Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Jared Veldheer's drive to the NFL draft picking up steam

Hillsdale College senior offensive tackle Jared Veldheer got some exciting news to close out 2009. On Wednesday December 30th, the pro hopeful was officially invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Veldheer will compete against the rest of the linemen vying for a spot beginning February 24th.

The 6'8", 315 pound All-American begins his draft-focused training sessions this Monday at the D1 Sports Performance Center in Nashville, TN, co-owned by Peyton Manning. The facility has been the training home to NFL standouts Albert Hainsworth and DeAngelo Williams. Working specifically with Veldheer will be former 11 year pro Jason Mathews. Over 100 other combine invitees have trained at D1 Nashville.

Although invited to the D2 Cactus Bowl All-Star game, Veldheer will forgo that opportunity for the upcoming Texas vs. The Nation All-Star Game in El Paso on February 6th at 2 PM EST. That game has been in years past carried by CBS College Sports.

The NFL Draft will be held this year with Round 1 on Thursday April 23 at 7:30 PM, with the second and third rounds on Friday, April 23 at 6:30 p.m. ET, followed by Rounds 4-7 on Saturday, April 24 at 10 a.m. ET.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Real GM Football: Jeff Risdon's take on Hillsdale's Jared Veldheer

Real GM Football Jeff Risdon gives his weekly 10 cents. See what he has to say about senior Charger tackle Jared Veldheer's rising draft status. Veldheer is at .10.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Veldheer Earns AP Little All American Honors

Charger senior offensive tackle Jared Veldheer has been named to yet another All American team.

The AP Little All-American team features NAIA, D3, and D2 players.

Full Release

Midland Daily News: Pat Riepma, Faith, Family, and Friends

Editor's note: Pat Riepma is a member of the Hillsdale College athletic hall of fame as a Quarterback and served as the school's offensive coordinator and SID before leaving to take over the Northwood football program in 1993.

Midland Daily News
Chris Stevens
Published: Sunday, December 13, 2009 4:21 AM EST
When Pat Riepma stepped down as head football coach at Northwood University after the 2007 season, he knew he was in for a new adventure.

What he didn't know was that his journey would include an intense battle with cancer.

This past summer, Riepma, the NU athletics director, began a fight with tongue cancer that included extensive surgery and a one-two punch of radiation and chemotherapy. Through that process, he's had to have a tracheotomy inserted in his throat to help him breathe, he's been fed through feeding tubes, a section of his tongue has been surgically removed and reconstructed, affecting his speech, and he's lost 35 pounds.

But, just like he did on the football field for 15 years, where he set the NU record for most career wins (90), Riepma has never given up and has never wallowed in self-pity. It's not in his DNA.

Riepma competed to win.

He accepted the challenge of fighting cancer and has battled all four quarters.

"I have the utmost respect for my husband. He's my hero for what he's gone through," said Sherri Riepma, his wife of 22 years. "He never complained, and never asked, 'Why me?' He was an excellent role model for our (three) boys."

Riepma, who turns 49 in February, has completed radiation and chemotherapy treatment, and is on the mend. His speech is not yet back to normal, and he's still unable to taste food. But the 6-foot, 3-inch Riepma has been able to put on five pounds, and is now up to 165 from a low of 160.

He's optimistic about his future, though, and believes God is using this trial in a positive way to reach others and give them hope.

"I feel better every day," Pat said.

Full Article

Monday, December 14, 2009

Mike Gatt and Jim Eckhardt Named in Hall of Fame Class

Excerpt from Hillsdale College Release

Mike Gatt, M.D., was the quarterback behind Hillsdale’s 1985 NAIA national championship team and at the time of his graduation, holder of most passing records in school history. His 2,664 passing yards, 201 completions and 355 pass attempts were all single-season records that stood for 22 years.

He was a three-year starter for the Chargers and was named Academic All-American in 1984 and 1985. He was also the senior class president and was honored as the Senior Man of the Year.

