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.
After missing a week of action, this week's Football Alumni Round-up will cover the past two weeks of college and professional action. Already a third of the way through the NFL season and halfway through the college season, former Wisconsin High School standouts are making their mark on the 2021 season.
Trae Waynes had waited over a full year to get back on a football season after suffering a torn pec, resulting in missing the entire 2020 schedule. The Kenosha Bradford standout and former thirteenth overall pick of the Minnesota Vikings finally got onto the field for the Cincinnati Bengals. Unfortunately after just two games back, the seventh year vet has found himself back on the injured reserve list with a hamstring injury, resulting in him missing the next three games.
On the other hand, A.J. Klein took advantage of an injury and had his first start for the Buffalo Bills this past Sunday, in a 38-20 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. Klein, a Kimberly graduate, is in his ninth season and with his third NFL team. He finished second on the team in tackles, with nine in their impressive victory over the reigning AFC Champs.
T.J. Watt has done a lot in his five year NFL career; sacking quarterbacks, being named All-Pro and Pro Bowler, and being awarded the highest paid defensive player in the NFL this preseason. Two weeks ago, the former Pewaukee standout played his first game in his home state against the Green Bay Packers. Despite his Pittsburgh Steelers losing to the Packers 27-17, the All-Pro finished with two sacks, two quarterback hits and a fumble recovery. Watt again ranks towards the top of the NFL in both sacks and quarterback hits on the season.
The University of Iowa is currently ranked second in the nation after defeating fourth ranked Penn State in a Big Ten showdown and the Hawkeyes have historically had a plethora of alumni on their roster including now NFL players Kristian Welch (Iola-Scandinavia), Daviyon Nixon (Kenosha Indian Trail) and Nate Stanley (Menomonie). This season, the Hawkeyes offensive line is boosted by a pair from the Badger State. Cody Ince of Unity has started at left guard while Bay Port's Jack Plumb has served as the primary backup and extra lineman for an Iowa offense averaging 31.5 points per game.
Despite the up and down season of the Wisconsin Badgers, a pair of freshman are proving to be playmakers on an offense struggling in that category.
Waukesha North's Chimere Dike has shined when given the opportunity at wide receiver, apparent two weeks ago as he had two catches for 54 yards and a score in a 38-17 loss to Michigan. Dike is averaging over twelve yards per catch this season and over fourteen in his college career.
The other standout freshman is just 17 years old and would still be in high school had he not re-classified. Braelon Allen, a former Fond du Lac standout, has been a spark in the Badger backfield. Allen carried the ball 18 times for 131 yards and a score in last Saturday's 24-0 win over Illinois. He is averaging six yards per carry on 30 carries so far.
In other Big Ten play, a pair of alumni have seen work on special teams for their respective teams this year.
Dragen Kesich, an Oak Creek grad, has handled kickoff duties all season for the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The sophomore kicker has recorded 22 touchbacks on 26 kickoffs.
Two weeks ago, Jake Genyk saw his first collegiate action for Northwestern in their 56-7 loss to Nebraska. The junior punter from Middleton High School had two punts, including pinning one inside the 20 yard line.
Freshman Andrew Behm has appeared on special teams for Akron for the better part of the early season. However, this past weekend the Fox Valley Lutheran alum got his first start in a 35-20 win over Bowling Green. Behm took full advantage, leading the team in tackles with ten.
After winning the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week two weeks ago, Nick Howard has continued to run rampant for the Dartmouth football team. In two victories, the Green Bay Southwest alum has rushed for nearly 150 yards and added two touchdowns on the ground in each of the wins. In the 24-17 overtime win over Yale, Howard scored the game winning, five yard score in the extra period.
North Dakota pushed North Dakota State to the limit two weeks ago but came up short in a 16-10 loss to the FCS powerhouse. The Fighting Hawks defense has been led all season by a pair of alumni and that was no different in the loss. Noah Larson of Baraboo and Devon Krzanowski of Fond du Lac recorded 10 tackles each and combined for four tackles for loss and a sack.
Speaking of North Dakota State, the Bison continue to get contributions a plenty from former Badger State athletes. In a 34-20 win over Northern Iowa, Cole Wisniewski of Sparta and Logan McCormick of Kimberly combined for ten tackles, three for loss, two sacks and a forced fumble by the former. Wisniewski, McCormick, and many other alumni have helped NDSU to a 5-0 record and being ranked third in all of the FCS.
