11/26/2013 Baseball Black Friday Youth Camp Cancelled
11/26/2013 20 Reivers Named MFC All-Conference
11/25/2013 Volleyball Closes Out Season
11/25/2013 Reviers fall to Pratt CC 20-15
11/24/2013 2013 National Champions - Men's Soccer
11/18/2013 Iowa State Open
11/4/2013 Wrestlers Season Opener
11/3/2013 Reivers Capture Another MFC Title
11/3/2013 Reivers advance to National Tournament
10/28/2013 Reivers Roll to MFC Title
FORMER REIVER DALLAS HENDRIKSON STARTS STRONG AT RUTGERS
Rutgers’ new starting center Dallas Hendrikson grew up so deep in America’s heartland that the fictional television town of Mayberry would be considered the big city by comparison.
His hometown of Lyle, Minn., a speck on the map that straddles the Iowa-Minnesota border, has a robust population of 400. What passes for the downtown consists of a couple restaurants and a gas station.
Hendrikson, who sports a blond mop-top hairstyle and matching full beard, calls home a 170-acre farm, where his parents, two sisters and he raised cattle and hogs. His nearest neighbor was a car ride away. His senior class in high school at St. Ansgar (Iowa) had 65 students.
During his official visit to Rutgers last fall, he took his first trip to New York City and left with a cramp in his neck.
“The hallway effect of the tall buildings was amazing,” said the soft-spoken Hendrikson, who has a ready smile. “I was looking up the whole time. Everybody made fun of me. They knew I was new in town.”
And the ribbing from teammates has been nonstop ever since. “I’ll just say there’s definitely some Midwestern tendencies that we pick on him about,” guard Art Forst said with a mischievous grin. “We were riding to a restaurant one day, and he said his dad drives 20 miles to work and if he sees two cars on the way, that’s a lot of traffic. If you see three, you’re thinking something is up.”
While the pursuit of incoming freshman running back Savon Huggins dominated the headlines during the recruiting process last winter, the courting of Hendrikson, a junior college transfer from Iowa Western Community College, was perhaps equally as important as the Scarlet Knights’ attempt to shore up an offensive line that set an NCAA record by allowing 61 sacks last season. Rutgers also finished 110th nationally in rushing (100.9 yard per game) out of 120 schools.
Coach Greg Schiano was so intent on landing Hendrikson that he flew to Iowa two days after the season ended to visit with him and his family.
“For him to come and do that, it’s hard to explain,” said the 6-2, 295-pound Hendrikson, who picked Rutgers over South Florida and Washington State. “It was overwhelming.”
Hendrikson, who enrolled at Rutgers in January, is getting his first taste of Division 1 football this spring and it hasn’t been all pretty. In addition to learning the offense, making the line calls and trying to build chemistry within the unit, he’s facing defensive tackle Scott Vallone every day in practice. Vallone is one of the top defensive linemen in the Big East and a likely all-conference preseason selection.
“Scott is a great player,” Hendrikson said. “He’s just going to make me better.”
Schiano said Hendrikson, who is replacing the graduated Howard Barbieri, is a terrific athlete but right now lacks brut strength. Getting him stronger has been a priority since his arrival.
The Knights rarely go the junior college route, but they have history on their side regarding the center position. The last time they signed a center from the junior college ranks was 2005 when they recruited Darnell Stapleton, who was a two-year starter and a starter on the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers in 2009.
“It’s definitely a challenge,” Hendrikson said. “I have some big shoes to fill in Howard. But with the coaches and players having your back, you’re going to get it done. I think I’m already on my way.”