Dylan Hart performing well for Minnesota WestDylan Hart is making an immediate impact as a junior college football player.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
Dylan Hart is making an immediate impact as a junior college football player.
The Mitchell native is standing out as a freshman middle linebacker for the Minnesota West Community and Technical College Bluejays. He’s hoping his strong year can eventually springboard him into more football.
Hart graduated from Mitchell this past spring. Now attending a two-year college in Worthington, Minn., he’s been named a team captain and is fifth nationally in junior college football in total sacks with nine.
“We’re real fortunate to have a player like Dylan on our team,” said Minnesota West coach Jeff Linder, whose team is 5-2. “He’s a hard-worker, he plays tireless and we’re real excited to have him.”
Since players can only attend the junior college for two years, Linder said freshmen are expected to be ready to take the field immediately when they come to the school. After that, many of the players go on to play NAIA, NCAA Division II or even NCAA Division I for their final two years of collegiate eligibility.
Hart, who found out about the Worthington college through Mitchell football coach Kent VanOverschelde, said his hope is to continue playing football at a higher level. Linder believes the former first-team 11AA all-state linebacker has the ability to do it, too.
“I’m going to try and play here and then go somewhere bigger afterward,” Hart said. “I’m going to try and go Division II or Division I.”
Before the season started, Hart was voted on by his teammates as a team captain. He’s the youngest player to hold that honor in school history.
“He’s definitely a hard-working leader,” Linder said. “He’s been a great asset to our program.”
Last fall, Hart led the Kernels’ defense with 112 tackles and averaged 10.2 per game. He added seven sacks and three interceptions. He was also an all-Eastern South Dakota Conference selection.
Hart was leading the Bluejays in tackles early this season, but injured his shoulder during a game against Mesabi, a team from Virginia, Minn. Linder said the game against Mesabi was a standout performance for Hart. That day, he had 12 tackles, three sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Hart has 55 tackles on the season, but has missed two of the past three games. He said he plans to play Saturday when the team plays the Rochester Yellowjackets.
“I’m really enjoying playing here,” he said.