Blake Van Veldhuizen has spent the last two years with the team clogging up the running lanes and eating up blocks as a defensive tackle for Minnesota State University, Mankato. He has 5.5 tackles for loss and 3 sacks, along with 27 total tackles over two seasons with the Mavericks. The senior is currently majoring in manufacturing engineering and technology, with a minor in agriculture.
The Iowa native attended Iowa Western Community College out of high school and after a year and a half, Van Veldhuizen decided to transfer to MSU and was welcomed as a member of the football team.
This change in scenery has been great for Van Veldhuizen, and being a part of the football team has only further enhanced his experience.
“The best part of being on the team here at MSU has really just been the team camaraderie, I play with all of my best buddies, and hanging out with them all the time has been really special,” Van Veldhuizen said.
He has taken the transition from a high school to a college athlete in stride, he truly embraced playing his role on the team, prioritizing film study and weights in order to prevail over his competition.
Putting in the time and dedication to a sport as a student athlete has its challenges. Van Veldhuizen tries his best to prepare to be able to perform at his best.
“Coming out every week, knowing that we have prepared as well as we could all week to put our best effort out on the field, I am proud of how we take on the process every week,” Van Veldhuizen said.
As the season wears on, Van Veldhuizen says that the coaching staff has been a great motivation for the players. “I would say that Coach Gold inspires me every week, he always has a quote to get us going, he always knows how to get on us when we aren’t doing so well.”
As for the rest of the season, Van Veldhuizen wants the team to approach each game with the understanding that it is the most important game on the schedule, and to not look past anyone in front of them.
“I feel like when we look more at the big picture, it’s hard to focus on one game at a time. So as a team, our goal is just to take it one game at a time,” Van Veldhuizen said. “For my personal goals, I just want to do my job to the best of my ability out there, and the stats will come along with that if I am doing my job right.”
There’s no telling the future, but we can expect to see Van Veldhuizen back home in Iowa on the farm as a mechanical engineer in ten years. As for now, look for #93 this Saturday, as the Mavericks take on the Upper Iowa Peacocks at 1:00 p.m. in the Mavericks’ very own Blakeslee Stadium.
Header Photo: Blake Van Veldhuizen #93 is a defensive lineman for MSU football. (Asutosh Silwal/The Reporter)
Write to Hayden Lee at Hayden.Lee@mnsu.edu