Michigan Tech Football Players prepare to tackle their futures
16 players don’t know if they’ve played their last game
HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) - For 16 Michigan Tech football student-athletes, the 2020-21 academic year represents the conclusion of a long journey, as they prepare to start their careers after football. These players have contributed immeasurably to the program and due to the COVID-19 health crisis, many do not yet know whether they have played their final game in a Husky uniform.
The student-athletes moving on this fall or spring include Jacob Lechner, Lucas Marion, Taylor Pelton, Nathan Beining, Ozzy Corp, Ben Rybicki, Jordan Ferguson, Nick Turowski, Eric Tracy, Trent Ballor, Malik Busch, Gabriel Kanouse, Austin Kosinski, Cody Rabach, Tim Schulz, and T.C. Swittel.
“My heart goes out to these guys and their families,” commented MTU head football coach Steve Olson. “It’s difficult to lose what would have been your last year of college football. To me, every player on our football team is valuable. All of these young men are great people. They have been extremely hard workers both in the game of football and in the community. So many of them have become great leaders on and off the field so I’m very proud of them.”
The Huskies take pride in prioritizing academics on a day-to-day basis and it is a testament to this group that many were in position to graduate on time or early with new, full-time jobs just on the horizon.
“Their futures are very bright,” Coach Olson said. “I am confident that this group is very much set to move forward and be successful after Michigan Tech.”
MTU football players work through countless hours of studying and test taking while balancing the rigors of being a member of a high-level NCAA Division II program and MTU athletics asked them to reflect on their time in Houghton. Fall senior day would have taken place on November 7, 2020 at Kearly Stadium against Davenport. These are their stories.
#55 Jacob Lechner – Offensive Lineman – Harbor Springs, Michigan
Lechner began with the Huskies as a redshirt in 2016. As a sophomore he played in 10 games and helped anchor an MTU line that scored 20.4 points per game and averaged 328.6 yards per contest. Last fall, Lechner played in all 10 games and helped the offensive line post more impressive numbers. With Lechner in the game, the Huskies averaged 140.9 yards on the ground and 357.7 total yards per game.
In Lechner’s words…
“My plans after I graduate are to begin my career in construction management and work alongside my dad in residential construction. My best memory at MTU football was playing Northern Michigan every year. It’s always a hard-hitting game with a lot of emotion and we always came out on top.”
“I will miss this team. We have a close-knit locker room and it is fun to be around the guys. Outside of football, my favorite thing to do is spend time with my teammates and other cross-campus friends. I would like to thank my family for all their support as well as my coaches, teammates, and the MTU community.”
#88 Lucas Marion – Tight End – Lake City, Michigan
Marion took a redshirt in 2017 before appearing in eight games for the Huskies the following season. Last fall, Marion played in all 10 games for Tech and caught nine passes for 51 total yards. He reeled in his first career reception at Hillsdale.
In Marion’s words…
“I am graduating in December with a degree in Civil Engineering. I will begin my career as a Civil Engineer at Hubbell, Roth & Clark in Grand Rapids, Michigan.”
“Winning the Miner’s Cup last season was the biggest career highlight for me. I have been lucky enough to form great friendships with my coaches and teammates at MTU. I will miss spending time with my friends and working toward our common goals. I could go all day naming people who have helped me along the way. I thank all of my teammates and coaches at Lake City and Michigan Tech. I thank all my friends who have helped me over the years. I thank my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents for always being supportive. I am very grateful for my two brothers for always pushing me to get better. Most of all I thank my parents for their endless sacrifices to help me succeed in life and in football. They have always emphasized that being a good Christian, person, and student comes before succeeding in sports.”
#35 Taylor Pelton – Defensive Lineman – Leroy, Michigan
Pelton arrived on campus in 2016 and began to make big contributions to the defensive line in 2018. In eight games, Pelton made seven tackles, four of the solo variety. Last year, he was named GLIAC all-academic. On the field he made 21 tackles with two sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss.
In Pelton’s words…
“My upcoming plans include graduation at the end of fall semester with a bachelor of science in Construction Management. In January, I plan to start a full-time job with Granger Construction.”
