There was only a few minutes left to play in a disappointing season for Greg Filer III and his Compton College Tartars. They were losing yet again to conference opponent Los Angeles Southwest College. Although the Tartars were on the brink of a winless season, Filer did not give up. With only 1:33 left in the game he picked off a pass and returned it 76 yards for a go ahead touchdown, sealing the only win in the final game of Compton College's 2016 season.
Filer, whose friends and family fondly call 'Munchie,' is now a cornerback for the Montana State Bobcats … after an unconventional journey.
"To understand it," Filer said, "you have to start from the bottom up."
Filer grew up in Paramount, California, a tough place to live. When asked how it affected him he said, "It showed me what not to be." He started playing football at a young age and loved it, expressing, "without it there's no telling where I would be. It's something I really don't like to think about."
Fast forward to high school, Filer transferred from Compton High to Paramount High School after his sophomore year. During his junior year he competed at the quarterback position but was ultimately beat out by the returning starter and instead played wide receiver.
With only a week left in Filer's junior season, Paramount's starting quarterback suffered an injury forcing Munchie to step in and take over. Since the previous starting QB also played on both sides of the ball, the coaches deployed Filer in the same manner, despite his unfamiliarity.
Filer continued to play defense his senior year and as he puts it, "I fell in love with defense for the fact that you don’t really need anybody on defense to progress within yourself. Not saying that I’m a selfish player, but on offense you have to rely on the line and the quarterback, especially if you play receiver, to get the ball. You don’t need other people to make plays on defense. So once I saw that and got a feel for it, I just went out and made plays."
After high school Filer was recruited by Compton College. He described his experience at Compton College.
"It was all up to me, there wasn’t anybody pushing me, there wasn’t anybody on me like my coaches are here. Even in the classroom it was all up to me; inside and out. Not to say they don’t care at home, that’s just the way it is."
After two years of driving himself at Compton, Filer received several offers from D-1 schools, including Idaho State, Portland State and of course the Cats. After careful consideration Filer chose to become a Bobcat.
This fall he stepped onto the Montana State campus which he admits was a big change having lived in the Compton area his entire life. Whenever he is having an issue adjusting, he calls his older brother John Ross, a first-round pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Filer added that he looks up to his brother's success, saying,"by him becoming a first-round draft pick it’s telling me that you can do that, too. What he did I felt like I can do it too, what makes us so different? We were once in the same tub before. Why not me?"
Filer's attitude and work ethic has gotten him a long way and he hopes it propels him further. Every day he constantly reminds himself, "You didn't come this far to let it all go down the drain." Adding," If I were to go back home right now it wouldn’t be a good feeling."
Filer got his first tackle as a Bobcat under the lights during Gold Rush last Saturday. Perhaps the first of many on a new journey.