Troy goes #58 to Atlanta

The NFL Falcons dial Troy Andersen’s number in the second round
By 
J.P. Plutt
Wednesday, May 4, 2022
Valedictorian

Dillon's Troy Andersen, a second round selection of the Atlanta Falcons during the Friday night nationally-televised broadcast of the National Football League draft, is shown at the Beaverhead County High School graduation giving the Valedictorian speech in 2017. J.P. Plutt photo

Track star

Troy Andersen crosses the finish line to win the 200-meter state title at the Class A Track and Field meet his senior season. He won the 100 and 200 state titles both his junior and senior seasons. J.P. Plutt photo

DFL

Troy Andersen was in the Dillon flag football league in third grade in 2007. Andersen is the youth kneeling, front row left. The coaches are (back row, from left) coaches T.J. Nelson, Bob Ferris, Scott Andersen (Troy's dad), and M.D. Peterson.

The Atlanta Falcons of the NFL will be getting what they think they are getting in Dillon’s Troy Andersen, their second round draft pick in the recent NFL draft. Andersen is intelligent, athletic, fast and a good, grounded Dillon kid. There will not be any early morning surprises for the Falcons involving Andersen, unless he takes on a side job watering livestock somewhere in Georgia.

During a conference call Saturday morning with Atlanta-area media (posted on atlantafalcons.com), the folks got a taste of Andersen’s outlook. One of the journalists wanted to know about “this farm.” Andersen subtly worked into his reply that he grew up on a cattle ranch and went on to describe the important lessons imparted upon him through the lifestyle experience. One story centered around the importance of feeding and watering the cattle every single day. It is a chore that must be done and that work ethic has helped position Andersen to play a role in America’s top-ranked reality show – the National Football League.

Troy and his sister Holly were both top athletes and top students at Beaverhead County High School. Troy would star in three sports, helping the Beavers win five team state championships in football, basketball and track. He also spoke to his graduating class as one of five valedictorian’s. Andersen posted a perfect grade point average.

With offers from both the University of Montana and Montana State University, Troy had an easy pick with one of his first “adult” decisions. Troy’s dad Scott graduated from MSU and was a lifelong Bobcat fan. Scott was also a diehard Dallas Cowboy fan. The son respected the father, they liked and did the same things, so it wasn’t a surprise that Troy became a Bobcat or that he always rooted for the Cowboys. Throw in the fact that MSU was just a two hour drive from his home in Bozeman, and that it was the agricultural institution of Montana, and Troy wearing the blue and gold was a slam dunk.

“I think the coaches at MSU made me more comfortable than the people at UM,” said Troy on Friday, during rare down time between the first round and second and third rounds of the draft. While he was in Dillon to relax, media from all corners of the state sought out precious minutes of Troy’s time. Starting on Saturday, the media interest grew in scope. “My dad went there and I grew up a Bobcat fan so that helped. I didn’t know what to do but I made a good decision.”

Troy’s time as a player and student at Montana State is already the stuff of lore and will only grow over time. Troy graduated a year ago with a degree in Ag business. He earned all As and a single B to finish with a 3.92 grade point average. This past year he selected classes that interested him, looked like they would be fun or easy. He needed 12 credits a semester to maintain his football eligibility.

On the football field, Troy would end his career having played outside linebacker and running back as a freshman, quarterback as a sophomore, linebacker and running back as a junior and inside linebacker as a senior, a season in which he led the Bobcats to the FCS national championship football game.

Did Troy have any decision-making authority over his position assignment?

“My freshman year, I wasn’t going to tell them no, obviously,” recalled Andersen. “It was cool to play both ways like we do in Dillon. The second year I played quarterback. That one was like, ‘are you guys sure? Do you want me to do this?’”

For his career, Andersen would score 21 touchdowns and the Bobcats became a run first team, ranking seventh nationally in rushing yards per game his freshman year.

“My junior year, jumping over to defense was my decision I guess, but they were also on board with it,” recalled Troy. “I think another year of being quarterback would not have gone well for the Bobcats. We ran the ball pretty good, but it is hard to get receivers when you never throw it.”

As a junior, Troy played outside linebacker and running back. As a senior, he roamed the field as an inside linebacker with incredible speed and put up incredible tackle numbers.

