Senior Signing Spotlight: Colin Dreis
Salpointe O-Lineman Dreis has come a long way on his way to Montana
This is No. 8 in a month-long series of profiles of Arizona high school seniors that signed with four-year colleges. Here's the full list (currently totaling 283) of players from within the state moving on to the next level.
Not every football player that ultimately goes D-I was predetermined for that path from the start. Such is the story of Colin Dreis.
The offensive tackle at Salpointe Catholic didn't have any offers after his junior year. He attended a few camps over the summer heading out to Stanford (per an invite), Northern Arizona, and San Diego. During his senior season, Dreis received offers from Western New Mexico, La Verne, and Arizona Christian.
After the offer from Division II WNMU in September, other coaches from across the country started to call in and take notice.
"All of the coaches would call me close to once a week, but Coach (Chad) Germer (offensive line coach) at Montana called me whenever he got a chance to and even wrote letters to me telling me he couldn't wait to come meet me," Dreis said in an e-mail interview. "This was all thanks to my amazing, O-line coach at Salpointe, Coach Al Alexander, who called Coach Germer and told him about me."
About a month later, Germer flew out to Tucson and met Dreis in person.
"When we met, we instantly had a connection as we are both big guys who have played basketball and love football," Dreis said. "About two weeks after meeting at my high school, Coach Germer and (head) Coach (Bobby) Hauck came to my house for dinner and that was really where my heart started to tell me that Montana was the perfect place to continue my football career."
Missoula is about 1,300 miles due north of Tucson. Germer and Hauck not only needed to sell Dreis on the school, but also assure his parents about the culture he'd be entering into at UM. Like many schools, they sold the family atmosphere and how Colin would be treated differently than being just a number at bigger colleges.
"Coach Germer called me (in early December) and told me that they would like to offer me my first full D-I scholarship, which was a dream come true," Dreis said. "Days later, I found myself on a plane ride up to Missoula to go check out the campus and the rest of the team. As soon as I got up there, I saw for myself the brotherhood there among the players and the coaches."
Dreis committed to Montana and signed on the second day of the three-day early signing period in December.
Salpointe finished 13-1 and reached the 4A championship game for the second straight season. The Lancers averaged 291 rushing yards and 141 passing yards per game. That led to a lot of points on the scoreboard as SC scored 88 touchdowns (43.9 points per game).
When it comes to blocking, Dreis prides himself on his pass blocking that he developed over the year.
"I enjoy pass blocking much more because it is more technical and it is almost like a little game you play with the defensive end," Dreis said "You have to have good feet to be a good pass blocker and I feel as though I do and I believe it showed on the field as our O-line allowed one sack all year."
In case you're rolling your eyes at that sack statistic, I looked it up and it's true. Cactus linebacker Matthew Herrera was the only one to take down a Lancer QB. So, it makes sense that the quarterback (Devin Green) bribed the line with free food after each game so they'd continue to give him plenty of time.
Run blocking was a little different as Dreis has usually been outweighed by defensive linemen. Technique helped create holes which the Lancers' ultra-talented RB Bijan Robinson ran through all the way to claiming the Ed Doherty Award as Arizona's Player of the Year.
"I had the best running back in all of Arizona running behind me, so all I had to do was put my body on the defensive end and put my 'butt in the hole' as my coach always says," Dreis said. "As long as I made a little hole, Bijan would bust a normal five-yard play into a 50-yard touchdown, so he made my job pretty easy."
The long-term plan is for Dreis to play left tackle with the Grizzlies. Montana had some struggles with the offensive line due to youth and a lack of depth. Once he grows into the program during his first year, Dreis hopes to compete for a starting spot. Nine of Montana's 26 new recruits in this class play on either the offensive or defensive line.
Montana finished 6-5 last season behind quarterback Dalton Sneed, a Horizon alum. The junior was named the Big Sky Newcomer of the Year. Sneed led the Griz in both rushing and passing after coming to UM from UNLV and Fort Scott CC. It was the sixth straight winning season for Montana.
With a long winning tradition and no professional teams, Montana has always had tremendous support. The Griz drew over 26,000 for its season finale against Montana State last November.
Dreis is used to a few thousand fans attending games at Ed Doherty Stadium. He's accustomed to feeding off an electric crowd.
"That was another major selling point for me committing to Montana," Dreis said. "The overall atmosphere surrounding the football team. I checked out some other schools that had offered me, but there was not the same amount of buzz around the football program as there was for Montana. I can't wait to be able to suit up in front of all the fans and be able to put on a show for them."
One of the most amazing things about Dreis was that he put on 70 pounds from his junior year to senior year going from 6-5, 190 to 6-7 and 260. I don't know about you, but if I put on 70 pounds between now and August, I'd be a slow-moving blob on the sideline. That wasn't the case with Dreis, whose mobility is attributed to playing basketball his whole life.
"The biggest part of all that was the majority of that weight I put on was mostly muscle and not fat," Dreis said. "Having that extra muscle actually helped me more in my mobility than expected. During the off season though, I would also occasionally go out and train with my O-line coach on footwork drills like ladders and jump rope, making it a priority to keep my athleticism where it originally was before gaining all that weight."
Through his hard work and dedication, Dreis has shown that anything is possible.
"Coming into Salpointe, no one knew who I was," Dreis said. "I was just a tall and skinny kid who had dreams of playing college football. Freshman year, I wasn't even one of the top 10 players on my team. Come sophomore year, I was put on JV and wasn't even a starter the majority of the year."
Prior to being pulled up to varsity, Dreis changed positions from tight end to offensive tackle. For much of his junior season, he backed up Matteo Mele (now at Washington). Those offseason workouts were quite often twice a day as everything started to click.
"I owe all of my success to my parents, Sean and Danalda Dreis, who would make me wake up and lift at 5:30 a.m., even if I didn't want to," Dreis said. "And my O-line coach, Coach Al, who was the only one to believe in me enough to pull me up to varsity and mold me into the player I am today. I can't thank him enough for what he has done for my family and me. To end it off, I just want to say I can't wait to head up to Montana and help lead them to a national championship! #GoGriz