BOZEMAN — Let's call it the calm before the storm.
With the NFL Draft looming, Troy Andersen will head back to his hometown of Dillon for a few weeks of relative rest and relaxation.
After a two-month spree that saw him shine at the Reese's Senior Bowl, clock a position-best time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, and participate in a few drills at Montana State's Pro Day, Andersen will spend the coming days with his family, helping out on his parents' ranch and working out with friends at Montana Western.
"I'll just call up some of my Western buddies and make sure the weight room is open," Andersen said with a grin on Monday after MSU's Pro Day, where he clocked a time of 3.99 in the short shuttle run. "Everybody around there is pretty happy to help."
For the hometown hero, these weeks before the draft will feel much different than the days after his name is inevitably announced from Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
In the meantime, Andersen is just glad to be going home for a bit.
"I'm definitely going to get some fly fishing in," he said. "Weather permitting it'll be good. Next couple of weeks try to relax and hang out with family and friends, try to get back into football shape. Do football stuff."
Following a solid showing at the Senior Bowl — where analysts praised his rare combination of size, speed and versatility — Andersen received an invitation to the NFL Combine where he clocked an official time of 4.42 in the 40-yard dash, the best mark posted by any linebacker in attendance.
After his first attempt, he didn't even bother to look at his result.
"A couple of guys came up to me and gave me knucks, but I didn't really want to know," Andersen said. "I didn't check my phone. I was just like 'I gotta go run faster.'"
After his second attempt, he allowed himself a glance at the scoreboard.
"I was like 'that'll work,'" Andersen said with a chuckle. "I was definitely happy about that."
From a state champion quarterback in high school, to one of the most electrifying players in Montana State football history, Andersen is now on the brink of completing his ascension from a small-town Montana kid with big dreams to a player in the National Football League.
"It's every little boy's dream," Andersen said. "You sit on the couch watching all the games growing up. You're like 'that'd be pretty cool.' And then to have the opportunity to play college football, that's cool. I loved my time in Bozeman, had so many memories and met so many great people.
"And then to have an opportunity to move on to where it's the best in the world playing football, it's a tremendous opportunity and it's one I don't take for granted. I'm excited for that next step."