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How did you settle on Hillsdale when you were choosing a college?

“So, I wanted to play football in college and I had a couple of schools recruit me, but they were mostly D-III schools. After my last game my senior year, Hillsdale con­tacted me and one of the coaches called me up. I met him, took a trip to visit the school, they offered me a little bit of money. I said, “You know what, this is def­i­nitely the place for me.” I kinda fell in love with it right when I came to campus.

What do you enjoy about being here?

“I feel like I’m a true student-athlete. I feel like if I would’ve gone to a big uni­versity I would just be a number, or if I were to play football at a bigger place and just walk on, I think I’d just get lost into the mix. Here I really feel like I’m able to be my own person, learn more about myself, and have the oppor­tunity to develop phe­nomenal rela­tion­ships with both guys in the team, in the dorm when I was an RA, the student body, and the pro­fessors I’ve been able to work with in the chem­istry and biology depart­ments.”

What dorm were you in?

“I was in Simpson for four years and an RA for three years. It was a lotta fun, lotta stress, but I’m very thankful that Ms. Wilson gave me the oppor­tunity.”

How do you feel about the football team this year, espe­cially the past few games?

“I’m excited. I mean, we lost a tough one last week to McK­endree but we’ve got a lotta good guys on this team and we’ve worked our butts off since early in the winter. The fifth-year seniors like me, we’ve been working our butts off since 2013. I think we’ve got great senior lead­ership, I think we’ve got great guys, guys buying into what the coaches are trying to teach. At the end of the day, we’ve just gotta get out there and keep doing our thing. I think we’re gonna con­tinue our run.”

What are you studying?

“I’m a biochem major and I might minor in biology if they let me. I wanna go into med­icine. I’ve applied to medical school this summer for classes beginning next summer. I have a few inter­views right now, a few more schools I have to hear from. Yeah, I’m excited for it. A little anxious but excited.”

Why’d you choose bio­chem­istry?

“I just figured it was the best of both worlds. I always liked chem­istry in high school, I liked a little bit of biology. I was inter­ested in learning about the human body and its meta­bolic pathways, including the dif­ferent reac­tions between bio­logical mol­e­cules and how they con­tribute to how we break down fat and carbs. Stuff like that.”

Have you had any influ­ential teachers or moments?

“I’ve got a few. I’d def­i­nitely say, across the board, chem­istry faculty and biology faculty have just been phe­nomenal. Dr. Baron, Dr. Hamilton, Dr. Meyet, Dr. Steiner, I could name hon­estly all of them. They’re just two quality depart­ments, and it’s just been cool to develop a great pro­fessor-student rela­tionship and get to know them really well. I think I’m a much better student and a much smarter indi­vidual. It’s always nice when you know the pro­fessors are working their butts off for you too.”

What do you think about the core?

“Well, I under­stand why they do it, and I do actually really respect Hillsdale for it. My first class here was Western Her­itage. It was a great class, super hard though. I was never really like a history, phi­losophy-type person coming out of high school. But after I’ve been here for a couple years and I’ve had a few classes, I think espe­cially the one class was the lead­ership class with Dr. Jen­nings. Now, going back, I’m def­i­nitely appre­ciative I was able to study a little bit of the­ology and learn a little bit about the Con­sti­tution. Just for the sake of  having the expe­rience and knowing what they’re about.”

Can you tell us any­thing about Coach Otter that someone might not expect?

“The dude is hor­rible with tech­nology. He’s not good with the com­puter. If he does some­thing cool like bring up a Pow­er­point or switch over a slide, he always brags about it. Like, come on man. He’s not that good with tech­nology. The Zac Brown Band, with the song toes in the water, I think that’s still his ringtone. That part is pretty cool.”

In the four years you’ve been playing, what’s been the most chal­lenging moment?

“I’ll just go big picture on this one. Being under­sized, I’m a defensive tackle, 5’11” and 260 pounds. Against most players, I’m pretty under­sized, and I’m not that tall, and I’m really not that fast. So coming in was actually really dif­ficult because I didn’t look like a freak athlete. We’ve got some guys on the team and you just look at them and say ‘wow, that guy’s a stud,’ and that’s just not my body. I’ve always had to work my tail off, do extra reps, in the weight room, on the field. I think that was the chal­lenge, trying to overcome the adversity of pre­dis­posed judge­ments because of how I looked as an indi­vidual. I’ve been able to push through it, and now I’m starting at defensive tackle, playing 30, 40, 50+ plays a game, con­tributing to the team, the way in my mind, from day one, I knew I would. It’s been hard, a real journey, and the journey con­tinues to go through that adversity and go through that fight. And to be sur­rounded by the team­mates, I couldn’t ever do it without some of the guys in my corner. I think that part’s def­i­nitely been the most chal­lenging, but at the same time, that’s the part I’ve been most thankful for.

Does the football team have any special rituals?

“Hon­estly, it’s another week. You wanna go 1 – 0 every week. Our mind is set on our oppo­nents every Sat­urday. After we play the game, we watch the film, then put our focus on Ken­tucky Wes­leyan. Whether it’s home­coming, a title game, it’s just another week of prepa­ration. We’ve gotta con­tinue to embrace the process and just work our butts off.”

What would you want to tell your parents?

“Hon­estly I love them. Couldn’t do it without them. I’ve been a pain in the butt some­times, but it’s only because I love them. Hon­estly without their support I wouldn’t be here and wouldn’t be in the position I’m in now and will be in for the rest of my life.”

-Com­piled by Cal Abbo