“It was a great year,” said Troy. “I would have loved to have gone out on top and won it. I guess you put yourself in position to win or lose the last game of the year. You want to win that last one, but to be there was awesome. It was a lot of fun to be there with those guys.”

Following the season, Troy found himself the focus of many award committees and while he doesn’t get wrapped up in that type of adulation, he said his best memory was a trip to Las Vegas for the “William Campbell Trophy thing.”

“It takes into account your athletics, then your academics and then your community stuff,” explained Troy. “I just try to be a well-rounded person so that one was kind of cool, I guess.”

With a busy spring approaching, Andersen had to find an agent.

“Throughout the season you have a whole bunch of people reaching out,” described Troy. “You have to vet them somehow, so you kind of go off of word of mouth from other people you know. Choate (former head Bobcat coach Jeff) actually steered me towards the guy that I went with and he’s represented other Montana guys. He’s a good guy. It was a little weird for a kid from Dillon to do that, but I think I made a good choice.”

Andersen hired Collin Roberts and has been working closely with his representation over the past few months.

Andersen broke through to a national profile at the Reese’s Senior Bowl.

“That was awesome, that was my first opportunity to go down and play against all the guys from the Power 5 conferences and that was fun,” Andersen said. “I think that was a good confidence boost that I belong there and I can play with them and compete with those guys. I got to know some of them and learn from them. The Jets coaching staff were our coaches there, so obviously they had good coaching, coaches from the NFL.”

Next on Troy’s most excellent adventure was an invitation to the NFL Combine, the center of player evaluation of the football universe. Nothing elevated Andersen’s stock more that back-to-back 40-yard sprints. He timed a lightning fast 4.42 seconds, a posting that caught the attention of football experts and fans alike.

“I think it definitely helps on a football field,” said Andersen of speed. “I kind of attribute it to running around as a little kid and doing track. I think track helped me get so much faster in high school. I was trying to be a wellrounded athlete and play three sports and not just specialize like some kids around the country seem to do now days. Speed definitely helps.”

One aspect of the NFL Combine that may surpass the weight, height, speed, strength, agility collection of an official record are the interviews individual players have with team representatives. Consider them job interviews on performance enhancing drugs. It was an area that Troy, with his intelligence and well-grounded perspective on life, was destined to ace.

“The interviews are huge down there,” recalled Troy. “You have the opportunity to talk to almost every team. You sit down with the coach and have a one-on-one conversation about football and about your life, just so they get to know you and you get to know them and you start to build that relationship.”

“I had a couple interviews with the entire staffs, where it was the head coach, GM, owner, coordinators, position coaches and there is 20-plus people in that room. You’re sitting in front and they’re asking you questions and you’re talking through your film. So that is a little nerve racking, but it is also pretty cool to be in that position and have that opportunity. The interviews are huge.”

Crazy questions and responses have become a thing of NFL Combine lore and Andersen had a small taste of that side of analysis by paralysis interaction.

“I heard a couple from other guys,” said Troy. “They were like, ‘that was kind of weird.’ I guess I went into the Eagles room and they had me shooting on a little mini-basketball hoop while they were asking me questions for a little while. That was a little strange I guess.”

While his experience at multiple positions in college provided a great montage for his highlight reel, Andersen feels that in the NFL, he’ll be playing linebacker.

“When I asked teams where do you see me fitting into your scheme, they’d say at linebacker somewhere, whether it be Sam, Mike or Will (strong, middle or weak side),” said Troy of his future focus. “You want to be versatile and be able to help a team out however they see fit.”

An acknowledged Cowboy fan, Troy laughed when asked if he had a team preference last Friday, after Thursday’s first round and before the second and third rounds that evening. He had been grinding through a lot of stuff and jumping through all of the hoops.

“I don’t think it matters at this point,” said Troy. “Whoever wants me, I’d be more than happy to go there. It would be exciting. My parents are awesome, my sister as well. Everybody that has helped me along the way. I call them, tell them about all the experiences, talk it over and get some advice.”

One area Troy needs no advice on is how to treat people and how important his role in this new world will become.

“I guess it is a big responsibility. You want to represent Dillon and yourself and your family as best as you can and give the little kids of Dillon and people of Montana something to look up toward and be a good example of how to treat people and how to go about your business,” explained Andersen. “It is definitely a big responsibility, but I’m looking forward to it. I think it will be a good journey.”

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