Gatt was named NAIA All-American following that 1985 season, when he threw 25 touchdown passes. After graduating, Gatt earned his M.D. from Michigan State University in 1990 and served his residency at Providence Hospital in Southfield, Michigan. He is currently the chairman of the OB/GYN department at St. Mary Hospital in Livonia. He and his wife Maureen, also a Hillsdale College graduate, have four children: Meredith, Nickolas, Mitchell and Carson.

Jim Eckhardt has been a fixture at Hillsdale College sporting events for more than 20 years, and has handled color commentary for close to 1,000 football and basketball games in his career through his work with WCSR 92.1-FM in Hillsdale. A lively and energetic personality, Eckhardt lends a wonderfully lighthearted, but informed touch to all of his broadcasts.

He called his first Charger football game in 1975, and has approached every game since then with the same passion and love that have made him synonymous with Charger athletics. A former registered game official and father of a Hillsdale College alumn, Jim has also been a valued contributor and consultant to the Hillsdale College athletic department through the years. He has served on several coaching search committees and has been an important part of the Charger Club, actively involved in fundraising efforts for the department.

Hillsdale College Finishes #11 in final AFCA Poll

2009 American Football Coaches Association Division II Coaches’ Poll
December 14, 2009
RankSchool (1st votes) Rec. Pts. Prev. Postseason ResultsHead Coach
1. Northwest Missouri St. (25) 14-1 625 2 D. No. 3 Grand Valley St. (Mich.), 30-23, in championship Mel Tjeerdsma
2. Grand Valley St. (Mich.) 13-2 600 3 Lost to No. 2 Northwest Missouri St., 30-23, in championship Chuck Martin
3. Central Washington 12-1 558 1 Lost to No. 2 Northwest Missouri St., 21-20, in quarterfinals Blaine Bennett
4. Carson-Newman (Tenn.) 11-3 535 10 Lost to No. 3 Grand Valley St. (Mich.), 41-27, in semifinals Ken Sparks
5. Minnesota-Duluth 11-2 502 4 Lost to No. 3 Grand Valley St. (Mich.), 24-10, in quarterfinals Bob Nielson
6. North Alabama 11-2 492 5 Lost to No. 10 Carson-Newman (Tenn.), 24-21, in quarterfinals Terry Bowden
7. California (Pa.) 11-4 426 22 Lost to No. 2 Northwest Missouri St., 56-31, in semifinals John Luckhardt
8. Nebraska-Kearney 11-2 413 6 Lost to No. 4 Minnesota-Duluth, 42-7, in second round Darrell Morris
9. West Liberty (W.Va.) 11-2 377 9 Lost to No. 22 California (Pa.), 57-35, in quarterfinals Roger Waialae
10. Tarleton St. (Texas) 10-3 362 12 Lost to No. 1 Central Washington, 27-6, in second round Sam McElroy
11. Hillsdale (Mich.) 10-3 352 15 Lost to No. 3 Grand Valley St. (Mich.), 44-27, in second round Keith Otterbein
12. Minnesota St.-Mankato 10-2 310 8 Lost to No. 15 Hillsdale (Mich.), 27-24 OT, in first round Todd Hoffner
13. Abilene Christian (Texas) 9-4 307 18 Lost to No. 2 Northwest Missouri St., 35-10, in second round Chris Thomsen
14. Midwestern St. (Texas) 9-3 289 7 Lost to No. 18 Abilene Christian (Tex.), 24-21, in first round Bill Maskill
15. Shippensburg (Pa.) 9-3 272 17 Lost to No. 22 California (Pa.), 26-21, in second round Rocky Rees
16. Texas A&M-Kingsville 9-3 253 13 Lost to No. 12 Tarleton St. (Texas), 57-56 2OT, in first round Bo Atterberry
17. Tuskegee (Ala.) 10-2 244 14 D. Elizabeth City St. (N.C.), 21-7, in Pioneer Bowl Willie Slater
18. Arkansas Tech 9-3 235 21 Lost to No. 5 North Alabama, 41-28, in second round Steve Mullins
19. Saginaw Valley St. (Mich.) 9-3 206 16 Lost to No. 6 Nebraska-Kearney, 35-20, in first round Jim Collins
20. North Carolina-Pembroke 9-2 166 11 Lost to No. 21 Arkansas Tech, 41-13, in first round Pete Shinnick
21. West Alabama 8-5 113 NR Lost to No. 10 Carson-Newman (Tenn.), 59-41, in second round Bobby Wallace
22. Albany St. (Ga.) 8-3 106 20 Lost to West Alabama, 24-22, in first round Mike White
23. Charleston (W.Va.) 9-2 82 19 DNQ Playoffs Tony DeMeo
24. Edinboro (Pa.) 9-4 77 NR Lost to No. 9 West Liberty (W.Va.), 84-63, in second round Scott Browning
25. Washburn (Kan.) 8-3 43 24 DNQ Playoffs Craig Schurig

