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Originally published Monday, January 16, 2012 at 8:35 PM

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Nick Montana to transfer from Washington

Montana, who just finished his redshirt freshman season at UW, will transfer in search of more playing time. He will attend a junior college, then find another four-year school at which to play.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Nick Montana had the famous last name and lots of high-school accolades.

But he didn't have a hold on Washington's starting quarterback job, which belongs at the moment — and likely the next two years — to Keith Price.

So Montana on Monday made a move that many had speculated about for months, transferring from Washington in search of more playing time elsewhere.

"I've got three years (of eligibility left) and I want to spend those on the field," he said Monday. "I don't want to wait another year. You only get one shot at playing college football. I just made the best decision for me and I'm going with it."

Montana, who just finished his redshirt freshman season at UW, will transfer to a junior college — reportedly either Blinn (Brenham, Texas) or El Camino (Calif.) — then find another four-year school at which to play. He said he hopes to make a decision "as soon as possible."

Montana, son of Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana, was a four-star recruit out of Oaks Christian High in Thousand Oaks, Calif., regarded as one of the highlight pieces in Steve Sarkisian's first full recruiting class at Washington in 2010.

He enrolled in time for spring ball that year in an attempt to begin setting himself up as the successor at quarterback to Jake Locker. But Price, who signed in 2009, was already entrenched as the backup and Montana was unable to jump past Price on the depth chart.

"Obviously, he's a great quarterback," Montana said of Price. "I just want to go somewhere I can play and get on the field."

In his first season as a starter in 2011, Price turned in one of the best years for a quarterback in Washington history, throwing for a school-record 33 touchdowns.

Montana, meanwhile, saw spot duty as a backup and when Price was injured, completing 24 of 42 passes for 226 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions in six games.

He got one start when Price was out with a knee injury, going 11 for 21 for 79 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in a 38-21 Husky loss at Oregon State.

With Price having two years of eligibility remaining, Montana was staring at the prospect of being a backup for all but his senior season, assuming he could hold off what appears to be a talented crew of younger quarterbacks on the roster now or set to join the Huskies soon.

Derrick Brown redshirted last season as a true freshman, and the Huskies have commitments from two four-star recruits for the Class of 2012 in Jeff Lindquist of Mercer Island and Cyler Miles of Mullen High in Denver.

While rumors had circulated in recent days Montana was thinking of transferring, he had been enrolled for classes at Washington and on campus. He said he didn't begin thinking of transferring until after the Alamo Bowl and made the decision in the last few days. He said it was best to make the decision now to get enrolled in another school soon.

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @bcondotta.

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