“My best memories of the Michigan Tech football team include all the long road trips and my first career start as a defensive end at the end of my sophomore year. The people I will miss the most on the MTU football team are my fellow defensive linemen as well as all of the guys in my recruiting class.”
“I have been truly blessed with the amount of people that have helped and supported me throughout my football journey. Special thanks to the Reed City community and Reed City football coaching staff for helping me develop the skills and knowledge to play football at the collegiate level. Also, thanks to the MTU football coaches and trainers for elevating my football skills and knowledge. I would like to thank my girlfriend Liza for being by my side throughout high school and college. Most of all, I would like to thank my parents Dan and Tracy Pelton for the countless hours and money they put in to support me.”
#99 Nathan Beining – Defensive Lineman – Wrightstown, Wisconsin
Beining has been with the Huskies since 2016 and was named GLIAC all-academic for the first time in 2017, a season in which he appeared in two games. Beining broke out as a sophomore with eight tackles, one sack, and one blocked kick. Last fall he appeared in three games and recovered one fumble with two tackles for loss.
In Beining’s words…
“My plans after graduation include looking for a job as a Mechanical Engineer somewhere close to home in Green Bay, Wisconsin. I am going to miss everyone on the team, especially Nate LaJoie. Outside of football, my favorite activity at MTU is snowmobiling in winter.”
“My parents have played the most important role in helping me get to where I am today. They brought me to different camps and did not miss a single football game that I played from middle school on. If it wasn’t for them, I would not be in the position I am today. I also want to thank my countless coaches over the years for helping me become a better player and person.”
#89 Ozzy Corp – Tight End – Ishpeming, Michigan
Corp began to define his MTU career in 2018, when he took the field for six games and posted three receptions for 38 yards and two touchdowns. Last fall, Corp also played six games for the Huskies.
In Corp’s words…
"After college my plans include getting a full-time job in northern Wisconsin with the U.S. Forest Service. My favorite memory at MTU was beating Northern Michigan for the 10th year in a row. I will miss the lifelong friends that I met while playing for MTU because of the countless memories we have made on and off the field.
“The thing I like most about Michigan Tech outside of football is the endless number of outdoor activities it has to offer. I would like to thank my family for always supporting me with my decisions. I would also like to thank Coach Jeff Olson and the whole Ishpeming football program for their constant support over the years. Lastly, thank you to my fellow hard-working teammates.”
#44 Ben Rybicki – Linebacker – Freeland, Michigan
After coming to Houghton in 2016, Rybicki picked up GLIAC all-academic honors the following year. On the field, he appeared in four games as a junior and tallied his first career tackle at Grand Valley State. Last year, Rybicki’s production increased and he played seven games with 19 tackles. He also forced a fumble against Ferris State and posting a single game career high 14 tackles.
In Rybicki’s words…
“After graduating in the spring with my MBA, I will move back to the lower peninsula and work for MLR Engineering in Freeland, Michigan. After I leave the team, I think I will miss all the guys in the linebacker room the most. When you play four years together and go to meetings every day, you get to know every one of those guys exceptionally well. I’ll definitely miss putting on the pads and going to work with them.”
“First, I want to thank my parents and the rest of my family for all their support and guidance over the years. Without their help, I would not be where I am today. I’d also like to thank the football coaching staff for pushing me every day and a great four years. Go Huskies!”
#41 Jordan Ferguson – Fullback – Alpena, Michigan
Ferguson started at Michigan Tech in 2015, then played 11 games for the Huskies two years later. He led all running backs on the team with 12 receptions and 14.1 yards per catch. The next fall, Ferguson was named an all-GLIAC honorable mention after he was instrumental lead blocker in the Tech run game. Last year, he appeared in 10 games and helped the team pile up 357.7 yards of total offense. He also scored his first career touchdown at McKendree and was a key rusher in short yardage situations.
In Ferguson’s words…
“I intend to pursue a career in the sport and fitness management field after Michigan Tech football. I’ll miss the entire team, which has become my family. It is going to be very different not seeing the guys every day.”
“All the coaches I have had over my time here have helped me and I cannot thank them enough. Coach Kearly offered me a spot on the team and coach Milbrath has been my position coach and helped make me into the player I am. Also, without coach Mettlach and coach Daniels, I would not have had the successes I achieved.”
