When a player leaves a program, we have become conditioned to assume that the transfer portal has struck again.

And while it's unfortunate to lose such a gifted athlete, the portal is not a player in this case. And it's pretty easy to admire the ambitions.

University of Montana Sports Information Director Eric Taber tells us that after a highly decorated freshman season, Griz punter Patrick Rohrbach has announced he is transferring to Arizona State University, but not to pursue football at a more competitive level. Patrick will be joining the "Flyin' Devils" of ASU's Air Force ROTC program. "Detachment 025 is one of the nation's top feeder programs into the U.S. Air Force Academy Flight School.


As a kid, college football's reining Punter of the Year would fly model airplanes and dream of what it would be like to one day be in the cockpit of a real fighter jet. With an eye to the sky, Patrick now aspires to be in an F-16, serving the United States of America as an Air Force pilot. But whatever the Air Force needs, Patrick acknowledges that he's going to have to keep his academics up and work hard to get that chance. As he put it, "I'm just excited to go serve."


Rohrbach leaves Montana after one of the best years ever by a Grizzly punter. He wrapped up his freshman year last December with the second-best punt average in program history at 45.2 yards per punt on 48 attempts, the best in the Big Sky Conference and third overall in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).

Thanks to his towering punts and remarkable distance, many of which thrilled Washington-Grizzly Stadium fans, the Griz finished  second in the FCS in net punt average at 41.52 yards per attempt, which means opponents' average punt return was only 3.68 yards.


In Eric Taber's write-up, Griz head football coach Bobby Hauck was asked to comment on Patrick's decision. A coach with great respect for the military had a predictable response: ""We admire all our people that serve in the military. Pat making the decision to go serve his country makes us very proud of him and proud he came out of our program.

"I'm excited for him to start the next chapter of his life. It's a goal he's had for many years, so for him to move on and work to achieve that goal is both exciting and admirable."

The Punting Pilot has nearly completed work for his private pilot's license. Patrick will complete a bachelor's degree in aeronautical management and communications at ASU while training at Luke Air Force Base with the ROTC program.

A big "thank you" in advance to Patrick Rohrbach for his service to our country. A quick look at the 2023 Griz football roster would suggest that, at least for now, there is not a lot of depth listed as punter waiting to assume the duties.

Do we circle back to that crazy transfer portal?

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