Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Sunday, February 28, 2010 From Hillsdale College to combine star

INDIANAPOLIS — Two years ago, it was Pierre Garcon out of Division III Mount Union College. Last year, it was Johnny Knox out of D-II Abilene Christian. This year, could Jared Veldheer from D-II Hillsdale College be the next small-school standout to turn a sensational NFL Scouting Combine performance into a promising career?

Veldheer was one of the most impressive offensive linemen prospects to work out Saturday. He was a top performer in just about every category, and he measured in at 6-foot-8 and 312 pounds with 33-inch arms.

At the very least, Veldheer has one prominent NFL team executive on his side. Browns general manager Tom Heckert also attended Hillsdale and admitted that he had a soft spot for the mammoth offensive lineman.

“I’ve talked to his parents, actually, about the whole process,” Heckert said. “It’s an exciting time for the school. He’s a big-time player, and it’s exciting.”

Heckert said he believes Veldheer will become the first drafted player from Hillsdale since 1980. What better place for that process to start for Veldheer than the same stadium where Hillsdale’s most famous football alum, recently retired Colts offensive consultant Howard Mudd, plied his trade.

– Jason Feller

Original Post Browns GM Heckert talks about Hillsdale's Jared Veldheer

By Doug Farrar
Special to
Posted Feb 28, 2010

While it's generally difficult to get a sense of which players a team is looking out for at the Combine, Hillsdale offensive tackle Jared Veldheer should be on every Browns fan's watch list. Why? Heckert also went to Hillsdale, and he's had his eye on the talented and highly regarded player for a while. "I really do," Heckert said, when asked if he had a soft spot for Veldheer. "He’s going to be a drafted player. I don’t know if there has been a drafted player coming out of Hillsdale, I don’t think there has been. That’s obviously exciting. I’ve talked to him. I tried to meet him here last night, but I never got around to it. I talked to his parents about the whole process. This is an exciting time for the school because he’s a big-time player."

As a taller, quicker player, Veldheer fits the prototype of the Brown's line at this time, through Heckert and Holmgren generally prefer more power in their technicians. But who knows? There have been worse tie-breakers in selecting a player, and as Heckert starts to put a stamp on his new team, perhaps that's one way to do it.

Full Article

Saturday, February 27, 2010

One of the greatest days in Hillsdale Football History...and it's February

It doesn't get any bigger for Charger football alums than today.

Veldheer blows up Day 1 of the Combine

At day 1 of the NFL Combine, Jared Veldheer proved physically that he belongs among the best linemen in the country regardless of alma mater.

Bruce Campbell may have gotten the most hype on the NFL Network's coverage of the offensive linemen at the Combine with his 4.78 40, but only one athlete, had top 10 performances in all 10 tests posted by the NFL Saturday.

Hillsdale's Jared Veldheer won both the 3 cone drill and the short shuttle, while posting the 2nd best vertical, and recording the 4th best 40, 5th best broad jump, and 9th best bench press.

Ross Coaches the Night Train to Gold

Former Hillsdale running back Jason Ross has played an integral role in The United States breaking a 62 year golden drought in the 4 man bobsled. Behind Ross's push coaching, the Night Train driven by Steve Holcomb delivered America its first gold in the 4 man event since 1948. Ross told me on Friday that he would be mighty disappointed if the team didn't end up in the medal mix. They did more than that, setting numerous course records in the process.

Tracking Jared Veldheer at the Combine

Track Hillsdale's Jared Veldheer as he participates in the National Football League's Combine in Indianapolis here. Also keep up with the action and watch live at

Friday, February 26, 2010

Former Hillsdale RB Jason Ross checks in from the Olympics

Hillsdale College Football Alum turned bobsledder turned US National Team push coach/team chiropractor was kind enough to do an interview this morning. Just before he and the team headed up to the Whistler Sliding Center he checked in to trace his path from Hillsdale to Vancouver and give a preview of tonight's 4 man competition.

Jim Rome likes to hype his Jungle Karma. Well, I am hyping the Charger Blue Karma because Ross's boys went on to set 2 course records tonight and lead the field going into Day 2 of the sport's signature event.

Click to Listen.

NFL Combine Update: Jared Veldheer

In his first test of the NFL Combine, Hillsdale College Offensive Tackle Jared Veldheer cranked out 32 reps on the 225 pound bench press.

The combine for the linemen wraps up tomorrow with a day of the remaining physical tests.

(Reported by Shawn Zobel of

News Herald: OT was a big man on small campus

By Jeff Schudel

INDIANAPOLIS — The NFL Combine isn't just about the big stars such as Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh or Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford.

Sometimes it's about players from colleges many fans could not find on a map.

Jared Veldheer is an offensive tackle from Hillsdale College, a liberal arts school in Hillsdale, Mich., founded in 1844. And while most fans might not know the Hillsdale Chargers were 9-3 in 2009, or even what a Hillsdale Charger looks like, the NFL knows all about the 6-foot-8 Veldheer, rated ninth among draft-eligible tackles this year by NFLDraftScout.

The top three tackles in the draft are Russell Okung of Oklahoma State, Bryan Bulaga from Iowa and Trent Williams from Oklahoma. It is safe to say Hillsdale did not play the same schedule as those schools from the Big 12 and the Big Ten.