Veldheer and Berube named 2nd team Daktronics All-Americans, Cactus Bowl Invite News

Hillsdale College Release:

Drew Berube, Jared Veldheer named Second-Team All-American by Daktronics
Mark Petro, Berube to play at the Cactus Bowl
December 9, 2009 - Three members of the Hillsdale College football team will get to find out what January weather in Texas is like.

Seniors Drew Berube and Mark Petro have been selected to participate in the 2010 Cactus Bowl, scheduled for Jan. 8, 2010 in Kingsville, Texas. The Cactus Bowl is the Division II Football "All-Star Game," and features two teams made up of the best seniors from around the nation.

Veldheer will participate in the Texas vs. The Nation game, scheduled for Feb. 6 in El Paso, Texas. He was invited to participate in the Cactus Bowl, but will play in a different postseason game in Texas instead.

It is very rare for one team to have three players invited to a Cactus Bowl roster, but Hillsdale's heavy presence on the team underscores not only the skill level of those three players, but the high level of success achieved by the Charger program in 2009.

Hillsdale finished the season with a 10-3 record and qualified for the NCAA Division II playoffs for the first time. In their first trip, the Chargers won their first-round game, 27-24, on the road in overtime over Minnesota State-Mankato.

Petro, a First-Team All-GLIAC placekicker, holds Hillsdale College records for points in a career, extra points made in a career and field goals made in a career.

Berube and Veldheer were four-year starters on the defensive and offensive lines, respectively, for Hillsdale. Earlier Wednesday, both earned spots on the Daktronics 2009 Second-Team All-American list. Veldheer was a First-Team All-American selection by the AFCA earlier this week.

The Daktronics All-American teams are selected by Division II sports information directors around the country.

A total of eight Hillsdale College players have now been selected to play in the Cactus Bowl this decade. Previous Cactus Bowl participants included Silas Johnson (2003), Keith Recker (2007), Matt Vanover (2008) and Mark Nicolet (2008). Nicolet was named the MVP of the 2008 game.

Click on the links below for the 2010 Cactus Bowl webpage, along with the 2009 Daktronics Football All-American teams.

2010 Cactus Bowl

2009 Daktronics Football All-American Teams

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

3 Chargers invited to D2 All-Star Football Game has learned that Hillsdale College seniors Mark Petro (PK), Drew Berube (DL), and Jared Veldheer (LT) have been invited to participate in the NCAA Division II Cactus Bowl on January 8, 2010 in Kingsville, TX.

Jared Veldheer Tabbed AFCA All-American

Hillsdale College Press Release:

Jared Veldheer named AFCA First-Team All-American
December 8, 2009 - Hillsdale College senior offensive lineman Jared Veldheer was recognized among Division II's very best Tuesday morning.

Veldheer, a left tackle for the Chargers, was named First-Team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association. The news story image team was released by the AFCA Tuesday morning.

After starting all 46 games of his career and leading the Chargers to a 10-3 record in 2009, the postseason honors have been piling up for the 6-foot-9, 321-lb. Veldheer, who is from Grand Rapids, Mich. Earlier this fall, Veldheer was named First-Team All-GLIAC and First-Team All-Region, the latter honor being bestowed by both Daktronics and the AFCA.

