Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Signing Day 2016

Bradford Knowlton, a linebacker from Punahou High School in Hawaii, will also be joining the Pioneers in 2016.  Brad has the speed to make plays from sideline to sideline, as well as the physicality to stuff the inside run.  He has played with and against the best players in the state of Hawaii, and is ready to make an immediate impact.  We are very excited to have him join the Black Swarm Defense!

Bradford Knowlton Highlight

Friday, February 5, 2016

Signing Day 2016

Michael O'Shea with another powerful run through the defense
The next addition to the Grinnell Pioneers is Michael O'Shea, from St. Paul Academy.  Michael is a multi-talented player that could fill many roles on either offense or defense.  We'll likely take a look at him as an H-Back or as another running back.  Michael will bring added size and speed our offense, able to run between the tackles with power, as well as the speed to take those carries all the way to the end zone.  He is also an effective blocker.  We're very excited to add a weapon like Michael to our offense!

Michael O'Shea Highlights

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Tazon de Estrellas

Colton Feller, Kevin Hwang, and Morgan Kinsinger in 2013
ESPN recently put out a great piece on the Tazon de Estrellas, the all-star game that pits the best players from Division III against the best players in Mexico.  Over the years the Pioneers have represented team Stars and Stripes very well.  Going back to 1998, ten different Pioneers have participated in the all-star game.

1998 - Richard Wemer - WR (known as the Aztec Bowl at the time)
2001 - Jeff Pedersen - TE (known as the Aztec Bowl at the time)
2010 - Marquis Bradley - LB
2011 - Logan Granera - WR
2011 - Robert Seer - WR
2012 - Tom Brinkman - DL
2012 - Brian Taylor - DL
2013 - Colton Feller - LB
2013 - Kevin Hwang - S
2013 - Morgan Kinsinger - OL

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Signing Day 2016!

Signing Day is, and always has been, quite a bit different at the division 3 level.  Because we do not offer athletic scholarships and the corresponding letters of intent, and because there are several different deadlines throughout the year, it is difficult to hold a signing day similar to divisions 1 and 2.  However, the NCAA recently passed legislation allowing a Celebration Letter to be signed by any Division 3 student-athlete that has already submitted a deposit.

Here at Grinnell, we add to our roster through Early Decision 1, Early Decision 2, and Regular Decision.  We typically get slightly less than half our class through the Early Decision rounds, and we're sitting in a good place so far this year.  We've got two strong defensive players from the class of 2015 that deferred their admission for a year, and we've added an additional eight players through the Early Decision round.  Over the course of the next few days we'll highlight those guys, and celebrate their decisions to be Pioneers!

Up first, Trent and Trey Wiebusch from Providence Academy and Long Lake, MN.  Trent and Trey are from the class of 2015, but they deferred their decisions in order to complete year long service commitments.  Both are very good defensive players that can be used anywhere in the front seven.  They will add both size and physicality to the Black Swarm defense!  We're looking for an immediate contribution from both!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Congrats to Coach Booth!

Coach Booth (right) a first-time father
Assistant wide receivers coach Greg Booth and his wife Patricia recently welcomed their first child, a daughter, named Isabella.  Isabella came three weeks early, and has spent quite a bit of time in the hospital these first few weeks, but she is doing well now and all are home,  happy, and healthy!

Congrats to the Booths!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Greg Ruzich Named Co-Recipient of the Scholar-Athlete Award

The Pioneers added to their lineup of postseason awards in 2015, adding the scholar-athlete award.  The award goes not just to the Pioneer with the best GPA, but rather to the Pioneer who has an outstanding GPA, challenged himself in his area of study, and also excelled on the playing field.  Two Pioneers were selected for the inaugural award, one being wide receiver Greg Ruzich.

Ruzich joined the team prior to his sophomore season, and his impact on the field increased each season.  As a senior, Greg recorded 30 catches, and established career highs for yards and touchdowns.  Playing in the slot, Greg was always a threat on the slant/skinny post route, as well as the shallow cross.

In the classroom he was a bio-chemistry major who carried a very strong GPA.  He was named academic all-conference three times, and named to the Dean's List twice.  Greg also spent a semester studying in Australia.  It's safe to say he made the most of his time at Grinnell.  Congrats Greg, best of luck in your future studies.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Morrissette Named All-American

Linebacker Barrett Morrissette's fine season season was rewarded with All-American recognition by USA College Football.  Barrett was previously named first time all-conference by the Midwest Conference coaches.  Morrissette joins Robert Seer (2nd team WR by BSN College Network) as the second All-American since I've taken over as head coach.

Congrats Barrett!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Politics and Football?