"I feel like that doesn't matter at this point because everybody here is through playing college football," Veldheer said, a little testily. "At this point it's a new slate for everybody."

Chances are good the Browns have already completed their homework on Veldheer. Browns general manager Tom Heckert graduated from Hillsdale.

"I knew that," Veldheer said. "He's actually part of the same fraternity I was a member of. He's president of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity."

Okung, Bulaga and Williams all play left tackle. The Browns don't need a left tackle because they have Joe Thomas. But they need a right tackle. John St. Clair, the Browns starter at right tackle in 2009, gave up 15.5 sacks the last two seasons — in 2008 with the Bears and 2009 with the Browns. So whether they draft Veldheer or someone else, they have to find an upgrade to replace St. Clair.

"Regularly outmuscled undersized Division II competition with ease, but still must prove he can handle matching up with the big boys," Pro Football Weekly wrote in its 2010 Draft guide. "An intriguing developmental left tackle prospect with outstanding measureables and upside."

Veldheer was a left tackle at Hillsdale, but he knows his future in the NFL might be on the right side. He is projected as a third-round pick. The Browns have two picks in that round — their own and the one they got when they traded Braylon Edwards to the Jets.

"Through training for the combine, I've been working with Brad Hopkins, who played 13 years for the Titans and was a two-time Pro Bowl player," Veldheer said. "For every rep we do on the left, we do one on the right. If a team already has a left tackle, I'd have no problem going to the right. I've heard both positions from the scouts."

Full Article

Detroit News: Hillsdale lineman Jared Veldheer enjoying NFL Combine

John Niyo / The Detroit News

Indianapolis -- Jared Veldheer plopped down in a chair, set down his backpack, and smiled.

Here he was, an offensive tackle out of tiny Hillsdale College, beginning the biggest job interview of his life at the NFL combine. And unlike some of his peers, he was in no hurry for it to end.

"I'm just taking it all in," Veldheer said. "Coming here, a lot of guys say it stresses you out or wears on you. But it hasn't been that way at all for me. I'm absolutely loving this opportunity.

"It's definitely a surreal thing to think that I'm in this position. But then once you start thinking about it, I've worked very hard to be in the position I'm in right now."

It certainly shows. Veldheer has emerged as one of the more intriguing prospects in the 2010 draft class: a raw, athletic talent who checked in Thursday at 6-foot-8 -- "and one-eighths" -- and 312 pounds. He's projected as a mid-round pick, but could move even higher with an impressive showing here.

And he's ready to do just that, vowing to finish in the top three in his position group in all of the measurable drills Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium. He runs a sub-5.0 40-yard dash, can do 34 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press, and has been working out at D1 Sports Training in Nashville, alongside other better-known prospects like Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.

From The Detroit News: Read the rest.

Green Bay Press Gazette: A Hillsdale Man?

Green Bay Press Gazette, February 26, 2010,

A Hillsdale man

Could Jared Veldheer become the second player from Hillsdale College in Michigan to play for the Packers? Maybe.

The first was kicker Chester Marcol, who was the Packers’ kicker from 1972 to 1980.

Veldheer is an interesting left tackle prospect out of Division II Hillsdale. He measured in Thursday at 6-feet-8 ¼ inches and 312 pounds, and over his college career he developed into a surprisingly athletic player considering his size and the level of football he played. The Packers are likely to draft a left-tackle prospect this year as a possible successor to Chad Clifton, whom they want to re-sign for at least one more season, and Veldheer is a player they’re surely looking at closely. He could be drafted as high as late in the second round.

At the combine Thursday, Veldheer said the first thing teams ask him in interviews is why he went to Hillsdale. He tells them that in the summer between his junior and senior years in high school in Grand Rapids, Mich., he attended some college-prospect camps but didn’t perform well because his high school ran the Wing T offense.

“All we did was down block, no pass sliding or anything,” he said, “so going to those camps with all that passing footwork and concepts foreign, I just tried to rely on basketball footwork, and I guess it didn’t go the way those bigger schools wanted it to. Kind of fell down their radar.”

He went to Hillsdale because he had a brother, Aaron, who played basketball there and enjoyed it.

Veldheer also said that coming out of high school he weighed only 255 pounds, could max bench press only his weight and ran the 40-yard dash in 5.5 seconds. Now he’s 312 pounds, has a max bench of 425 pounds, and in his workout this weekend expects to break 5.0 seconds in the 40, which is a superb time for a left tackle.

“I was familiar with the school, it was a great fit,” he said. “Liked the school’s values and the coaching staff there. It was a great decision.”

Original Article

Thursday, February 25, 2010's Tom Kowalski on GLIAC's Jared Veldheer and Joique Bell at the Combine

I asked Tom "Killer" Kowalski what the Combine could do for Hillsdale's Jared Veldheer while the following caller piggy backed a question about Wayne State's Joique Bell.

Killer is a frequent guest on the Sean and Terp show heard weekdays from 3-6 on ESPN 96.1 in West Michigan.

Click to Listen

Athlon spends the day training with Jared Veldheer, Jordan Shiplely, and Tim Tebow

Nathan Rush from recently spent a day taking in the pre-Combine training at D1 Sports in Nashville, TN where Hillsdale College's NFL Draft prospect Jared Veldheer is training with other high profile pro football hopefuls.

