Top 5 For 25

Top 5 Cobber football players by position from the past 25 years.
Top 5 Cobber football players by position from the past 25 years.

Cobber Top 5 For 25
We take a look back at the last 25 years of Cobber football by posting the Top 5 players from each position. These are not a comprehensive, official list compiled by the Concordia athletic department. It's a list of great players compiled by the CobberSID - looking back at the past 25 years.

Fullbacks
1. Chad Johnson (2014-17)
● There wasn't an award Chad didn't win and he sits atop the all-time rushing yards list for Concordia. He was the rare combination of power and breakaway speed. He could break off a long run going between tackles or bouncing a huge gain around the end. He was an All-American, the MIAC MVP, received the Bobby Bell award for the Most Outstanding College Player in Minnesota in 2017 by the NFF and was a rare 3-time All-MIAC honoree. He is the program's all-time rushing TD leader with 40 rushing touchdowns in his career and he is second on the all-time rushing yard list with 2,699 yards. He also holds the single-season rushing record when he ran for 1,262 yards in his senior season. He has also scored the most points in Cobber football history (252).         
2. Brett Baune (2009-12)
● Brett was the only other fullback in the past 25 years to earn All-American and MIAC MVP honors. He accomplished both of those feats in his senior season in. He is No.2 for fullbacks in career rushing yards (2,126), rushing TDs (33) and total points scored (206). At 6-3, 240 he could run over you or beat you in a foot race.    
3. Kevin Williamson (2003-06)
● Big Willie Style ran for 1,574 yards and scored 170 points in his career at Concordia. Both of those totals are No.3 on the list for fullbacks in the past 25 years. At 5-10, 215 – he spent his time between the tackles punishing defenders who tried to stop him. He was a 2-time MIAC postseason award winner who averaged over 70 yards per game in his junior and senior seasons.    
4. Adam Swingdorf (2004-07)
● Adam had one of the greatest single seasons for a fullback in Cobber history when he scored a school record 19 touchdowns in 2007. He ran for 18 scores and caught one TD pass to account for 114 points which still stands as the most ever in a single season in program history. His 19 TDs helped him finish in the Top 15 in scoring in Division III. He ended his career at CC with 994 yards and 21 TDs.         
5A. Ed Oehlers (2001-04)
● Ed was the main rushing weapon for the Cobber MIAC championship team in 2004. He scored 15 touchdowns for the Cobbers that season which is tied for the fifth most in a single season in CC history. He also had a pair of TDs in Concordia's 28-14 win over Wartburg in the first round of the NCAA playoffs. Ed rushed for 754 rushing yards that year and was named to the MIAC All-Conference First Team. He had 926 career rushing yards and 19 TDs.    
5B. Jeremy Hinderks (2000-03)
● Jeremy was one of the most powerful fullbacks in program history. At 6-2, 250, he would punish opposing defenders who stepped into the hole and tried to stop him. He was a 2-year starter who finished his career with 20 touchdowns and 972 rushing yards. He was also an All-Region pitcher for the Cobbers.    

Offensive Lineman
1. Nick Didier (2001-04) 6-3, 275
● Name an award and Nick won it. His senior season was one for the story books where he helped Concordia win the MIAC championship and advance to the second round of the NCAA Playoffs. The list of awards in his senior season read like a postseason . Nick was named to the AP Little All-American First Team, the AFCA All-American First Team, the Football Gazette All-American First Team and was a D3football.com All-American. For good measure he was selected to play in the Aztec Bowl – the Division III All-Star game and was the MIAC Mike Stam Award winner (league's most outstanding lineman). Oh yeah, he was also the rare 3-year starter on the offensive line and a 2-time All-MIAC  honoree.     
2. Grant Weller (2004-07) 6-5, 295
● Grant was a dominating offensive lineman who combined size, skill and athletic ability. He had an outstanding senior season where he was named to the D3football.com All-American Team and received the Mike Stam award. Grant was also selected to play in the Aztec Bowl. In addition to his All-American award he also earned All-Region honors in 2007 and was a 2-time All-MIAC honoree.    
3. Tom Knowlton (2009-12) 6-5, 300
● Like the Top 2 linemen on our list, Tom received the Mike Stam award. He was an AFCA All-American in 2012 and was also named to the D3football.com All-Region First Team in 2012. He helped Concordia finish 18th in the nation in rushing yards per game. Knowlton was a part of an offensive line that helped the CC offense gain at least 400 total offensive yards in six of the team's 10 games.   
4. Tim Lowry (1992-95) 6-4, 260
● Like the Top 3 linemen on our list, Tim was also an All-American playing for the Cobbers. He was inducted into the Cobber Hall of Fame in 2015. Tim helped lead the Cobbers to the MIAC championship in 1995 and went on to earn MIAC All-Conference honors and be named to the AFCA All-American Team.      
5. Jake Estenson (1996-99) 6-5, 280
● Jake was the second player in the history of Cobber football to earn an invitation to the Aztec Bowl. He was a 2-time MIAC All-Conference First Team honoree and was a team captain in his senior year in 1999. Jake started his college career as a defensive lineman but then moved to the offensive side of the ball and had two dominant years as an offensive tackle.