#85 Nick Turowski – Wide Receiver – Comstock Park, Michigan
Turowski redshirted in 2016, then was named GLIAC all-academic on two occasions as a member of the squad.
In Turowski’s words…
“After college I plan to work in medical devices and continue my athletic career as a bogey golfer. I have not decided where exactly I want to work yet, but if it’s not in my hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan, it will likely be in the twin cities or out west. My favorite memory as a Michigan Tech football player was beating Northern Michigan my fourth year. This game was special because my entire family came up to visit. After the game we celebrated with the Miner’s Cup.”
“There are a couple people that I will miss the most on the football team. Of course, the Dude Crew (TC, Will, Hunter) and also Ozzy Corp. Hunter, Ozzy and I rode to away games together and we even started our own podcast. I will never forget when I was rooming with Hunter in a hotel and Ozzy pranked us by ordering a fake pizza under our name.”
“My favorite thing about MTU is the sense of pride that everyone shares for Houghton and the college. The UP is a beautiful place and once you get past the 8-hour car rides, it is really special.”
“I would like to thank my parents for driving eight hours from their home to be at almost every one of my games. They have been my biggest supporters. Also, my sister Samantha and my grandparents. My girlfriend Ellie and my hometown friends Byron, Murphy, Colin, Chris, and Cam. Special shoutout to all of the friends I have made here at Tech. Without alI of them I wouldn’t have had the amazing time here that I did.”
#42 Eric Tracy – Defensive Back – Rhinelander, Wisconsin
The Rhinelander native played two games for Michigan Tech last fall. He has twice been named to the GLIAC all-academic excellence team.
In Tracy’s words…
“My plans after graduation are to commission into the Air Force as a second lieutenant and attend pilot training within the next year. My favorite memory from football was defeating Northern Michigan for the 10th year in a row. Outside of football, I love the Houghton area because it has offered so many different things to do outside such as hunting, hiking, and skiing at Mount Bohemia.”
“I would like to thank my parents for supporting me through all five years, as well as my old high school coach, Chet White. I’d also like to thank all the coaches, coach wood in particular, for working with me through football and ROTC training.”
#64 Trent Ballor – Offensive Lineman – Pinconning, Michigan
Ballor has been a member of the Huskies football team since 2016.
In Ballor’s words…
“My plan after graduation is to pursue a career in transportation design and eventually obtain my P.E. license. My favorite memory from Michigan Tech was being able to hold the Miner’s Cup for the fourth year in a row last fall.”
“The people I will miss the most on the team is the entire offensive line. Those guys are some of my best friends and have become like a family to me.”
“My favorite thing about being at MTU besides football is the great learning environment. I have had some of the best professors and learned a lot of knowledge applicable to real life situations. The people who have helped me in my journey at Michigan Tech are my family and friends. I would really like to thank my parents for all the support they have given me throughout my years here.”
#25 Malik Busch – Defensive Back – Lansing, Michigan
Busch has been a member of the Huskies football team since 2016.
In Busch’s words…
“In the next year, I will be going to graduate school to pursue an MBA. One of my favorite memories at MTU was an off-season team trip to a bowling alley. It was a fun break from the usual off-season grind and fun time with teammates. I will miss the entire team. Being far from home and spending almost every day together, those guys have become like family to me.”
“Outside of sports, my favorite thing new activity in Houghton was learning how to snowboard.”
#45 Gabe Kanouse – Defensive Back – Hemlock, Michigan
Kanouse began his Husky career in 2017 and has won GLIAC all-academic honors two times.
In Kanouse’s words…
"I plan to graduate in the spring and I am currently looking at a range of employment opportunities. I would also like to coach football after college.
“My best memory in football is our win over Hillsdale in overtime. I’ll miss all of my teammates, especially the guys in the defensive backs room.”
“Outside of football, my favorite thing about being at Michigan Tech was the variety of fishing spots.”
“I would like to thank all of my coaches and my parent for helping along this journey.”