Read his full article. (picture from

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sporting News: NFL Combine Schedule

The Sporting News: Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009

A day-by-day look at the major events at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Coverage will also air on the NFL Network: Saturday-Tuesday, coverage of workouts air at 11 a.m., 4 p.m., 8 p.m., 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. ET.

Thursday, Feb. 19

Offensive linemen
, tight ends & kickers/punters: Measurements (height, weight, arms, hands), physical exams, Wonderlic Test, interviews with NFL team personnel.

Quarterbacks, wide receivers & running backs: Pre-physical exams and X-rays, interviews with NFL team personnel.


Offensive linemen & tight ends: NFLPA meeting, Wonderlic Test, interviews with NFL team personnel.

Kickers/punters: NFLPA meeting, workouts (40, 3-cone drill, 20-yard and 60-yard shuttles, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump), interviews with NFL team personnel.

Quarterbacks, wide receivers & running backs: Measurements (height, weight, arms, hands), physical exams, Wonderlic Test, interviews with NFL team personnel.

Defensive linemen & linebackers: Pre-physical exams and X-rays, interviews with NFL team personnel.


Offensive linemen & tight ends: Workouts (40, 3-cone drill, 20-yard and 60-yard shuttles, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump).

Quarterbacks, wide receivers & running backs: NFLPA meeting, Wonderlic Test, interviews with NFL team personnel.

Defensive linemen & linebackers: Measurements (height, weight, arms, hands), physical exams, Wonderlic Test, interviews with NFL team personnel.

Cornerbacks & safeties: Prephysical exams and X-rays, interviews with NFL team personnel.


Quarterbacks, wide receivers & running backs: Workouts (40, 3-cone drill, 20-yard and 60-yard shuttles, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump).

Defensive linemen & linebackers: NFLPA meeting, Wonderlic Test, interviews with NFL team personnel.

Cornerbacks & safeties: Measurements (height, weight, arms, hands), physical exams, Wonderlic Test, interviews with NFL team personnel.


Defensive linemen & linebackers: Workouts (40, 3-cone drill, 20-yard and 60-yard shuttles, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump).

Cornerbacks & safeties: NFLPA meeting, Wonderlic Test, interviews with NFL team personnel.


Cornerbacks & safeties: Workouts (40, 3-cone drill, 20-yard and 60-yard shuttles, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump).

Saturday, February 20, 2010

WIN BIG MONEY and help Hillsdale High Athletics


There are LOTS of tickets left. Please buy a ticket to win! $100 per ticket. $7500 JACKPOT!

Support the athletic program that has produced countless CHARGERS including Otterbein, Blanchard, English, Berube, Vear, Campbell, etc.

Call Debbie Layman for tickets at 517-439-5152. COME TO JOHNNY T'S TONIGHT. Doors open at 5 pm. Dinner at 6.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Todd McShay Calls Jared...or Ed...Veldheer as his sleeper in the trenches

I love ESPN football analysts Mel Kiper and Todd McShay in the Draft Lab.

I really, really love it when they are talking up a Hillsdale College Charger like Jared Veldheer...even if McShay refers to him as "Ed" Veldheer at the end of the video.

Thursday, February 18, 2010 Veldheer hopes to hear his name on draft day

Veldheer hopes to hear name on draft day
David Fox College Football Staff Writer

FRANKLIN, Tenn. -- Jared Veldheer is preparing for the draft just like any other NFL hopeful. He just took a different route to get here.

At D1 Sports Training in suburban Nashville, Veldheer -- who played at Division II Hillsdale (Mich.) College -- is running through cones on the same artificial turf where another offensive tackle, Ole Miss' Michael Oher, trained before becoming a first-round pick a year ago. On the other side of a partition from Veldheer is Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, who is lifting weights.

Despite coming from a Division II school, Hillsdale (Mich.) College, offensive tackle Jared Veldheer is just as likely to get drafted as Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.
Veldheer didn't compete for a Heisman and didn't appear in a Super Bowl commercial, as Tebow did. He wasn't the subject of an Oscar-nominated movie, as Oher was. But on draft day, NFL teams won't care about the notoriety gap between prospects.

"I think at first [the small-school players] might be a little uneasy being around guys from all these big programs," said Kurt Hester, D1's director of training. "And then after a week, they see they're just as strong, just as fast, just as athletic -- or more athletic."

In the past four drafts, only 26 of the 1,018 players drafted didn't play in Division I. But three starters in the Super Bowl didn't play for D-I programs -- Saints guard Jahri Evans (Bloomsburg, Pa.) and Colts wide receiver Pierre Garcon (Mount Union) and tight end Gijon Robinson (Missouri Western).

Though even hard-core college football fans aren't familiar with Veldheer's body of work at Hillsdale, Veldheer is just as likely to be drafted in April as Tebow. Though Veldheer isn't a first-round prospect, he still could end up in the same spot as Oher, too, as a starting tackle for an NFL team.

In Division II, Veldheer's college career took a different path than his counterparts in big-time college football. Hillsdale bused to nearly every game, including an 11-hour ride to Michigan's upper peninsula. He didn't have a staff of strength and conditioning coaches watching his every move in the weight room. His offensive line coach doubled as the strength coach at Hillsdale, a school with an enrollment of 1,300. (The school's major distinction is its refusal to take any federal or state taxpayer support, meaning Hillsdale is not subject to state and federal laws related to funding, such as Title IX.)

