Social media savant: Griz forward Adam Botkin uses internet for inspiration | UM Grizzlies

MISSOULA – Montana State senior Adam Botkin is in his first and final season as a member of the football team.

When he arrived on campus as a freshman in 2018, the 6-foot-4 former Rocky Mountain College (Billings) basketball standout was just a student. Four years later, he added “athlete” to the end of that label, continuing into his final year of eligibility.

His short collegiate athletic career would end with a loss if the team visited Fargo Saturday afternoon for a second-round playoff game.

“It’s weird because I feel like I’m just getting into football and I’m starting to do all of this,” Botkin said. “But at the end of the day, because of what I’ve got now, there’s so much opportunity … There’s so much more to look forward to.”

The French city native’s experience with the Griz football team helped him find his passion: social media.

In fact, social media helped him build a team and discover what he wanted to do as a career.

Powered by TikTok, a short-form, video-sharing app that allows users to create and share 15-second videos on any topic, Botkin became the Grizzlies’ backup.

During the COVID pandemic, he started posting videos for entertainment which caught the attention of some social media influencers. Before he knew it, he now had a massive following of around 88.5k people.

A large portion of his videos included him making a field goal or showing off a 71-yarder, and that was enough for UM football coach Bobby Hauck.

“I got to them and it was smooth sailing from there,” Botkin said. “Because of my social media stuff, I already stream a lot of movies online, so this was just a quick test.”

Now he wants to use his growing platform to give back to aspiring athletes in his position.

Despite his limited action this season, Botkin is generally happy to be playing and wants to help others experience the same joy.

College without football

2018 was certainly a strange time for Botkin. Originally set to attend Rocky and join both the basketball and track and field programs, he began his freshman year at UM. He held back on his athletic decisions because he wasn’t sure exactly what he wanted.

He chose Montana because he was familiar with it. And as most college kids prefer, it helped him save money.

“I’m basically here … I’m 15 minutes away, so it’s been an easy transition,” Botkin said. “The easy answer is to live at home and save money on rent. But no…my mother is from this area…all my cousins ​​went here…it was a pretty easy decision.”

Still itching to play sports, Botkin found her niche on the women’s basketball team.

A guy who nearly had a double-double with Frenchtown High became a practice player for the Lady Griz. He fought with them, took part in training and ultimately helped them become better.

It wasn’t an official sport, but Botkin was playing it again.

“One day my freshman year I got a text from my high school coach and I think the head coach (for the Lady Griz) came up to him and asked if he had any players that had come here before,” Botkin said. “It sounded like fun and one of my best friends did it with me, we both played together at Frenchtown so we both got to come here … it was a lot of fun and a great way to stay in shape.”

Over time, becoming a true member of the university’s sports team became a priority. Watching local high school football made him want to play again. He finally knew what he wanted to do.

He used social media to quench his thirst to rejoin the football team.

The power of social media

Botkin never expected his fun videos to go viral. It just so happened that the right people saw them, liked them, and word spread. Currently, his most viewed video has 8.2 million views.

He has become somewhat of a social media star, giving him an easy way to showcase his skills to the Griz football coaching staff. All the videos he made for recreation ended up being a test film that landed him on the Montana list.

It was then that he realized the potential of his platform for other kids in his position. If social media helped him realize one of his dreams, it can help others and that is his calling.

“The main purpose of my social media stuff is to influence kids like me who didn’t get a lot of recruiting opportunities coming out of high school,” Botkin said. “Giving them a platform to showcase their highlights … guiding them as much as I can … that’s the biggest thing in all of this.”

He doesn’t want to do it as a hobby or a side gig. He wants to have what he does for a living.

These days, YouTubers and TikTokers are some of the most influential and richest people on the planet. There is a path to success on this path, and Botkin is on his way.

“I want to grow this, social media products,” Botkin said. “It’s becoming a kind of career now. As long as I keep elevating it, it’s not really about me, it’s about what I can create to guide the kids to get to where they want to be when they’re four years old.”

Accepting his role

While there is some connection between the Montana Grizzlies and Botkin via the internet at this point, the big hitter doesn’t want it to be. Obviously, because he doesn’t play at all.

“The playmaking guys are supposed to be the face of Montana football, so I’m not trying to look like I’m trying to do that (be the face of Griz football),” Botkin said. “But I definitely try to put a positive spin on it when I can.”

Botkin simply wants to play his part in promoting the program he grew up watching from the front row of the north end zone. It wouldn’t feel right to him to be anything other than that – he’s just happy to be here.

“I didn’t play at all last year or the years before, so just being able to be a part of something is the biggest part,” Botkin said. “Running through that tunnel… it’s just kind of surreal. If I can help the team in any way possible, that’s all that matters.”

His dedication to the program — whether serving practice drills or encouraging his teammates from the sideline — made his addition to Hauck worthwhile.

They’re glad to have him around and hope to have him around for at least a week after Saturday’s heavyweight showdown with North Dakota State University.

“He’s a great kid, fun to be around,” Hauck said. “He becomes a multi-purpose guy in practice and does a great job for us.”

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