Monday, February 19, 2018
Matt is a quarterback from Montgomery Blair in Silver Spring, Maryland. An all-county selection, Matt throws a very nice deep ball and is a master of play action. He's a natural leader and a student of the game. We're very excited to get him on campus and getting to work!
Thursday, February 15, 2018
Dustin is a wide receiver and defensive back from Sioux City West. We will likely use him primarily as an offensive player, but I love his versatility. Dustin is a good route runner, is good with the ball in his hands, and is an effective blocker on the perimeter. He'll be a great fit with what we do offensively, and I can't wait to get him on board!
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Stephen is a versatile defensive player form St. Stephens Episcopal in Austin, TX. He has played defensive end, outside linebacker, and even a little inside linebacker. He's indicated that he prefers to play with his hand on the ground, and you gotta love that attitude! Stephen has a great frame and a high motor, we're very excited to add another piece to our rapidly improving defense. Can't wait to get you here, Stephen!
Friday, February 9, 2018
Will is a versatile offensive player that could line up as a wing, in the slot, or out wide. He even played quite a bit of defensive end as a senior. I love the versatility he brings, he should be a great addition to our offense, but I also love the character he'll bring to the team. Recently he was recognized at the Delaware Interscholastic Football Coaches Association All-State Banquet, where he was presented with the DIFCA Sportsmanship Award. Congratulations on your award Will, can't wait to get you here as part of the family!
Thursday, February 8, 2018
Patrick is our first two-sport commit of 2018. He's an outstanding kicker, as well as a very good baseball player. Patrick finished 45/46 on extra points and 5/5 on field goals as a senior, and was named first-team all-conference, all-county, and all-area. Patrick will provide a nice boost to our kicking game, we're very excited to add him to the Family.
Wednesday, February 7, 2018
Prescott Miller played on both the offensive and defensive lines at Hinsdale Central, and will most likely play on the offensive line for us. Hinsdale won a combined 18 games in the past two years, and Prescott was a staple for them over that time. He's got good feet and a nice frame, and I can't wait to get him playing up front for us! Welcome to the Pioneer Family, Prescott!
Anthony Johnson is an outstanding defensive player from Davenport Central in Davenport, IA. He's the younger brother of current Pioneer Rick Johnson, and comes to us with the versatility to play any number of positions on the defense. Anthony has great length, is quick off the ball, diagnoses plays quickly, and is a good hitter. It's been great to see Anthony grow from a solid player as a junior to a star for his team as a senior. We will have the most veteran defense we've had in years, with every single starter returning, but Anthony will no doubt work his way into the rotation. We're very excited about what he brings to the table!
Today is the nationally recognized signing day for college football. High school players from across the country will be making official what school they plan to attend and where they intend to continue their playing career. Like many other Division III institutions, our admissions timelines don't necessarily line up with signing day, but we have secured a strong group of players through the Early Decision process. I'll be spending time throughout the day, and the coming days, to introduce the newest members of the Pioneer Football Family. These are some great young men, and I'm very excited to have them join us next August!
Monday, January 15, 2018
In 2015 former Pioneer Charles Blake was elected to the State House of Representatives in Arkansas, representing District 36 in his hometown of Little Rock. Charles and I were teammates for one year and I coached him for two seasons. Always a great talker, when Blake was elected I figured the political arena would be a perfect for him. Having gotten stuck next to him on a long bus trip to Ripon, WI, I can certainly attest to his willingness to share an opinion and to his abilities in a debate! Charles enjoyed a fine career at Grinnell, both on the field and off, and has done well in his professional life thus far.
I’m introducing you to Charles now because today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and for the first time the State of Arkansas will be celebrating only King today. Since the ‘40’s, Arkansas has observed Robert E Lee Day in mid-January, and they began observing MLK Day as well. In 1985 the state combined the two holidays, and they have observed them together since. When Blake was elected as Representative in 2015, one of the first changes he pushed for was separating the two holidays. It’s been a long battle, and at times he’s faced some serious opposition, but last March Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed legislation that ended the practice of honoring both on the same day. According to AP reports, Hutchinson said the following, "I expected this debate would divide us, but instead during the debate we listened to each other and the conversation brought us together. This is an education bill in which the discussion educated each of us, and we learned that history needs to be viewed not just from our own lens, but through the eyes and experiences of others."
I'm sure I'm not doing the story justice, but I'm excited for Blake's victory and for the shifting attitudes that it highlights. Better days are ahead. I'm proud to call Charles my teammate and I'm proud of the work he's doing. We need more Pioneers like him! Congrats Chuck!
Saturday, January 13, 2018
Coming to Grinnell from Florida, Robbie stepped in and started on the offensive line from day one. Robbie started his first three seasons at center, before moving to right tackle as a senior. He was a steady, consistent presence day in and day out for four years. In 2016 he helped pave the way for the best team rushing total since 2004, and this year he helped running back Carson Dunn to the best individual rushing season since 2004.
Robbie has also spent countless hours working in the Fitness Center and the Training Room, providing valuable assistance to head trainer Sylla Lowther, and he has been a constant supporter of all our athletic teams at Grinnell. It will be tough to have an offensive line without Robbie next year, but his absence will be noticed much beyond the football team. Thank you Robbie!
Friday, January 5, 2018
Congratulations to Hassan Thompson for winning the Troy Barboza Courage Award! Former Pioneer Troy Barboza was enjoying a succesful career in law enforcement when he was involved in a major drug bust as an undercover detective. Days before he was scheduled to testify for the case, Barboza was murdered inside of his home. Because of the great display of courage Troy showed during his time at Grinnell, as well as during his time in law enforcement, we have honored his memory with this award each year since 1993. Notable past winners include Troy Dougherty (All American), Zack Fletcher, Nick Merklin, Tom Brinkman (who were all recognized as all-conference and all pursued a career in coaching and teaching) and Carson Dunn (last year’s winner).
In 2017 Hassan enjoyed his best season yet, recording 61 total tackles, 33 of them solo, 6 tackles for a loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries and a blocked punt. In week 2 against Trinity, Hassan's blocked punt traveled out of the back of the end zone for our first points of the game, giving us the momentum we needed to eventually come away with the 15-6 win.
Hassan was part of a start-up football program in high school, and was the heart and soul of that team. He came to Grinnell all the way from New Orleans, relying on his coaches and teammates to help ease the transition, while leaving family behind. He's grown as a person and as a leader each year, he's since moved his family here to Grinnell, and he's now one of the guys welcoming younger guys and mentoring them through their first weeks and months on campus. We're incredibly proud of all Hassan has accomplished at Grinnell, and we're anxious to see what he does next year in his senior season. Congratulations Hassan!