But at D1, Veldheer looks every bit the part of a draft prospect. He's a lean 315 pounds at 6 feet 8. He can bench press 225 pounds 33 times, high numbers for someone with 33-inch arms. He's a former basketball player, and his athleticism shows it. Off the field, he has a GPA of better than 3.1 and will graduate with a biology degree when he finishes his thesis after the draft.

Full Article

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hillsdale to host its first ever Pro Day

NFL scouts will be descending upon The Dale this coming March as Hillsdale hosts its first ever Pro Day.

Scouts will have the opportunity to evaluate film and then watch a number of athlete perform a number of physical tasks that have become common combine tests like the 40 yard dash, short shuttle, vertical leap, and bench press.

Pro prospect OT Jared Veldheer is expected to perform for scouts at the Pro Day after participating in the NFL Combine this weekend.

Hillsdale K Mark Petro, DE Drew Berube, TE Matt Patillo, WR AJ Kegg should all get a good look from scouts as well. Expect the Pro Day to attract other area seniors. Last season Aaron Waldie and Tom Korte performed at the Grand Valley State Pro Day.

This is a pretty big statement about how far Charger football has come in the past few years.

Let's hope this is the first of many future Pro Days.

The event is for NFL scouts and prospective players and not an open spectator event. Attendance is by special arrangement.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Oregon DE headed East to Hillsdale

South Medford, Oregon defensive end Brett Wallan (6'1" 230) has made Hillsdale College his choice for pursuing his college football career.

Wallan jumped on the Charger Blue radar when reported that he had interest and was being recruited by Army but still liked Hillsdale. He was also on the radar of schools like Hawaii, Idaho, and nearby Oregon State.

Wallan's defensive coordinator Mike Johnston had this to say about him at, "It was real pleasure to coach Brett. We referred to him as the 'ball magnet'. Anytime Brett was near a ball carrier chances were that something good was going to happen for the defense. In his first series as a varsity player he knocked the ball loose from the QB. In the course of the season he caused six fumbles, recovered 6, intercepted two passes and returned 1 for a TD. He was also in double digits in tackles for a loss. Brett is very intense in studying the nuances of the game and soaks up coaching like a sponge. Brett is a leader by example and his teammates rely on him and think of him as a rock!"

Nate Shreffler named Hillsdale Offensive Coordinator, Otterbein and Nicolet join Charger staff

Hillsdale College Release

Nate Shreffler named offensive coordinator; Nicolet, Otterbein join Charger coaching staff

For the first time in nearly four years, the Hillsdale College coaching staff has undergone some changes, but there are familiar faces rejoining the program.

Offensive line coach Nate Shreffler will continue in that role, but has been promoted to the position of offensive coordinator. Shreffler, entering his 11th season on the staff , takes the place of Barry Fagan, who resigned to accept the head coaching spot at Ave Maria University, an NAIA school in Florida that will begin play in the 2011 season.

Shreffler, who played at Hillsdale College from 1989-1993, joined the program’s coaching staff at the beginning of the 2000 season. Since then, he has skillfully guided the offensive line and has coached two players who have played in postseason All-Star games: Silas Johnson (2003 Cactus Bowl) and recent All-American Jared Veldheer (2010 Texas vs. Th e Nation Game). Shreffler is the longest tenured coach on the football staff.

Two Charger football alumns will also join the staff for the 2010 season. Steve Otterbein, who played at Hillsdale from 2002-06, is coaching the team’s wide receivers. After graduation, Otterbein spent three seasons as a graduate assistant at Eastern Michigan University, where he was involved in all aspects of the program’s operation. Otterbein is the oldest son of head coach Keith Otterbein.

Mark Nicolet, a quarterback for the Chargers from 2004-07, will become the team’s new quarterbacks coach starting this fall. Nicolet was the 2007 GLIAC Player of the Year and shattered many single-season and career school records at the position. He was also named All-American by Don Hansen’s Football Gazette, was the MVP of the 2008 Cactus Bowl, and was the GLIAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the 2007-08 academic year. Nicolet is currently competing in his third season of professional football, for the Barcelona Pioners in Spain.

Aaron Shreffler, the team’s defensive line coach, will inherit the duties of strength and conditioning coach from his older brother.

Hillsdale will open the 2010 season under the lights, on Friday, September 3 when it hosts Ferris State for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Heavy, heavy hearts surrounding a Charger brother right now.

Running for over 12 years now has provided me with the opportunity to share some amazing highlights, especially over the course of the past year. It has also provided a number of low-lights as well. Fortunately, most of those took place on the football field and the beauty of them is that they fade away by the next Saturday or the next season. There haven't been too many of the truly sad moments to report. Even low points like Jill Shreffler being diagnosed with cancer or this year's Secret Santa project were able to end with beating the disease or an uplifted family for the holidays. Today is not one of those days...but it can still be to some extent.

I received an email yesterday from 2003 grad and former Charger football player Brian Gephart telling of the fight 2002 grad and Gephart's teammate Josh Kuntz' family was enduring. Josh's wife Sarah was strickened with bone cancer shortly after the birth of their son two years ago. She had fought it valiantly but as the disease lingered, more and more of the family's life began to deteriorate financially.