As I was watching the Packers - Redskins game (playoff football in our nation's capitol!) I was reminded of President Obama's recent comments on the Jerry Seinfeld show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.  Seinfeld asked the President what sport he thought was most like politics.  I think you'll appreciate his answer!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Ryan Slager Named Troy Barboza Most Courageous Player

First year Ryan Slager from Orland Park, IL was named the 2015 Troy Barboza Award winner.  Barboza played for the Pioneers in the mid-80's and went on to a career in law enforcement.  He went undercover to help take down a major drug operation in Hawaii.  As he was waiting to testify in the case, he was tragically murdered.  Each year the Pioneers honor the player who has displayed the most courage throughout the past year, and that definitely fits with Ryan.

Asked to start at inside linebacker from day one, Ryan rose to the occasion.  Posting 18 tackles in his first game against Beloit, Slager filled a need for the defense immediately.  He recorded 17 tackles against Illinois College, 19 against Knox, and 15 in the season finale against Lawrence.  All told, Slager accounted for 134 tackles on the year.  His 13.4 per game was good for second in the country.

As impressive as his debut was, we look for even bigger things from Ryan over the coming three years!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Former D3 Player Fares Better vs NFL Competition Than vs Grinnell College

Former Monmouth College quarterback Alex Tanney (of trick shot quarterback fame) took the first regular season snaps of his NFL career this past weekend for the Tennessee Titans.  Tanney has been on the practice squad of multiple NFL teams during his career, and played about half of a pre-season game for the Dallas Cowboys several years ago.  I believe this past weekend was his first shot in the regular season though, and he played well.  In fact, by completing 10 of 14 passes for 99 yards, Tanney played significantly better against NFL competition than he did against the Grinnell Pioneers in their 2010 contest.  In that game, we held the pre-season D3 Player of the year to a 0 for 1 for 0 yards performance in our 17-15 victory over Monmouth.
To be fair, Tanney was injured during the first drive, and missed the rest of the game, and the rest of the season.  While we certainly weren't celebrating his injury, it was a huge victory for us, and one that we will always celebrate.  For his part, Tanney took advantage of a medical red-shirt and came back for a very good senior season, and eventually his shot in the NFL.  Congratulations to him, it is always nice to see D3 players get their chance, and it's even better when it's a fellow Midwest Conference athlete.  Best of luck to Alex Tanney.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Emmi Sandoval Named co-Kriegel Award Winner

Sandoval on his way to a school record 94 yard kickoff return
Along with QB Sam Poulos, Emmi Sandoval was named co-winner of the Steve Kriegel Pioneer Award.  Emmi was asked to move from WR to CB as a first-year and then battled injury as a sophomore and junior.  Injuries and frustrations continued to follow him throughout the off-season leading up to his senior year.  Come reporting date this August, we really weren't sure what we were going to get with Emmi this year.  What a pleasant surprise!  Emmi came in healthy, in great physical condition, and with a great attitude.  He was rewarded with his best season yet, leading the team with 38 receptions and 458 yards.  He also had five receiving td's and one kickoff return td, a school record 94 yard return.  More importantly, Emmi was a positive influence for the entire offense, and embraced a role as a leader and mentor for our younger players.

Emmi has graduated at the semester and is returning home to join the workforce and apply for graduate school.  Congrats Emmi.  Best of luck!!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Former Pioneer Chris Jarmon Gets Shoutout on Monday Night Football

Chris Jarmon (right) during his playing days as an all-conference OL
Former Pioneer offensive lineman Chris Jarmon gets some nice recognition during the Monday Night Football broadcast this evening.  Jarmon interned for both the NFL Network and ESPN during his time at Grinnell, and accepted a position at ESPN immediately after graduation.  His first assignment was working women's soccer, but he was quickly moved to the Monday Night Football crew in their research department.  Looks like his hard work over the years is not going unnoticed.  Great to see you get some recognition Chris!   Keep up the good work!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Sam Poulos Wins Steve Kriegel Pioneer Award

Poulos eyes his target
Named after longtime local coach Steve Kriegel, the Pioneer Award is one of the highest honors we bestow on our players.  Over the years Coach Kriegel was involved at South Tama High School, Grinnell High School, and Grinnell College.  He was loved and respected by all for the way he cared for and pushed his student-athletes.

Sam was a four-year starting quarterback for us, starting from day one.  His highlights included leading us to an upset victory over Monmouth in 2012, being a part of the Division 3 Play of the Week during that upset victory, and throwing five touchdowns in the season finale in both 2014 and 2015.  Along the way Sam made many plays with his feet and his arm, and always providing a fighting spirit.