Punter
1. Clayton Horgen (1996-99)
● Clayton is the best punter/kicker combo in the history of the program. He was No. 4 on the Top for 25 kicker list and gets the nod as the top punter in the past 25 years for his longevity and number of punts that contributed to his average. Clayton was the only 4-year starter at punter in the history of the Cobber program and one of only two punters to earn All-Conference honors in two seasons (1998 & 1999).  Clayton owns the record for the most punts in CC history (218) and most punts knocked inside the 20-yard line (49). He averaged 37.97 yards per punt over his 4-year career which is second best in Cobber history. Clayton's longest punt came in his senior season when he hit a 65-yarder against St. Olaf in the annual Homecoming game.        
2. Alex Berg (2015-19)
● Alex had the best single season for a Cobber punter in the history of the program. He finished second in punting average in all of NCAA Division III in 2019 and became the only Concordia punter to earn All-American honors in the past 25 years. He owns the best punt average in school history (42.22 yds/punt) and the longest punt in the last 25 years. He hammered a 75-yard punt on Nov. 16 at Carleton in the final game of his career.      
3. Eddie Clifton (2013-16)
● Eddie was one of only two Cobber punters in the past 25 years to be named to the MIAC All-Conference Team on more than one occasion. He earned All-Conference Second Team honors in goth his junior and senior seasons. Eddie finished his career with the third best punt average in school history (37.86 yds/punt). He also had one of only three punts longer than 65 yards in the past 25 years when he boomed a 67-yarder on Oct. 3, 2015 at home against Bethel.   
4. Brett Harmelink (2010-13)
● Brett was named to the MIAC All-Conference Second Team in 2013 after being the team's starting punter for three years. He finished his career with fifth highest punting average in the past 25 years. He was also one of only three punters in the past 25 years with at least 100 punts in a career. He averaged 36.52 yards per punt on his 101 career punts. Brett had 26 punts inside the 20-yard line and his career long punt of 57 yards came on Oct. 12, 2013.    
5A. David Williamson (2006-09)
● David was another one of the four punters to be a 3-year starter at the position in the last 25 years. He finished his career with the second most punting yards among any CC punters in the past 25 years. He had 29 punts downed inside the 20-yard line in his career and his longest punt was 58 yards which came on Nov. 1, 2008.
5B. Kevin Williamson (2003-06)     
● Kevin was a 2-way threat as a fullback and punter in his final two seasons in 2005 and 2006. He was named to the All-MIAC Second Team as a punter in 2006. Kevin finished with the fourth best punt average among Cobber punters in the past 25 years (36.89 yds/punt). He put 23 punts inside the 20-yard line in his career and his longest punt was 69 yards which he hit against Gustavus on Nov. 4, 2006.