A friend of Sarah's began a website and created a CD as a fundraiser to family. After reading Brian's email last night, I began to think of all of the ways we the Charger family might be able to help the cause. When I visited Songs for Sarah today, I read the very sad news that Sarah had lost her fight yesterday afternoon.

Josh and his young son need our support now more than ever as he deals with the finality of the fight, the loss of his high school sweetheart, and faces a future as a single father. In the coming days, I will update with more information on how to best support our Charger brother through such a difficult time. In the meantime please visit Songs for Sarah and make a donation.

God bless you Josh. Your Hillsdale family has your back.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Texas VS. The Nation in Pictures

Thanks to the Veldheer's for being the Chargerblue Super Fans over the past 5 years and sharing these.

Check out Mary's great pictures from the recent Texas VS. The Nation Challenge in El Paso.

Find more photos like this on Chargerblue Space

Former Charger Jason Ross helps US Bobsledders go downhill fast

By Greg Johnson | The Grand Rapids Press

February 11, 2010, 9:00AM
Jason Ross Olympic bobsledding
Jason Ross, third from front, was on the U.S. bobsled team in 2004-06 and was an alternate at the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy.

GRAND RAPIDS -- Jason Ross is in Vancouver for the Olympic Games with the U.S. bobsled team, giving "behind-the-scenes support staff" a new meaning.

Ross, 33, a Grand Rapids chiropractor planning to open a private practice in April near downtown, is the team's first official chiropractor. He also is serving as push coach for the team.

"It's amazing to think about being part of it," he said after a recent return from competition and training in Europe. "It's almost more fun to help someone else get there, to see them through the hard work and help them stay healthy and qualify. It's pretty amazing, and I'm looking forward to it."

Ross, a Jackson native and former Hillsdale College football player and track athlete, also is a former member of the U.S. Bobsled team. He was on the team in 2004-06, and was an alternate to the U.S. Olympic bobsled team that competed at the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy.

"I was the alternate in the foursomes waiting for someone in case they got hurt, then I could go," he said. "Nobody got hurt and, obviously, I wasn't really wishing for that.

"The guys on that team are really good friends. I guess I'm getting my chance to be part of the Olympics now."

Full Article
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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

BYU gives us all a lesson in sportsmanship

Thanks to the father of Ashland WR Joe Horn for sharing this on the message board.

Before BYU's showdown with rival Air Force, the Cougar Athletic Department ran this video on the jumbotron in Lavelle Edwards Stadium.

Now compare that to one that our buddies up in Allendale ran at halftime of a game vs. Ferris State where the Lakers were already up by 3 or 4 touchdowns. This was a winner in a student video contest and 1st prize was to get your work shown at halftime. Needless to say, the spirit and timing leave a lot to be desired.

Special Edition Podcast: Offseason Rundown with Andy Brown

Both Andy Brown and I catch a break today from teaching with a snow day. No better way to spend it than talking Charger Football.


Recruiting 2010
Barry Fagan accepts head coaching position at Ave Maria University
The growing buzz around Jared Veldheer

Click to listen.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Loveland, Ohio Kicker Matt Eltringham headed to Hillsdale

With four year starter and All American Mark Petro vacating the kicking duties, one had to figure the Charger football staff would include a replacement candidate in the mix of signings this past week.

Not yet appearing on the official Hillsdale College list, but featured at is kicker Matt Eltringham from Loveland HS in Loveland, Ohio.

Matt Eltringham résumé - More at
2 year varsity letter winner
2010 - 3 of 4 FG and 31 of 34 extra points
Finished 3rd in recent National Kicking Combine
All FAVC Academic Team
3.9 GPA and plans to study business

America's Greatest High School Athlete Jim Ryun to speak at Hillsdale on February 14

Courtesy of Hillsdale College

Great Week for Jared Veldheer, Great Week for Hillsdale and D2

Almost every article that came out of El Paso, TX this past week in regards to the Texas Vs. The Nation Challenge seemed to find at least a little space to mention Hillsdale College's Jared Veldheer.

They all talked about his natural size, great athleticism, and the fact that he was more than holding his own in individual drills. 6-8, 321, and a sub-5 40 yard dash will jump out at anybody and it was natural that Veldheer would garner some intrigue. Add in the fact that he is coming out of a 1300 student school and it is a natural story.

A story like that usually runs its course after day 1 or 2, but Jared Veldheer kept his name in the news all week, drew special attention during the game, and wound up keeping his name in the mix through all of the wrap-ups.

CBS Sports' Chad Reuter wrote on Saturday night, "Small-school tackles performed well throughout the week and the Nation's Jared Veldheer (Hillsdale College) looked like the same athletic, powerful lineman he did all week in practice, taking quick ends around the pocket and adjusting well to an inside spin move by quick Junior Galette (Stillman College). Veldheer blocked on kickoff return coverage."

This kind of consistency out of Hillsdale's best pro prospect since Chester Marcol will only bolster Jared's draft stock. All signs point to a similar performance at this month's NFL Combine.

Not only did the Jared Veldheer brand gain some much deserved publicity this week, so did the Hillsdale College football well as Division II football in whole. At no point did Jared or other D2 stars like Kelton Tindal of Newberry and West Texas AM's J'Marcus Webb look like they didn't belong with the so-called "big boys".