Sam will be headed to France after the new year to continue his playing career.  Good luck Sam!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Barrett Morrissette Named Abe Rosenbloom Award Winner

Morrissette with his family on Senior Day
Barrett Morrissette was awarded the annual Abe Rosenbloom Award for the 2015 season.  The Rosebloom Award is given each year to the outstanding offensive or defensive lineman for the Pioneers.  Barrett joins last years recipient, Rich Renteria, as outside linebackers that have won the award.

During his four years as a Pioneer, Barrett had a tremendous impact on special teams, as a running back, and as a linebacker.  He was the undisputed leader of the defense this year, and he'll graduate holding the single game record with two blocked punts in a game.

Congrats to Barrett on a fine career and a bright future.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Dave Antrim "Every Play Matters" Memorial Scholarship

Center Jonathan Antrim '09, as big a fixture on the OL for four years as was his father Dave Antrim in the crowd
One of the greatest aspects of coaching at the Division 3 level, and at Grinnell College in particular, is getting to know the families of our student-athletes.  We recruit nation-wide, and even internationally, so there are some families I will only meet once or twice over a four-year period.  There are others, however, who are fortunate enough to make it to nearly every game, if not every single game.  One such parent was Dave Antrim, father of Jonathan Antrim '09.  From the moment Jonathan declared his intention to enroll at Grinnell, Dave became one of our biggest fans and supporters.  A driving force behind our Parents Pre-Game Tailgate, Dave was a regular at both home and road games.  Unfortunately, Dave recently passed away, but he left behind a large legacy both at Grinnell and at his high school alma mater, Salina Central.  As a result, Jonathan and the rest of the family have established the Dave Antrim "Every Play Matters" Memorial Scholarship.  The scholarship will be awarded each year to a Salina Central graduate that plans to play football at the collegiate level.  I can't think of a better way to honor a great man.  Thank you to Dave and to the Antrim family.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Former Pioneer Running for State Representative

Former Pioneer and US Marine corps veteran Pat Ritter is running for state representative in District 55 in Iowa.  Running on a platform of "investing in education, promoting the creation of good jobs, and taking care of our seniors and veterans," Ritter is a perfect fit for the district where he grew up.  Please check out his announcement on the Iowa House Democrats page.  

Ritter is looking to become the second Pioneer to be elected as a state representative.  Charles Blake is currently the representative for Arkansas' District 36, which includes his hometown of Little Rock.  Thanks for your service Charles, and good luck to you Pat!!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Graham Fisher Named Dick Ullrich Award Winner

The Pioneers hosted their annual banquet last Friday, and Graham Fisher took home one of the major awards of the evening.  Already named first-team all-conference for the second time (and all-conference for the third) Fisher took home the Dick Ullrich Award '34, presented annually to the best offensive or defensive back.  To my knowledge, the Ullrich Award has never been presented to a special teams player.  Fisher was not at the banquet, as he was capping a record breaking career by kicking and punting at the National Bowl in Miami.  Fisher returned home Monday in time to learn of his selection as a second team all-region punter by D3football.com.

Fisher averaged 41.7 yards per punt this past year, the 8th best single season in Midwest Conference history, and his 38.3 yard career average is 6th best.  He's 5th in punts inside the 20 with 17 in 2014, and 2nd in career punts inside the 20 with 62 (the record is 63).  Graham is also tied for 9th in MWC history with a 50 yard field goal against Beloit in 2012 (he also kicked a 49 yarder against Beloit this fall).

Graham has a lot to look forward to with the upcoming baseball season, but he will graduate as the best punter in Grinnell College history, and one of the best in MWC history.  Congrats Graham!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from the Pioneers!

If you've watched the news at all recently there is quite a bit going on right now, there is a lot to be concerned about.  I hope we're all able to set that aside today and spend some time with family and friends reflecting on all we have to be thankful for.  Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Poulos Signs In France

Poulos connects with Sandoval for the first TD of the 2015 season.
Following in the footsteps of former Pioneer quarterback Sean Pfalzer, Sam Poulos has signed with the Thonon Black Panthers in France.  Details are still coming, but this is a great opportunity for Sam to continue his playing career at a high level.

See the writeup on Thonon's facebook page here.

Good luck Sam!

Monday, November 23, 2015

What to do After a Long Recruiting Trip?

Immediately go on a long family trip!!

Headed for the Mountains!
After spending four productive recruiting days in Georgia, we packed up the family and hit the road.  We've made it to Colorado to join Grandpa and Grandma, and Aunt, Uncle, and Cousins for the Thanksgiving in the Rockies.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!