Kickers  
1. Brian Halverson (2002-05)
● Mr. Clutch. Brian hit the game-winning field goal in the epic Cobber win at St. John's in 2004 which I still one of the Top 3 Cobber games CobberSID has ever witnessed in his career. He is the school's all-time point leader among kickers and his 245 career points is only second to Chad Johnson for most points by any Cobber player. He also holds the school record in PAT kicks made (152), PAT kicks attempted (174) and field goals attempted (45). He is the only kicker in the past 25 years to earn All-Region honors and was the only kicker to earn All-MIAC First Team honors more than once. If my life is on the line and I need someone to hit the pressure field goal, I'm dialing Brian's number.      
2. Carl Hauser (2006-09)
● Carl is the only other kicker in Cobber history to score over 200 points in a career. He finished with 204 points in his storied career from 2006-09. He is the program's all-time leader in field goals made (32) and is one field goal attempt shy of being in the top spot for field goals attempted (44). He is also second in field goal percentage (72.7%) and third in PATs attempted (124). On top of everything else, he would be in the Top 5 for best hair in the past 25 years.   
3. Ben Wagner (2011-14)
● Ben was the only other kicker in the past 25 years to earn All-MIAC honors on multiple occasiosn. He was named to the All-MIAC First Team in 2013 and was a Second Team selection in 2014. The leg from France is the school's most consistent extra point kicker of all time. He finished his career by making 123 of his 126 PATs (97.6%) and at one point he made 78 consecutive extra points in a streak that covered 2012 and 2013. He is also the all-time leader in field goal percentage (75.0%/18-for-24). If I had to bet my house on an extra point – I'd want Ben to take it. Plus, he gets bonus points for being a Dodgers fan.       
4. Clayton Horgen (1996-99)
● Clayton is tied for the most field goals ever attempted in Cobber history (45). He is also fourth on the Cobber all-time list for field goals made (28) and field goal percentage (62.2%) and fifth in PATs made (97) and PAT success percentage (91.5%). He was also the team's punter during his Cobber career and might just pop up on that Top 5 list.  
5. Tony Kostelecky (2015-18)
● Tony is fifth on the list for field goals made and extra points made in the past 25 years. He was a 2-year starter as the Cobber kicker and also had a field goal attempt in his sophomore season in 2006.   

Defensive Linemen
1. Mark Hankel (1998-00)
● Mark was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018. He is the Cobber all-time leader in sacks, tackles for a loss and yards from tackles for a loss. Do we have to continue? He was an All-American, Mike Stam Award winner (MIAC Most Valuable Lineman), Aztec All-Star Bowl participant and 2-time All-MIAC award winner. Oh, just for good measure he also owns the Top 2 Concordia single season sack records (14.0 in 1999 and 12.5 in 2000).   
2. Derek Flann (1999-02)
● Derek was inducted into the Cobber Hall of Fame in 2019 after his incredible 4-year career in Cobberville. He was an All-American, Mike Stam Award winner, Aztec All-Star Bowl participant and 2-time All-MIAC honoree. He dominated the line from his spot over the center and finished his career with 29.0 tackles for a loss which is second on the Cobber all-time list. If his awards and stats don't get him in the Top 5 list, the fact that he has had the best facial hair of any Cobber football player in the past 25 years certainly does.       
3. Nate Adams (2013-14)
● Nate only played for two years after transferring from Bemidji State but those were two exceptional seasons. He was a 2-time All-MIAC honoree, named to the D3football.com in both seasons, was an All-American and also earned the Mike Stam Award for the MIAC's Most Valuable Lineman in 2013. Nate also got a tryout from the Minnesota Vikings after his senior season. He owns the Cobber single season record for tackles for a loss (17.5) and yards from tackles for a loss (101.0). He finished his 2-year career in the Cobber Top 10 in tackles for a loss in a career, yards from tackles for a loss and in the Top 15 in career sacks.      
4. Tyler Ledyard (2003-2006)
● Tyler was a 2-time All-MIAC honoree who also earned a spot in the Aztec Bowl when the Aztec Bowl was by select invitation only and was for the Top 45 DIII players in the country. The reason we put Tyler in the Top 5 ahead of some others is that he had back-to-back outstanding seasons. He has two of the Top 11 Cobber seasons in sacks, tackles for a loss and yards from tackles for a loss. His junior and senior season numbers of 18.0 sacks, 26.0 tackles for a loss and 158.0 yards from tackles for a loss are one of the top 2-year production totals of any defensive lineman.        
5A. Jason Caron (1993-96)
● Jason is second on the Cobber career all-time sack list. He finished his days in maroon and gold with 21.0 sacks. He was a 2-time All-MIAC First Team selection and helped the Cobbers win the conference title in 1995.    
5B. Bryan Boll (1992-95)
● Bryan was a 2-time captain and and 2-time All-MIAC honoree who helped the Cobbers win the MIAC championship and advance to the NCAA playoffs (where they narrowly lost to eventual natty champ Wis.-La Crosse). He also has the third highest sack total among players in the past 25 years. One final factor – Bryan is the best hockey player among the defensive linemen.  

