BILLINGS — Camden Capser was thrilled enough when he signed a letter of intent in December to join the University of Montana football program.
But the soon-to-be Billings Central graduate and Griz placekicker recently received another jolt of inspiration when he learned he was being awarded the prestigious and exclusive Presidential Leadership Scholarship through UM’s Davidson Honors College.
Capser is among roughly 10 incoming students to be offered the scholarship from a pool of about 300 initial candidates, according to DHC dean Dr. Tim Nichols. Capser’s written application and interview performance — combined with his academic success, athletic achievement and community engagement — were among the reasons for his selection.
“Camden is a top student academically, graduating with a 4.0 grade-point average along with significant honors course work during his high school experience,” Nichols said. “And his well-rounded nature is something that really stood out in his application.
“Not only was he a strong student academically, but he was obviously deeply invested in his athletic experience, both in football and in soccer, and also demonstrated a real ethic in giving back to his community. Camden’s character also impressed the committee.”
Nichols said the Presidential Leadership Scholarship is the premier academic award for incoming students at Montana. Capser said he is already receiving a half-ride scholarship for football, and the Presidential award will make up for the rest.
“It feels incredible to be awarded such a prestigious scholarship,” Capser said, adding that he is “honored and humbled” to see his work paying off.
Griz coach Bobby Hauck, whose team is coming off a 2-0 showing in its abbreviated spring schedule, lauded Capser’s achievement.
“We do a thorough evaluation of each recruit that comes through the door here at Montana. A big part of that evaluation is finding players with high athletic and academic achievement,” Hauck said in a statement provided by UM’s sports information office.
“We have had several players in the past receive the Presidential scholarship, and it is something we put a lot of value in. Cam has done a nice job taking care of business in the classroom and on the field, and we look forward to having him on the team.”
At Billings Central, Capser made 10 career field goals with a long of 42 yards. His 161 extra-point makes is an unofficial state record. At one point Capser made 85 consecutive PATs.
Last summer, Capser made a 65-yard kick during an individual workout. On a five-star scale, Capser has been graded as a 4.5-star placekicker by Kohl’s Professional Camps for kicking prospects.
Capser was named Class A all-state in both football and soccer.
Nichols said Capser is one of two incoming students from Billings to have been offered the Presidential Leadership Scholarship. Capser, according to Nichols, is the first Griz football player to earn the award since offensive lineman Gerrit Bloemendaal out of Great Falls CMR, who is graduating this spring.
“It’s a singular achievement for a high school senior and a rising college freshman to be recognized in this way,” Nichols said. “It really is a big deal, and the students selected can take great pride in it.”
Email Greg Rachac at Greg.Rachac@406mtsports.com or follow him on Twitter at @gregrachac