I was IMing on Facebook with editor Brandon Meisner toward the end of the game and we were discussing how much Hillsdale was getting mentioned as well as That stuff really matters these days. If you don't think so, look at the class of recruits Grand Valley and Northwest Missouri State just signed, enhanced by playing two straight weeks on national TV. you Jared, great week of work! Not only have you helped to solidify your professional opportunities, but you are doing a bundle for Charger football and D2 football as well. Keep it up!

(Photo by Mary Veldheer)

Friday, February 05, 2010

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Hillsdale continues to add recruits

Hillsdale College has updated its list of incoming football players with 6 additions to the one published last evening.

WR Jacob Ackerman, 5-7, 160, Linden HS, MI
QB Drew Collins, 5-10, 170, Adrian HS, MI
TE/LB Scott Hough, 6-2, 210, Jackson Lumen Christi HS, MI
RB Alexander Koski, 5-8, 176, Grosse Pointe South HS, MI
WR Brett Miller, 5-11, 165, Scottsdale Christian Academy, AZ
DE Joseph Snyder, 6-0, 225, Detroit Catholic Central HS, South Lyon, MI

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Adrian QB makes Hillsdale late choice

Excerpt from Adrian Telegram, Brian Calloway

(Drew) Collins decided Tuesday night to attend Hillsdale over Fairmont State (W. Va.). He will join the Chargers as strictly a quarterback.

“It was tough because I built such a good relationship with the quarterback coach at Fairmont,” said Collins, who threw for 1,484 yards and 15 touchdowns and ran for 1,173 yards and 16 scores while guiding Adrian to an 10-2 mark this season. “I met him at the Michigan camp and it was hard not to go there. The big thing was the school was six hours away. Hillsdale is 30 minutes away and all my friends and family can watch.”

Hillsdale had its best record in 17 years with its 10-3 mark last fall and reached the Division II playoffs for the first time in school history.

Collins, who went 17-5 as Adrian’s starting quarterback and was the county Offensive Player of the Year each of the past two seasons, is one of two quarterbacks the Chargers signed. He said having former Adrian teammate Nick Galvan also at Hillsdale helped with his decision.

“I called Nick (Tuesday) and he’s been great through the process,” Collins said. “He came and saw me when I was on my visit. It’s nice to have someone that I know and that will help make me better.”

Galvan, a defensive back, was a key contributor to the Chargers defense as a freshman last fall and finished fourth on the team with 69 tackles.

Original Article/image

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A Closer Look: LB Jake Weddle

Jake Weddle played most of his high school football in Michigan at Northville High School but made a big move to big-time 4A Texas football before the start of his senior year.

Weddle had a monster year for Frisco Liberty on his way to first team All-State honors:
106 tackles (67 solo), 12 TFL, 8 fumbles caused, 3 INTs, 1.5 sacks, 2 fumbles recovered (1 TD)

He was named Dallas Morning News Defensive Player of the Week following a 49-21 win against cross-town Wakeland HS.

SportsDay defensive football player of the week: Jake Weddle

12:31 AM CST on Monday, November 2, 2009
By MARK DENT / The Dallas Morning News

School: Frisco Liberty

Jake Weddle

Who he is: A 6-2, 220-pound senior linebacker

What he did: In a 49-21 victory against Frisco Wakeland, Weddle made 18 tackles and forced four fumbles for a defense that forced 10 turnovers. One of his forced fumbles came with the score tied, 21-21, and set up Liberty's go-ahead touchdown.

He said it: "We understood how big this game was. This was to clinch the playoffs. We all understood what kind of game it was. We were prepared and knew how to stop them."

Coach said it: "Our defense really had the best game we had all year, and Jake was just awesome. He had a great personal effort. In our district, it's been tough because the offenses are so good." ­ Galen Zimmerman

Did you know? Weddle moved to Texas from Michigan this summer. "I am upset I waited this long to move here. It's exciting. The football is faster. It's better." ... He would like to play college football in Texas. His goal is to get an offer from North Texas.

A Closer Look: WR Zach Crawford

From the high school that produced Big Ben Roethlisberger and Big Karl Heidrich comes (Big?) Zach Crawford. Led Findlay HS to share of Greater Buckeye Conference title, all-region, special mention All Ohio.

A Closer Look: OL Nick DeMiro

Nick DeMiro is a big and athletic offensive lineman from Rochester Adams HS in the suburban Detroit area. DeMiro passed on offers from the Naval Academy and Southern Illinois to become a Charger.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Hillsdale Announces Initial Signing of 14 players

Click image for bigger list.

Hillsdale College Release

February 3, 2010

Charger football program restocks talent with 2010 recruiting class

Hillsdale College head football coach Keith Otterbein is pleased to announce the latest additions to the Charger football program. The team signed several players to national letetrs of intent Wednesday, and as has been its custom in recent years, expects to add more players leading up to the start of fall camp in August.

“Our staff did another outstanding job in going out to find young men who will not only help us win games on the field, but will be true assets to the college community,” Otterbein said. “We have a staff that relishes the challenge that comes with recruiting players to Hillsdale College, and a big part of our success in recent years has come because of their hard work during the recruiting season.”

