As we get prepared for the 2020 football season, we wanted to touch base with former NUIC players that have gone on to play at the college level to hear what their experiences are, what playing in the NUIC did to help them out for the college level, and what insight they would bestow upon younger guys looking to play at the collegiate level.
Name: Mitchell Heinz
High School: Forreston
College: Concordia University - St. Paul
Position: Offensive Line
Major: Criminal Justice
Q. How has your experience at the college level been?
A. College football has been a fun experience. Going through this first year it is a lot of change because of the step up in competition, but once you get adjusted to the speed of the game and the playbook it's just playing football again.
Q. What have you taken from playing in the NUIC to the college level?
A. The NUIC has helped me a lot to make the jump to college football. In the NUIC you play the best guys in the state for small school football and it is a smooth transition to the next level because of how good the teams around here are.
Q. What is your favorite memory from playing in the NUIC?
A. My favorite memory of playing in the NUIC has to be the 3 week stretch in the (2018) playoffs playing Milledgeville, Dakota, and Lena-Winslow. That stretch will always be special to me and that senior class. What stuck out to me about those 3 weeks were that as a team we refused to lose. There was a point in the second half of the Millegeville game where it looked like we were done. I remember a play when there QB had a 60 yard run down to the 1, but Hunter Rogers did not give up on the play and ran him down to make the tackle. Then we stopped them on 4 straight plays and they didn't score, which ended up sending the game into overtime. Obviously, the Le-Win game was special from the standpoint that no one gave us a shot but ourselves, and we loved that no one gave us a shot because no one did all season to beat them.
Q. What is your favorite college memory thus far?
A. My favorite college memory has been all of the team outings we have done to get away from football a little bit, relax, and just have fun.
Q. What are your plans after college?
A. After college I would like to work in the DNR department of law enforcement.
Q. What insight would you provide younger athletes looking to play at the college level?
A. Some advice I would give to younger athletes is to enjoy the recruiting process and take it all in. College football is a grind from 6 am to 8 pm, but it rewards you at the end so just keep going.