Trinity Lutheran football players Tommy Davis, Spencer Newmister and Caleb Reedy spent countless hours together in training, practice and games. But next fall, they’ll find themselves on opposite sidelines.
Last week, all three officially announced they will play NCAA Division III football: Davis at DePauw University, Newmister at Wabash College and Reedy at Franklin College.
All three schools played in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference for a number of years. Since 1890, DePauw and Wabash have annually played one another in the Monon Bell classic. Wabash defeated Franklin 33-14 last fall in the first round of the NCAA Division III postseason tournament.
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Newmister joins Little Giants
For Newmister, playing against his ex-teammates is an exciting challenge.
“It’s going to be interesting,” he said. “Wabash and DePauw are the big rivals, and they play every year. Wabash currently has a six-game winning streak. If we beat Tommy’s team next year it will tie the best win streak in the history against DePauw.
“There’s going to be a little smack talk, but at the same time I love those guys and am happy to be playing against them. I’m happy that they’re going to first-rate colleges as well.”
Newmister, who played linebacker and receiver for the Cougars, said he found Wabash, located in Crawfordsville, a perfect fit on and off the field.
“Wabash is a physical team, and I like playing that way,” he said. “They also win a lot, and I don’t like to lose very much. I’ve never been around an atmosphere like they have there. All of the visits I took, they had the most extraordinary gameday atmosphere, especially for a Division III college. You watched the homecoming game, and it felt like you were at a big-time school.
“They have a lot of history winning off the field, too. Their main statistic they like to give is that one of every eight is either a president, CEO or owner. It’s an extremely good school with very good networking.”
Cougars coach Anthony Levy said Wabash mostly recruited Newmister to play linebacker, but he feels Newmister also would be a good fit as a slot receiver.
“Their defense is very fundamental, but they have a lot of kids who play bigger than they are,” Newmister said. “They are hard-nosed, and there’s a lot of contact. That’s the way I like to play. I’m open to anywhere but would like to play as an outside linebacker.”
He plans to study history, possibly focus on the Renaissance and Enlightenment periods.
Davis turns Tige
On the Cougars’ offensive line, Davis acted as the coach. He spent most of his time as a guard and plans to fight for a starting spot with DePauw.
“Everything has to be earned, but I think I will have the chance to compete for a starting spot,” Davis said. “I’m hoping to get some minutes my freshman year.
“My football IQ and knowledge of the game will help me the most along with the fundamentals.”
A number of factors went into Davis’ decision to head to Greencastle.
“It’s a great academic school, definitely one of the best in the state; but on the football side, I think they’re very progressive,” he said. “They run a spread offense with some zone blocking schemes. They mix run and pass, and I feel like I will fit in well with them.”
Last season, the Tigers finished 7-3.
Davis, like Newmister, isn’t afraid to play up facing his high school friends.
“It’s going to be different playing against (Newmister and Reedy),” Davis said. “I know they’re worried about it. Hopefully it’s more heated because that will make it more fun.”
Off the field, Davis plans to study political science.
Reedy signs with Grizzlies
Levy said he believes Reedy has a real chance to get playing time on the Grizzlies’ roster.
“Reedy has a chance to play right away,” Levy said. “He has the ability to knock the top right off the defense. They have to deal with his speed. He’s great at catches, especially in traffic.”
Last season, Reedy led the Cougars with 45 receptions, 676 yards and 10 touchdowns.
“It’s reflective what we’re trying to do: run a college system,” Levy said. “We run an AP (advanced placement) type program, especially on the offensive side of the ball. One of the coaches I know told me that we have the most college-ready receivers he’s seen. I think it’s a huge compliment.”
Reedy got familiar with Franklin College when visiting a friend, Cougars alumnus Jonathan Rollins.
“My buddy Jon Rollins is at Franklin right now. I went up to visit a couple times, and he showed me around,” Reedy said. “I started hearing about the football team, which he plays on. I like the atmosphere. He lives with the other football players, and I saw myself doing that.”
While he’s been busy playing baseball this past spring, Reedy plans to get back to Franklin as soon as possible.
The Grizzlies went 8-3 in 2014.
“I will be taking another visit to see spring practices,” Reedy said. “My freshman year I will probably get on special teams, but I’m not expecting too much on offense my first year. Hopefully I can get in there, work hard and work my way up.”
With regard to playing his teammates, Reedy said, he looks forward to seeing them again.
“They’re more talkative than I am. I’m not a trash talker. I’m a nice guy,” Reedy said with a smile. “Hopefully I’ll beat them.”
Academically, Reedy plans to study finance and accounting.
More than football
The Trinity Lutheran football team, which played its first full varsity season in 2013, saw three players join college teams last year as well. But for Levy, football is only part of the growth of the individual athlete.
“I look forward to seeing them develop from a character standpoint,” Levy said. “College football is a different beast. The blessing about college football is still being in a locker room on a team. They will have accountability, and it will translate to other parts of life.”
While playing time will be tough to come by, Levy expects all three players to see some playing time.
“It will be fun to see them play one another, especially their JV games,” Levy said. “They will get a lot of time during those games. That’s one of the nice things about playing at a Division III school as a freshman.”
Every year, the Cougars hold an alumni night for football. Reedy, Davis and Newmister all likely will return for that game.
“It’s going to be neat seeing three friends, three teammates, now going to rival schools,” Levy said. “There’s going to be some smack talking on alumni night when they come back.”