It has been a great two-year run for Jake Schwinghammer Jake Schwinghammer LB Tartan | 2021 State MN and the Tartan football program. Last year, they advanced to the state tournament for the first time in school history – with…
It has been a great two-year run for
“(This year) was a lot of fun,” Schwinghammer said. “Coming into the season, we had high expectations coming off our first-ever state appearance the year before. Coach (Matt) Diediker installed a good culture when he came in a few years ago. I think that carried over to the start we had this year. We went 9-0 for the first time in school history. We ended up losing in the section championship. That was a heartbreaking loss, but it was my best and most fun year ever.”
Starting at middle linebacker in the team’s 4-3 defense, Schwinghammer was a big part of one of the program’s all-time best defenses.
“Our strong suit was our run defense. I think it was the second-best run defense in school history. Through the first eight games, we had given up the least amount of points in school history. We had a really big defensive line. We had two nose tackles over 250-pounds, and we had (South Dakota State commit) . They made it easy for me by taking on those double teams and letting me come in and clean up.”
Schwinghammer had a successful year, but that one loss in the section finals is still with him.
“I had a pretty good year – not as good as I hoped. I was focused on getting recruited, and I think that kind of took away from my game. I led the conference in tackles and was first-team all-conference. I am just disappointed we didn’t win that section finals game. I keep thinking I could have made one more tackle. When we started to let up, I feel like it was on me to make a play to turn it around.”
This offseason, the junior is looking at improving his skills and his attitude.
“I am going to stay positive. I am going to work on staying low, hitting low. I need to make sure I am keeping the guys’ heads up. I think that is more important than making the tackles.”
At 5’10″ 185, Schwinghammer knows he has makeup for his smaller stature different ways.
“I am obviously undersized, so I think my strength is my instincts. I hear that from my coaches and college coaches all the time. I think I have always had a tenacity and a nose for the ball. I didn’t really start knowing how to read my keys until this year. I watched a lot of film and developed a stronger IQ for the game. I worked on my technique a lot, and it all came together this year, and I was able to make a lot of plays.”
Working on his technique is just as important to his success.
“With my size – keep my head up obviously – but I know I need work on my level and balance. There were a few times when I wouldn’t wrap up, so I need to work on that. I am also working on my pass coverage because going into college because I am going to be playing safety and not linebacker.”
Schwinghammer is a three-sport athlete.
“I am a captain on the hockey team, and in the spring, I am a captain on the lacrosse team. I play defense. I feel I play a leadership role and play solid defense on the blue line – just helping the team. I feel like when I am put in a position to score, I can do that, but I play my role and not get ahead of myself. I get the puck to my forwards who are probably more skilled than I am. In lacrosse, I will be taking a lot of faceoffs and will be playing midfield and play some defense. I am going to play wherever they need me because we gradated 14 seniors and are going to be really young.”
His offseason will be spread out, but one sport is his focus.
“This summer I am going to get into a hockey program – lifting will be with it. I will be doing lacrosse captains’ practice, but football will be the main focus. I will be doing some cardio and speed training and working on my footwork. I also have to try to maintain my weight.”
Recruiting is off to a slow start, but Schwinghammer is not in a hurry.
“There will be weeks where I don’t hear from anyone and then days where I hear from five different coaches. I just need to have patience knowing that it is a process. I am undersized, but that isn’t going to stop me from playing somewhere. I want to play at a Division I school. I have the most contact with North Dakota State. A lot of Northern Sun schools have been contacting me. It has been cool be get my name on the radar of some bigger schools. Iowa State reached out; South Dakota State has reached out.”
Tartan’s football program seems to be on the upswing – based on his junior season and his early recruiting interest, ’s football career is on the upswing too.