and Mike Mamula overlapped during the 1999 and 2000 seasons. 

"They're good friends," Milton said of Tim Hauck and his dad. "Tim talked to his brother about me and his dad reached out to Bobby, Tim's brother, and he was my connection to San Diego State and when (Bobby) moved, one of the first days after he got the head coaching job, he called me up and gave me an offer."

Mamula took his official visit to Montana over the January 26 weekend, and he fell in love.

He knew he was set when he entered the new weight room in the Champions Center. 

"It blew me away," Mamula said. "The first thing I saw was the weight room. I know that's where my second home would be in there. As soon as I saw that, it pretty much sold me."

He added: "I'm happy I found the University of Montana. There's no other school like it. It's on par with every (FBS) school in terms of facilities, coaching. I'm definitely not missing out when I go to Montana. That's what I'm very excited for."

National Signing Day is Feb. 7. 

Amie Just covers Griz football and is based in Missoula. Follow her on Twitter @Amie_Just or email her at Amie.Just@406mtsports.com.

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