Among the 14 players joining the team on signing day, two will come to Hillsdale from one of the most successful prep programs in Michigan, Detroit Catholic Central. Signees Butch Herzog and Joseph Snyder were teammates on a Shamrocks team that won the Division I state championship in 2009. Cross-town rivals from Findlay, Ohio - Zach Crawford (Findlay High School) and Brett Pasche (Liberty Benton High School) will be on the same team next year. Eight members of this class have overall high school grade point averages of 3.7 or higher.

Hillsdale is coming off its best football season since joining Division II in 1992. The Chargers finished the 2009 campaign with a 10-3 record, qualifying for the Division II Playoffs for the first time in school history. The team finished in second place in the GLIAC, and ended a five-year regular-season winning streak by Grand Valley State, in a 27-24 win over the Lakers on October 10.

Hillsdale’s 2010 season will kick off under the lights, as the Chargers will host Ferris State University in a non-league game Friday night, Sept. 3 at Frank “Muddy” Waters Stadium.

Signing Day: The Waiting Game

I am waiting to share Hillsdale's official list when it is posted.

All tidbits I have and will continue to post are announcements made by other news outlets.

At the Division II level, this process can linger on for a few days to a few weeks. Keep checking for the latest and most up to date information.

CBS Sports Texas Vs. Nation: Day 2 Notes

From Chad Reuter Senior Analyst

Nation practice

Prize prospects

Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton and Hillsdale left tackle Jared Veldheer were hard for scouts to take their eyes off in Tuesday's practice and that will be a recurring theme this week. They are odds-on favorites to be the highest-drafted players from this game.

Crompton completed only 58.3 percent of his passes for the Vols in 2009, but his accuracy has been good in drills and in live action this week. His velocity and spiral have been consistently better than any of the quarterbacks in the East-West Shrine Game or Senior Bowl practices, outside of West Virginia's Jarrett Brown (who struggled mightily against pressure in the game). Crompton does need to unload more quickly when throwing intermediate and deep outs, on which receivers struggled to stay in bounds even if the ball is thrown on the money.

Veldheer is this year's version of Sebastian Vollmer, the Houston offensive tackle who wowed scouts enough at the 2009 East-West practices to earn a late second-round pick by the Patriots (and a starting spot on the right side). His athleticism -- at 6-8, 315 pounds -- is astounding and he plays with real toughness and consistent arm extension in pass protection. After he runs a sub-5.0 40-yard dash at the Combine, Veldheer's almost assured of being a top-75 selection.

Veldheer's play hasn't been perfect. Impressive Rutgers defensive end George Johnson displayed great power and speed to beat him with an outside-in move in one-on-one drills. Johnson let Veldheer know about it afterward, but failed to beat him the second time around. Veldheer took him around the pocket and continued to pound Johnson well after the end had given up trying to win the battle.

Full Article

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: Gabe Starkey, QB, Whitko HS, IN has committed

Fort is reporting this morning that All Conference and honorable mention all-state QB Gabe Starkey will sign with Hillsdale later today.

Indiana QB Gabe Starkey, season highlights

Sunday's Super Bowl will be Howard Mudd's Last Game

From St. Louis Globe-Democrat's Super Bowl Notes

After 12 spectacular seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, and a league-high 36 consecutive seasons as an NFL offensive line coach, Howard Mudd says Super Bowl XLIV will be his final game.

"This is really it, I'm done after this game," Mudd confirmed Tuesday.

Mudd says he and his wife, Shirley, will move to their home in Washington state. "It's in the mountains. You can see a mountain out of every window."

Mudd himself leaves a mountainous legacy as an NFL player and coach.

Under his guidance, the Colts offensive line allowed a league-low 227 sacks in the last 192 games, but his versatility as a mentor also helped produce numerous 1,000-yard rushers, including Dominic Rhodes, whose 1,104 yards in 2001 was the most ever by an undrafted rookie.

Mudd, who will be 68 next Wednesday (Feb. 10), graduated from Hillsdale College (Mich.) and began his NFL career as a guard for the Francisco 49ers (1964-69) and was a three-time Pro Bowl starter (1966-68) and two-time All-NFL selection (1967-68). He was traded to the Chicago Bears in 1969 and retired as a player in 1971, his career cut short by a severe knee injury. He was named to the NFL All-Decade Team of the 1960s.

His coaching career began at University of California in 1972. In 1973 the Bears, with Steve Bartkowski at quarterback and Chuck Muncie at running back, led the nation in total offense featuring an attack that was perfectly balanced in terms of running and passing.

In 1974 Mudd began his NFL coaching career with the San Diego Chargers. He moved to San Francisco 49ers (1977), Seattle Seahawks (1978-82; 1993-97), Cleveland (1983-88) and Kansas City (1989-92).

"I have loved all of it," Mudd said. "I wouldn't change a thing. I think we made a difference everywhere we went. Yes it is probably emotional to think this will be my final game. I'm handling it right now. Maybe five minutes from now I'll walk over there and cry my eyes out. But, really, they'd be tears of joy."

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Northwest's Evan Bach to sign with Hillsdale College

Northwest's Evan Bach to sign with Hillsdale College staff report

Posted Feb 02, 2010 @ 11:37 AM

Northwest High School senior Evan Bach will sign a national letter of intent Wednesday to play football at Hillsdale College, an NCAA Division II school in Michigan.

