Schweickart signs to play at Denison

Published 5:44 am Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Denison Big Red wanted a good football player. Tanner Schweickart wanted a good education.

They both got what they wanted.

Schweickart — the Ironton Fighting Tigers’ senior fullback and linebacker — found the academic program he wanted at Denison and the Big Red got the player they needed when Schweickart signed a letter-of-intent.

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“Denison is one of the top academic schools. They have really good internships,” said Schweickart who plans to major in economics.

“I liked where their football was. They run the ball and they have a fullback and a H-back. They plan to play me at strong safety or fullback We’ll just see how it goes.”

Denison became aware of Schweickart when they invited him to a camp last summer. After watching him play, the coaches were impressed.

“I guarded guys running routes. I was head up over the tight end and I went everywhere he went,” said Schweickart.

Although he hasn’t played strong safety, Schweickart said the position is similar to linebacker at Denison.

“It should be fine. It’s an active position. They walk up and play some outside linebacker, and they use you to come off the edge as a blitzer,” said Schweickart.

But fullback is a more natural position for Schweickart. As part of the Ironton backfield rotation, Schweickart carried 48 times for 200 times — a strong 4.2 yards per carry average — and he scored three touchdowns.

“They graduated their fullback and they are running fullback by committee right now. I think I could play fullback right away,” said Schweickart.

Ironton head coach Mark Vass said Denison got a quality person in Schweickart.

“Tanner is a good player and student, but even more important he’s an outstanding young man,” said Vass. “Tanner was one of the hardest workers we had, he was hard-nosed and he did everything we asked of him. Denison got a good one.”

Besides the NCAA Div. III Denison program, Schweickart also entertained offers from others schools such as Ohio Domincan, Marietta, Capital and The Citadel. He said the academics and school’s location were the deciding factors.

“It was academics and location. I loved that. It’s close to Columbus and there are more job opportunities,” said Schweickart. “It’s a small town. It’s not like you’re in the middle of Columbus.

“I liked the coaching staff. (Head coach Jack Hatem) is a really good guy. He’s upbeat.”

The Big Red finished last season 4-6 overall and 4-3 in the North Coast Athletic Conference.

Tanner is the son of Lauren Triplett-Schweickart and Jamie Schweickart.