BUTTE — By the time Carver Gilman was a senior at Whitefish, playing football meant being on the field for just about every snap.
Playing four positions — wide receiver, safety, kicker, and punter — games could get a tad tiring for the 6-foot-4, 190 pound East-West Shrine Game selection. But Gilman, who is signed with Montana as a placekicker, enjoyed every bit of it.
He also knew how much developing himself outside of simply just kicking and punting could pay off.
“I want to be a kicker who can make some tackles on kickoff if need-be and save a touchdown on a blocked field goal or something,” Gilman said on Monday for a Shrine Game practice. “[Griz head football coach Bobby Hauck] expressed that he values that and I really appreciate that in general.”
Kickers sometimes get a bit of a bad reputation in the tackling department, but that is hardly the case with Gilman. Playing defensive back as a senior, he finished with 40 tackles and three interceptions over 10 games.
He was also a talent on offense, hauling in 22 receptions for 352 yards and five TD’s.
One of his best memories from the season, however, was actually a defensive play late in a non-conference game against Butte Central early in the 2018 season. With the Bulldogs up by a point, he knocked down a pass on the last play of the game to help preserve a 28-27 win.
“For someone who has had a lot of kicking highlights to get a big, nice DB highlight was super fun,” Gilman said. “Lots of good memories with that.”
When he heads to Missoula a couple weeks after Saturday’s Shrine Game, he feels like there is a chance to make quite a few more. Long a place where Gilman has enjoyed spending time, he is more than excited to make it his home for the foreseeable future.
After a strong showing at a Montana camp and building solid relationships with the coaching staff he got his offer. It did not take him long to accept.
“They just came down and are like, ‘dude we want you’ and I was like absolutely, that works perfectly, that’s awesome,” Gilman said. “Their facilities are awesome and they have a great, great business program which is what I’m going to major in. Mountains all around, I love Missoula, a lot of good food, good people, it definitely draws you in.”
There is a chance for plenty of competition in the specialist room as kickers Brandon Purdy, Gabe Peppenger and walk-on Adam Wilson are all likely to be ahead of him on the depth chart, at least prior to fall camp.
That is, of course, to be expected and all three players are upperclassmen this season. A chance to kick in front of the Washington-Grizzly crowd could fall into his lap sooner rather than later.
The future is bright, but right now Gilman’s focus is on the Shrine Game, which he said was an honor to be part of. As the only kicker listed on the roster, he will likely take most of the kicking duties, though there are other players who will likely have a shot.
Kicking certainly will not be his only duty and it seems as if he will see plenty of time on Bob Green Field come Saturday at 7 p.m.
And that suits him just fine.
“I got to practice kicking a fair amount in high school and it was fun to get to play some actual football too,” Carver said. “I like to be able to say that, that I’m not just a kicker.”