DWU loses All-American WR Muilenburg for seasonDakota Wesleyan University will be without All-American wideout Anthony Muilenburg for the entire 2012 season.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
Dakota Wesleyan University will be without All-American wideout Anthony Muilenburg for the entire 2012 season.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound senior on the Tigers’ football team recently decided to take a redshirt this year while dealing with an ailing left ankle. The redshirt tag gives him full eligibility as a fifth-year senior next year.
“It’s very, very frustrating,” Muilenburg said, “but it’s a decision I decided to make because it’s the best thing. I just want to get healthy and I’m very excited for next year.”
Last offseason, during a pick-up basketball game, Muilenburg landed on his ankle wrong and broke it, an injury that required surgery in December. He initially thought he had a high ankle sprain, but learned the severity of the injury after X-rays.
Muilenburg sat out spring practice and was hoping to be ready to play by fall camp. Once practice started in August, the Sioux Falls Lincoln graduate was a participant during some practices and tested the ankle in hopes to be ready for the season opener against Dakota State University on Sept. 1.
“I tried pushing it as much as I could,” he said. “But I didn’t want to push it too much where I would have to start this process all over again so I kind of backed away from it. I just wasn’t there yet.”
But after missing the first two games of the year, he brought up the idea of redshirting to coach Ross Cimpl.
The two came to a final decision before last weekend’s game against Hastings, the Tigers’ first loss of the year. Muilenburg is hoping to be completely healthy by the spring to get ready for the 2013 season.
“We sat down and talked about it … he’s not even 100 percent right now,” Cimpl said. “It wasn’t something we really had to debate. It was sort of the writing on the wall, saying he’s not going to be healthy this year and we won’t know when for sure. He was in favor of this and I am, too.”
Muilenburg was honored as a first-team all-conference member on offense each of the past two years and was a GPAC honorable mention player as a freshman.
Last year he was named an AFCA first-team All-American after leading the team with 15 touchdowns. He set school records for receiving yards in a game (233) and longest reception (99). He caught 64 passes for 855 yards and earned two GPAC offensive player of the week awards.
In Muilenburg’s absence, sophomore Arthur Brown has stepped in as the Tigers’ top receiving threat, catching 26 passes for 303 yards and three TDs.
“I’m not sure if you ever replace an All-American,” Cimpl said. “We have some guys who are stepping up and doing some nice things for us.”
According to Great Plains Athletic Conference Commissioner Corey Westra, Dakota Wesleyan will need to file an addendum to the league, saying that Muilenburg is off this season’s eligibility certificate. The rule is mandatory by the conference, but it can be filed anytime during or after the season.
Cimpl will have to send a letter to the GPAC, listing all of the players — including the incoming freshmen — who did not play this season.
“I’m really looking forward to next year,” Muilenburg said. “But we’ve still got more than half of this season left. I’m going to be here for my team, cheering them on and doing as much as I can do.”