Today, in Florence, Ala., Nate Dreiling took his place among the greatest players in NCAA Division II history.
Pitt State’s sophomore linebacker and the MIAA defensive player of the year had 15 tackles and blocked a punt in the Gorillas’ 35-21 win over Wayne State for their first NCAA D2 title since 1991. Chuck Broyles told me an interesting story about Dreiling’s recruitment for a story in today’s Eagle, and I’m not sure what else I can say about the 6-foot-4, 228-pound Hutchinson High product that hasn’t already been said. His ability to lead on and off the field is unparalleled.
So let’s talk about the future.
If you know anything about Dreiling, this one title isn’t going to be enough. And with PSU’s best offensive player back in John Brown, a repeat or three-peat isn’t out of the question. Without a doubt, they’ll be the preseason No.1 next year.
Possible pitfalls? Living a normal life in Pittsburg or anywhere else in the state for that matter is going to be impossible for Dreiling & Co. for the rest of their time in Gorilla uniforms. On one side, you’ve got a crazy/rabid fanbase that is going to be dissecting their every move and the amount of love they’re about to be showered with … wow.
On the other side you’ve got expectations that will be almost impossible to live up to … not to mention every single football player in the MIAA right now is dreaming of when they get their shot at PSU next season.
I’m not placing any limit on what this group is capable of. When you’re picked to finish 5th in your conference and you win the national title, you’ve shown everyone that anything is possible.
Congrats to the Gorillas and all their fans — this is a day you’ll remember for the rest of your lives.
PS. Thought this song was fitting