Montana's Son Breaks Family Ranks, Passes on Irish

Notre Dame misses out Joe's younger son

The connection between the Montana family and the University of Notre Dame is strong. Joe Montana's exploits as the starting quarterback for the Fighting Irish are well known. Nate Montana, Joe's oldest son, is currently backing up Jimmy Clausen for Charlie Weis' squad, and his two older sisters went to school in South Bend as well. Distant cousin Hannah Montana has even written a song about lighting a candle at Notre Dame cathedral. 

Alright, so that last one is made up, but the point is that when your last name is Montana, it's a good bet that you're going to end up under the Golden Dome at some point. Or, it was a good bet until Tuesday when Nick Montana told University of Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian that he'd be playing college ball for the Huskies in 2010. 

It seems like a good choice. Before being hired by the Huskies this winter, Sarkisian spent most of the 00's as a quarterback coach at USC. Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Mark Sanchez and Matt Cassel all speak to his ability to develop signal callers, and with Clausen and redshirt freshman Dayne Crist already with the Irish playing time would be harder to come by in South Bend.

Montana, rated as the 13th best quarterback in his class by, will have to adjust to playing with a less star-studded supporting cast when he hits Seattle. His teammates at Oaks Christian High School in Westlake Valley, California include Trevor Gretzky and Trey Smith. They are the sons of Wayne Gretzky and Will Smith, which makes the Oaks Christian stands a bit more interesting than your typical crowd for a high school football game.

Assuming he handles that downgrade, and the inevitable comparisons to his father, Montana should be just fine. Now if Sarkisian can just do something to make sure the Huskies actually win a game or two, U-Dub is really onto something.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to and in addition to his duties for

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