We see you – Travis Almquist, Travis Aufderheide, Adam Campbell
   
Linebackers
1. Josh Dietz (2001-04)
● Fiercest linebacker/athlete on a team full of fierce competitors. All-American, All-Region and 3-time All-MIAC. The next stop for Josh will be in the Cobber Hall of Fame. He finished his career with the second most tackles in school history (309). He is also second in unassisted tackles (167) and third in assisted tackles (142). He owns the single season record for unassisted tackles (76 – 2004)) and had the second most total tackles in a season (125 – 2004). Oh, and he was a really good pitcher for the Cobber baseball team. He is missed but his legacy will live on.        
2. Alex Berg (2015-19)
● The 2010's version of Josh Dietz. Controlled the defense from the middle of the field. A dominant force who played through injuries and helped the Cobbers beat 6-time national champ Wis.-Whitewater in 2017. He earned All-Region honors and was a 3-time All-MIAC honoree. All this, plus he was one of the nicest student/athletes at Concordia.    
3. Doug Runke (2001-04)
● The middle linebacker for the Cobbers' 2004 MIAC title team. He was tough, smart and ran the Cobber defensive machine helped Concordia go unbeaten in conference play and MIAC offenses to a mere 12.6 points per game. Doug was a 3-year starter and is sixth on the Cobbers' all-time list for tackles (231) and assisted tackles (129).   
4. Ryan Sannes (1994-97)
● Ryan is in the Cobber Top 10 in career total tackles and assisted tackles. He was also a 2-time All-MIAC honoree. Ryan captained a defense that only gave up 97 points in his senior year when the team went to the NCAA playoffs. He was named the team MVP in 1997. If that wasn't enough to get him in the Top 5, he wore No.80 as a linebacker. It doesn't get any tougher (PC version) than that.  
5A. Mark Halley (2002-05)
● Mark was a part of the MIAC championship linebacking corps in 2004 and went on to earn All-MIAC honors in 2005 when he had 63 unassisted tackled which is the fourth most for a single season in Cobber history. He also made the play of the game in the 2005 Power Bowl when he picked off a pass and ran 67 yards for a TD.    
5B. Hank Van Liew (2013-16)
● He went from a young, inexperienced player to a huge part of the Cobber defense that posted back-to-back 8-2 seasons. He was named to the MIAC All-Conference Team as a senior after he finished second on the team behind Berg for tackles with 89. Had a huge heart and, as they say in the business, was a "high-motor guy".

Defensive Backs
1. Jordan Talge (2001-04)
● Helped the Cobbers win the title in 2004 and advance to the second round of the NCAA playoffs. He was inducted into the Cobber Athletics Hall of Fame in 2019. A tremendously smart player who could also step up and make huge tackles. He is the Cobber all-time leader in interceptions and is the only Concordia player to ever be named a finalist for the Gagliardi Trophy. He was an All-American and a multiple All-MIAC award winner.
2. Josh Vickerman (1999-03)
● Second on the Cobber all-time list for interceptions. He also returned a pair of the picks to the house which is in the Top 3 in the history of the program. He was a 2-time All-MIAC award winner and a 3-year starter who had seven picks his junior year.    
3. Tanner Radermacher (2002-05)
● A huge part of the 2004 Cobber MIAC championship team. He was a 2-time All-MIAC honoree and excelled in both pass and run defense. He had seven INTs in the championship season of 2004 and made over 60 tackles in each of his junior and senior seasons.   
4. Zach Debeltz (2007-10)
● One of the hardest hitting defensive backs in the history of Cobber football. He was a 2-time All-MIAC award winner and finished his career with 10 interceptions. Led the team in tackles and solo tackles in both his junior and senior seasons.
5. Kenyon O'Brien (2010-13)
● Besides Jordan Talge, only Cobber defensive back to earn All-American honors in the past 25 seasons. Led the MIAC in interceptions in 2013 which helped him earn All-MIAC accolades.