The first of several preseason All-America teams to be published in the off-season has been released.

And while preseason honors don't guarantee a successful regular season, it's always cool when a member of the team you cheer for is recognized. So if you cheer for the Griz and for this electrifying dude, then it's a good day.

University of Montana Sports Information Director Eric Taber tells us that today (Wednesday), Montana’s dynamic receiver and punt returner Junior Bergen of Billings has been named to the 2023 Athlon Sports Preseason Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) All-America team as a punt returner. Junior is one of only five Big Sky Conference players to be named to the team.

He topped of his excellent 2022 season with a place on three different All-America lists. Junior returned 22 punts for 327 yards and two touchdowns as a sophomore, with a season-long return of 72 yards against Portland State. Probably his most memorable return came during Montana's playoff game against Southeast Missouri State. That punt return helped the Griz erase a 21-point third-quarter deficit, taking the kick 58 yards for a touchdown.

Junior earned second-team All-America honors following the season as a returner from Stats Perform and Phil Steele Magazine and was named to the HERO Sports Sophomore All-America team. He also earned third-team All-Big Sky honors.

Other Big Sky Conference players earning spots on Athlon's preseason team are receiver Hayden Hatten of Idaho, tight end Marshel Martin of Sacramento State, and defensive back Maxwell Anderson and kickoff returner Abraham Williams, both of Weber State.

Defending national champion South Dakota State led the way with four selections to the Athlon team.

The Griz open the 2023 season at home against the Butler Bulldogs of the Pioneer Football League on September 2. Congratulations, Junior Bergen. We know you'll live up to the hype!

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