Minnesota Duluth has squeaked out a pair of wins in Northern Sun action the past two weeks by a combined 12 points. In the 26-21 victory over Minnesota-State Moorhead, former Northwestern High School standout Nate Pearson was all over the field for the defense. Pearson had eight tackles, four for loss, and two and a half sacks en route to being named the NSIC Defensive Player of the Week. With just two seconds left in that game, Logan Graetz of River Falls tossed an eight yard, game winning touchdown to Kenosha Indian Trail's Armani Carmickle. Graetz served as the primary backup but was thrust into action after the Bulldog's starting quarterback was injured.
Elsewhere in the Northern Sun, Zach Reader was the beneficiary of an injury as he got his first start at quarterback for Upper Iowa. Reader, an Oak Creek grad, threw for 338 yards and three scores despited the Peacocks falling to Augustana 37-20 this past Saturday.
A week prior, Augustana suffered its first loss of the season to Sioux Falls, 28-26. Wisconsin Lutheran grad Jacqueze Lockett had a rushing and receiving score for the Cougars, while Ripon's Hunter Schneider hauled in a receiving score.
In other D2 action, Will Ark does a little bit of everything for Michigan Tech. The Ashwaubenon grad starts at quarterback and also handles punting duties for the Huskies. Two weeks ago in a 31-7 win over Davenport, Ark threw for 113 yards and two touchdowns, while adding a score on the ground. Defensively for the Huskies, Marc Sippel of Wausau West had a team high nine tackles while Josh Cribben of Notre Dame and James Daanen of West De Pere each recorded a sack.
Tre'Vaughn Craig is a two-sport athlete at Central Oklahoma, playing defensive back for the football team and also being a part of the Bronchos wrestling team. Last week, the Greenfield grad recorded his first ever interception on the football field in a 46-9 win over Northeastern State.
The WIAC has entered league play and with it come a plethora of Player of the Week winners.
UW-La Crosse secured a 45-23 win over UW-River Falls two weeks ago and Ryan Beirne was perfect kicking the ball. Beirne, a West Salem grad, connected on all five extra points and made his lone field goal as he was named the WIAC Special Teams Player of the Week.
UW-Oshkosh picked up a close 35-32 win over UW-Platteville as quarterback Kobe Berghammer was exceptional threw the air and on the ground. The Cumberland alum threw for 216 yards and two scores while rushing for 83 yards and another score for the Titans. Berghammer was awarded WIAC Offensive Player of the Week laurels for his performance.
Another Oshkosh product picked up player of the week honors despite a 30-21 loss to UW-La Crosse. Carson Raddatz, formerly of Fond du Lac High School, recorded ten solo tackles and 12 overall, earning WIAC Defensive Player of the Week honors.
UW-Stout got their first conference win of the season downing UW-Eau Claire 38-34 last Saturday. Jack Meyer was a difference maker at kicker and punter. The Chippewa Falls grad punted twice for an average of 46 yards and connected on a 51 yard field goal, earned the former Cardinal WIAC Special Teams Player of the Week.
Cormac Madigan was an elite playmaker this past weekend in Ripon's 52-8 win over Grinnell. The Laconia alum only had four rushes, but they resulted in 161 yards on the ground and two scores. Madigan added a receiving score as he was named the Midwest Conference Offensive Player of the Week. Teammates Connor Ramage (Ashwaubenon), Jaylend Brown (Madison La Follette), Jeremy Timmons (Whitefish Bay) and Masyn Ulrich (Milton) all had touchdowns for the Redhawks.
Concordia-Wisconsin has picked up a pair of victories the past two weeks over Rockford and Eureka. In the 41-32 win over Eureka, Josiah McDermit of Westosha Central had two interceptions, including one for a score. Teammates Troy Stewart of Wilmot and Dalton Lardinois of Green Bay Preble also had an interception each. The Falcons blew out Rockford 41-7 earlier behind the play of Ben Kraft. The Wauwatosa East grad had a game high 15 tackles and an interception earning him Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference's Defensive Player of the Week.
In other NACC action, Kendall Karcz had an other-worldly game as St. Norbert College shut out Wisconsin Lutheran 68-0 this past Saturday. The former Pulaski High School standout had an incredible four interceptions. Three of those came in the first quarter and two of them resulted in touchdowns. Karcz totaled 124 interception yards and was named the NACC Defensive Player of the Week.
This last highlight is very personal and one I'm extremely proud of. I had the pleasure to coach Keon Miller in basketball at Richland Center High School for two seasons and this past weekend, he scored his first collegiate touchdowns for Carroll University in a 34-26 win over North Park College. Miller had 127 all-purpose yards and recorded both a rushing and receiving score for the Pioneers. Teammate J.R. Muth of Greendale had six catches for 125 yards and two scores while quarterback Michael Johnson of West Allis Hale threw for 328 yards and three touchdowns.