Bach was named third-team All-Ohio as a wide receiver last fall after helping Northwest reach the Division III regional finals. He caught 64 passes for 924 yards, scoring 17 total touchdowns.

As a junior, he was second-team All-Ohio as a running back, when he rushed for 1,961 yards and scored 23 total TDs.

Cincinatti Enquirer: Loveland Tailback Commits to Chargers

The Cincinatti Enquirer is reporting that Loveland, OH tailback and OLB Isaac Spence has verbally committed to play football for Hillsdale College in the fall.

Check out for more on the 6' 2", 210 pounder.

Image from

Monday, February 01, 2010

Texas vs. Nation gets higher profile with lower-profile guys

The Texas vs. the Nation Challenge can become an afterthought on the postseason all-star game circuit, primarily because it is held in El Paso the week after the heralded Senior Bowl.

The success of recent participants has helped raise interest in the game among scouts and administrators.

Colts playoff hero Pierre Garcon is one of the Texas vs. Nation recent alumni. (Getty Images)

Colts playoff hero Pierre Garcon is one of the Texas vs. Nation recent alumni. (Getty Images)

Twenty-five players who participated in the Challenge last season were drafted in April, including immediate NFL contributors such as Bears wide receiver Johnny Knox (Abilene Christian), Packers offensive lineman T.J. Lang (Eastern Michigan), Bengals running back Bernard Scott (Abilene Christian) and Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb (Nicholls State). Alumni from the 2008 game include left tackle Demetrius Bell (Bills/Northwestern State), wide receiver Pierre Garcon (Colts/Mount Union) and running back Tim Hightower (Cardinals/Richmond).

The 2010 rosters -- no longer fully tied to geographical boundaries -- are filled with small-school stars and solid players from major programs not invited to the East-West or Senior Bowl.

Quarterback Ryan Perrilloux (6-feet-2, 228 pounds, 4.87 40-yard dash) went from LSU wunderkind to Ohio Valley Conference star at Jacksonville State. Off-field issues were at the root of his problems in Baton Rouge, and he'll have to wow with his performance to earn a look from NFL teams.

Quick receiver and return specialist Preston Parker (5-11, 195, 4.49) had a similar road to North Alabama after initially attending Florida State.

Defensive end/rush linebacker Junior Galette (6-2, 255, 4.63) transferred from Temple to Stillman for his senior season after an off-field incident.

The performances of that trio at Texas vs. Nation practices and team interviews during the week will have a large effect on their final draft standing.

Players from outside the Football Bowl Subdivision (former Division 1A) to watch this week include hustling South Dakota State defensive end Danny Batten (6-3, 250, 4.68), agile end/linebackers Tim Knicky (Stephen F. Austin, 6-4, 236, 4.64) and Adrian Tracy (William & Mary, 6-3, 243, 4.70), strong but quick running back Deji Karim (Illinois State, 5-9, 204, 4.48), productive receiver Juamorris Stewart (Southern University, 6-1, 196, 4.56), and tall, athletic offensive tackle Jared Veldheer (Hillsdale, 6-8, 321, 4.89).

Several talented SEC players will draw attention. Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton (6-4, 228, 4.79) and Ole Miss safety Kendrick Lewis (5-11, 195, 4.59) are likely to receive the most attention from scouts.

Big East champion Cincinnati is represented by intriguing end/rush linebacker prospect Alex Daniels (6-3, 259, 4.74) and aggressive safety Aaron Webster (6-2, 211, 4.54). Penn State's first-team All-Big Ten left tackle, Dennis Landolt (6-4, 306, 5.26), will also be in attendance.

Others with a lot to gain from non-automatic qualifying FBS schools to watch include New Mexico center Erik Cook (6-6, 318, 5.36). He's a two-time All-Mountain West pick, brother of NFL offensive tackle Ryan Cook and is looking forward to making a name for himself.

Western Michigan quarterback Tim Hiller (6-4, 234, 4.98) earned second-team All-MAC honors in 2009 and has the size and tools to earn a job at the next level.

Running back Dominique Lindsey (5-10, 202, 4.57) is coming off a big bowl performance for East Carolina, rushing for 150 yards and a score against Arkansas -- another SEC school represented in this game by active defensive lineman Adrian Davis (6-4, 252, 4.79).

Chad Reuter is a Senior Analyst for, distributed by The Sports Xchange.

Can't make it to El Paso?

26 January 2010

Catch the 2010 Hall of Fame Texas vs the Nation All Star Game on Feb, 6 2010 at 12 PM MT/2 PM ET on CBS College Sports.

DirecTV CH 613, Dish Network CH 152, Bell TV CH 413, and Sky Angel CH 323.

If you don't have CBS College Sports, contact your cable or satellite provider to order it today.

Comcast channel 734 in Grand Rapids

Physical Strong Safety Gives Hillsdale Verbal

The Chronicle: Preps 24/7: East's Payne chooses Hillsdale

St. Charles (Ill.) East senior defensive back Matt Payne has verbally committed to NCAA Division II Hillsdale (Mich.) College, Payne told The Chronicle on Sunday.

Payne also had considered Youngstown State in Ohio.

Hillsdale, nicknamed the Chargers, went 10-3 this season and advanced to the school's first Division II regional semifinal, where it lost to perennial power Grand Valley State. The Chargers have gone 25-10 in the past three seasons.

Original Article

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