Many high school football standouts in Wisconsin go on to big things at the college level and in the pros, and this is our spot to recognize those athletes each week and help you keep up with what is going down on some of your favorite players from the past. If you have alumni news, please send it to Colton Wilson by 10 p.m. on Tuesdays.
Week one of college football kicked off this past week and boy was it a welcome sight. Game day traditions like tailgating were reconvened. Stadiums were filled with fans eager to see their teams in person for the first time in over a year. Call it a biased opinion, but Jump Around blasted at Camp Randall for the first time to a live crowd in over a year and remains the best tradition in all of college football.
As football across all divisions returned to the gridiron, hundreds of former Wisconsin High School athletes showcased the immense talent that has continued to come out of the Badger State.
Wisconsin is one of the best export states of high school offensive linemen in the entire country and UCLA has a good one in former Marquette standout Jon Gaines II. Gaines starts on the offensive line of the resurgent Bruins team that has averaged 431 yards of offense in wins over Hawaii and LSU. In his redshirt junior season, Gaines is looking like a force in the middle of that offensive line.
Jarrett Horst is another one of those offensive line exports that excelled this past weekend in high level D1 football. The Middleton alum played in and started his first game at left tackle for Michigan State in their impressive 38-21 win over Northwestern. Horst transferred from Arkansas State last season and immediately took over on the Spartans line, helping the rushing attack to 326 yards on the ground.
The Northern Sun Conference (NSIC) has always been a mainstay for Wisconsin alumni and the Division 2 conference is no different this year. Former St. Mary’s Springs standout Clay Schueffner was dominant for the Winona State defense in their 47-6 opening win over Concordia-St. Paul. Schueffner had eight tackles and a sack, swarming all over the field, as he earned Northern Sun Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors.
In other NSIC action, Minnesota Duluth downed Upper Iowa 41-14 behind a smorgasbord of alumni. Leading the way was Kenosha Indian Trail grad Armani Carmickle who hauled in 5 catches for 209 yards and two scores. Waterford’s Johnny McCormick added five catches for 60 yards and a score. The Bulldogs defense was led by Austin Kurylo of Westosha Central and Marcus Glodowski of Amherst who both had an interception. Mitchell Kirkendoll (Whitefish Bay), Brad Dati (Brookfield East), Nate Pearson (Northwestern) and Joe Kordus (Menasha) all had sacks for Duluth.
Like Duluth, FCS power North Dakota has a host of alumni on their stout defense. Baraboo’s Noah Larson led the team with 10 tackles in their 35-14 win over Idaho State. Jaelon Johnson (Greendale), Devon Krzanowski (Fond du Lac), Kadon Kauppinen (Sun Prairie) and CJ Siegel (La Crosse Logan) all are key pieces of the Fighting Hawks defense. A pair of alumni handle all the kicking duties as well as Kimberly’s Adam Stage went two for three on field goals and Kewaskum’s Cade Peterson handled the punting duties.
The Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) is one of the most talented Division 3 conferences in the country, evident by their 7-1 non-conference record this past week. Most of those teams are powered from top to bottom by graduates from Wisconsin high schools.
UW-Eau Claire took down Luther College 45-14 behind a dominating performance by Neenah alum Austin Belot. The senior running back rushed 17 times for 364 yards and three scores in the win, earning WIAC Offensive Player of the Week.
A pair of UW-Oshkosh athletes took home Defensive and Special Teams Player of the Week in the WIAC and both are Badger State alumni. Carson Raddatz of Fond du Lac had six tackles and an interception in the Titan’s 28-24 win over Huntingdon College to earn defensive honors. Kenosha Indian Trail grad Jaylen Grant had four kickoff returns for 186 yards including a 93 yard touchdown to earn special teams laurels.
In other D3 action, Connor Ramage had quite the collegiate debut for Ripon College in their 46-38 win over Augsburg University. The former Ashwaubenon standout carried the ball 36 times for 226 yards and a school record six touchdowns in his first game. Ramage was named the Midwest Conference Offensive Player of the Week for his record setting day.
St. Norbert College moved from the Midwest Conference to the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC) but continued their winning ways last week with a 21-14 win Loras College. Jake Berken led the defense with eight tackles, six for loss, and three sacks. The Green Bay Preble grad also forced and recovered a fumble on Loras’ last possession to secure the Green Knights win. He was named the NACC’s Defensive Player of the Week. Neenah’s Joe Jung had seven tackles and an interception on defense, but his 95 yard kickoff return for a score garnered him NACC Special Teams Player of the Week honors.
This week’s edition of the round-up began with the highlight of two Division 1 offensive lineman and will end the same way.
Northern Illinois has always had a strong recruiting presence in Wisconsin and their offensive lines are evidence of that. This year, Logan Zschemitz of Spencer and J.J. Lippe of Whitefish Bay start at the guard positions for the Huskies and helped the push as Northern Illinois downed Georgia Tech, 22-21.
Luke Goedeke lost all of his 2020 season due to injury after starting every game as a redshirt freshman in 2019. The Valders alum got back on the field this past week for the first time in a year, making a start at right tackle for the Chippewas in their 34-24 loss to Missouri.
With the NFL starting their season, even more former Wisconsin High School alumni will be gracing the field at the highest level this week. Look for more on them and other breakout performances as the Football Alumni Round-Up takes us through the NCAA and NFL seasons.