Nov. 5, 2015
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By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — It was a bountiful crop of high school offensive linemen in Northwest Iowa last season and the University of Iowa corralled four good ones, including Brett Waechter.
Waechter said the coaching staff is the primary reason he wanted to attend the UI, but it didn’t hurt that he knew the other three linemen “neighbors.”
“I felt at home here and felt I could be a great football player here,” Waechter said. “I was friends with Levi, Landan, and Jake before I got offered anywhere. They were coming here, so I thought I might as well come here with them.”
That sets up a potentially fantastic all-Iowa offensive line. Waechter got a jump on college by enrolling in the spring semester, but it wasn’t entirely for academic or football reasons. He missed most of his junior season of high school with a shoulder injury and had a second surgery last November. By enrolling at the UI early, Waechter could rehabilitate in Iowa City, rather than Hartley.
“I could come in once or twice a day (in Iowa City) where at home I could only go about three times a week,” Waechter said. “I had the thought of (enrolling early) before I got re-injured. The injury confirmed it, so I came and got a head start.”
“I felt at home here and felt I could be a great football player here. I was friends with Levi, Landan, and Jake before I got offered anywhere. They were coming here, so I thought I might as well come here with them.”
UI offensive lineman
“We were pretty low on tackles and they brought me up,” Waechter said. “Coming in the spring helped me with the scheme a little bit, so I knew what I was doing. It comes down to fundamentals as far as where we go from now. We all have to be ready to go at some point; everybody has to be ready.”
Waechter sharpened his skills under the guidance of his father and head coach, Steve. He began his high school career as a 210-pound tight end; as a senior he played mostly on the line, but saw time at running back.
And Waechter is no longer 210 pounds. Last fall he tipped the scale between 255 and 260, he credits the UI strength and conditioning program for helping him get up to 285.
“It has been awesome and a great experience,” Waechter said of the UI strength and conditioning program. “I got ahead of everybody else in my class by coming in the spring. I love lifting and strength and conditioning.”
UI head coach Kirk Ferentz has been impressed by Waechter’s progress.
“He is having a good year,” Ferentz said. “We’re redshirting him, but we were a little thin on linemen a couple weeks ago so we had him work with the 2s. That was good exposure for him. He is an outstanding student, a tremendous young man, and we think he has a nice future in front of him.”
Iowa is in search of its fifth consecutive road victory Saturday. Kickoff from Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Indiana, is set for 2:30 p.m. (CT). The game will be televised on ESPN.