Unique to college football is the number of postseason "all star" games that will take place, and Veldheer figures to be busy participating in many of those in the coming weeks. He has already secured a spot in the Texas vs. The Nation game, scheduled for Feb. 6 in El Paso, Texas. Veldheer is one of two Division II players on The Nation team, which will be coached by former University of Miami coach Howard Schnellenberger.

Veldheer is also a nominee for the Cactus Bowl, the Division II All-Star Game, scheduled for January. The rosters for that game have not yet been released.

In the most recent issue of Pro Football Draft Newsletter, Veldheer is projected as the No. 36 overall prospect in the 2010 NFL Draft. A capsul summary of Veldheer states that it wouldn't be surprising to see him get drafted before the fourth round.

Earlier this season, pegged Veldheer as the fourth-best draft prospect among all Division II players.

Veldheer is also one of six finalists for the Gene Upshaw Award, which goes to the top lineman (offense and defense included) in the nation. He is one of two All-Region representatives from Super Region 3 for the award and was the top regional vote-getter.

During his Hillsdale career, Veldheer led the Chargers to a 30-16 record from 2006-09 and was named First-Team All-GLIAC twice. He blocked for a 1,000-yard rusher each season of his career, and the Chargers had two of their highest-scoring seasons in their history (2007 and 2009) during Veldheer's career.

In 2009, Veldheer helped lead Hillsdale to a second-place finish in the GLIAC and the team's first-ever NCAA Division II playoff appearance. The Chargers won their first-round game, 27-24 in overtime, over Minnesota State-Mankato before losing to Grand Valley State in the regional semifinals on Nov. 21.

Veldheer has plenty of GLIAC company on the AFCA All-American Team this season. Joining Veldheer from other GLIAC schools on the team are Wayne State RB Joique Bell, Grand Valley State OL Nick McDonald, and Saginaw Valley State LB John Jacobs.

The AFCA has selected an All-American Team every year since 1945. The AFCA’s Division II All-America Selection Committee is made up of three head coaches from each of the AFCA’s nine districts, one of whom serves as a district chairman, along with another head coach who serves as the chairman of the selection committee. The coaches in each district are responsible for ranking the top players in their respective districts prior to a conference call between the district chairmen and the committee chairman on which the team is chosen. Only 25 players are named AFCA All-Americans each year in Division II.

To view the complete AFCA Division II All-American Team and press release, please click on the link below.

2009 AFCA Division II All-American release

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Otter Named Regional Coach of the Year

Keith Otterbein named Super Region 3 Coach of the Year
Hillsdale College Release
Third honor of football coach's career
December 2, 2009 - For the third time in his distinguished coaching career, Keith Otterbein has been recognized as the Regional Coach of the Year. The award was announced by the American Football Coaches Association Wednesday morning. news story image

Otterbein was one of five Division II coaches nationwide to earn regional honors by the AFCA. It is the first time he's earned the honor while coaching at Hillsdale, his alma mater.

Otterbein was previously named Regional Coach of the Year in 1992 and 1994 while coaching at Ferris State University. During those final three seasons with the Bulldogs, he led the team to 32 wins in 39 total games played.

With all his success, the 2009 season is certainly a high point in Otterbein's coaching career. On Sept. 5, he won his 100th career game as coach in Hillsdale's 37-35 home win over Michigan Tech. He would guide the Chargers to their best season in more than 20 years, with a 10-3 final record. On Oct. 10, he coached the Chargers to a 27-24 win over then-No. 1 Grand Valley State University, ending the Lakers' five-year regular season winning streak.

Hillsdale also qualified for the NCAA Division II playoffs for the first time in school history in 2009, and won its first playoff game, 27-24 in overtime, over Minnesota State-Mankato.

The 2009 GLIAC Coach of the Year, Otterbein has a career record of 108-81-3 as head coach. His 48 wins with the Chargers make him the fourth-winningest football coach in the 118-year history of Hillsdale College football. Over the past three seasons, Hillsdale's record of 25-10 is the second-best mark in the GLIAC.

Please click on the link below for the regional coach of the year release from the AFCA.

2009 AFCA Regional Coaches of the Year

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