#57 Austin Kosinski – Linebacker – Almont, Michigan
Kosinski started his career as a redshirt in 2016. Since then, he has been a member of the GLIAC all-academic team three times.
In Kosinski’s words…
“I plan to graduate from MTU this spring and move back downstate to work for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in a full-time position. It’s hard for me to choose one memory that defines my time at MTU. I enjoyed every moment of the past four years as a member of the football team. I am very grateful and proud to be a Husky.”
"I will miss all of my team members and coaches that I had the experience to meet and work with over the past four years. It was a pleasure to be surrounded by so many like-minded individuals. My favorite activity outside of football at Michigan Tech has been snowmobiling during the long winter months in the Keweenaw.
“I’d like to thank my family and all members of the Tech football team, coaches included who helped me become the best student-athlete possible in my time here.”
#87 Cody Rabach – Tight End – Muskegon, Michigan
Rabach was named to the GLIAC all-academic team in 2019 and 2017. He has been a member of the squad since 2016.
In Rabach’s words…
“I am currently applying to companies with the hope of beginning a career in sales by the start of next year. My favorite memories from MTU include beating Northern Michigan to extend the streak to 10 straight years. I also really enjoyed fall practices. I will miss everyone on the team, especially the senior class.”
“My favorite part about Michigan Tech is its accessibility to nature. There are amazing hiking trails, beautiful scenery, and chances to boat and swim in Portage Lake.”
“I would like to thank my parents for supporting my journey at Michigan Tech and traveling hours to watch us play every weekend. I would also like to thank our entire coaching staff for helping us become strong leaders in the community and better men. Thanks to Coach Olson and Coach Kearly for leading our team. Also, thanks to the athletic training staff, support staff, students, and all of the members of the community who fill the hill on Saturdays.”
#69 Tim Schulz – Offensive Lineman – Iron River, Wisconsin
Schulz redshirted in 2016 and excelled in the classroom with GLIAC all-academic recognition three straight seasons.
In Schulz’s words…
“In January, I will start work with Symbiont Engineering in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Symbiont is a consulting engineering firm that designs processes for numerous industries with a focus on renewable energy, food and beverage, and wastewater treatment.”
“My favorite memory was the 2016 Miner’s Cup, the most exciting 70 minutes of football I have ever experienced. That day helped define MTU football for me from that point forward.”
“I will miss my teammates, coaches, and the O-Line group the most. I am confident in saying that I will remain close friends with those men for the rest of my life, and I am a better person now because of them. Missing the season this year was hard, but not getting the time with them was much worse.”
“My favorite part of Michigan Tech is the environment. I mean that both geographically and culturally. The UP is a beautiful place full of history and forgotten gems to be discovered, and I have been spending as much time as possible this final semester trying to soak all of it in one last time before I have to go. Additionally, Tech has a culture of continuous effort-driven improvement that, while it may have caused me numerous headaches in the past, led me to become the person that I am today. Tech has a way of creating driven, determined, intelligent, and agile engineers that have the ability to do anything they set their mind to. I am proud to be a part of that community.”
“I want to thank my brother Luke, who showed me what it means to be a man, a teammate, and a Husky. I am proud to follow in his footsteps. Thank you also to Coach Daniels for the support and strength. Finally, I want to thank my teammates and all the great friends I have made here over the years.”
#32 T.C. Swittel – Defensive Back – Brookfield, Wisconsin
Swittel began with Michigan Tech football in 2016 and earned GLIAC all-academic honors in 2018 and 2019.
In Swittel’s words…
“After college, I plan to work as a mechanical engineer in the Milwaukee area. My favorite memory as a member of the Michigan Tech football team was beating Northern Michigan every year I was here. The Miner’s Cup looks great in the SDC.”
“I will miss my teammates the most without a doubt. The camaraderie in our locker room is second to none. The football team has become my second family.”
“My favorite thing about being at Michigan Tech outside of football is the natural beauty of the Houghton area.”
“I’d really like to thank my family first and foremost. I want to specifically thank my dad, mom, sister, and grandparents. Without them, this journey would not have been possible. I would also like to thank my former coaches for helping me develop into the man I am today. Also, my teammates and friends have helped me make memories that will last a lifetime. Dude Crew!”
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