Small colleges: Mustangs’ Dicke gets things done

September 1, 2018

Century graduate Jon Dicke has been a mainstay along the defensive line for Southwest Minnesota State in Marshall. Dicke has also been a standout student, named CoSIDA first-team Academic All-American last season.

Century grad has made big impact at Southwest State

Time management. It’s what Rochester Century graduate Jon Dicke is all about.

Dicke credits it for his being a starting and standout defensive lineman since his sophomore year at Southwest Minnesota State, as well as a 4.0 student at the Division II school in Marshall.

Dicke is about to embark on his senior year with the Mustangs. The exercise science major does it coming off his second straight season of being named Academic All-Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.

“It’s the mentality that I bring to both things (school and football) that does it for me, that I’m committed,” said Dicke, who has plans for medical school once he graduates. “It’s about time management. I take a lot of pride in being a student, and I think my work reflects that. Seeing that 4.0, it’s a visual accomplishment. Not everyone can do that.”

Tod Strop has only been the Mustangs’ defensive coordinator since spring. But his newness hasn’t kept him from confidently sizing up Dicke.

Strop’s wish is that he could somehow clone Dicke’s wonderful predictability.

“There are certain guys who you can hang your hat on as a coach, that you don’t worry about being on time and don’t have to worry about in practice,” Strop said. “Jon is one of those blue-collar guys. He’s a hard worker and has that old-school toughness. He’s the kind of kid that you just know is going to succeed in life. Jon’s got that personality.”

Dicke didn’t wait until arriving at Southwest Minnesota State to start making the most of his time. He was dutifully hitting the books long before that, as evidenced by the 4.0 GPA he also carried in high school.

Dicke, who Strop says is one of the physically strongest players he’s ever been around, also didn’t wait until donning a Mustangs uniform to get serious about sports. The 6-foot-1, 318-pounder was a three-time All-Big Nine Conference selection in football and also played prominent roles on Century’s basketball and track and field teams.


Dicke picked Southwest Minnesota State after getting offers and interest from other Division II schools, as well as a couple at the Division I level.

It wasn’t the Mustangs’ success under former University of Minnesota quarterback Cory Sauter that drove Dicke to Marshall. After all, Sauter has gone just 34-44 in his seven years as Mustangs coach, including 2-9 last year and 5-6 the season before that.

What had Dicke packing for Southwest Minnesota State was that it offered his major, exercise science, as well as a sense that Mustangs coaches valued him beyond his ability to play football.

“Sauter is very focused on making us the right kind of men, for when football is over with,” Dicke said. “He’s modeling us for the rest of our lives. At our age, that’s really important.”

Dicke has a way of doing his own modeling, as a guy who plays with passion and a willingness to sacrifice for the betterment of the team.

He says that’s the way any good noseguard has to do it.

“As a noseguard (playing in the middle of the defensive line) you have to be determined and you have to know that you are not getting the glory (often taking on two blockers at a time),” Dicke said. “It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it. I’m looking more toward the team than I am myself. I try to never give up on plays and fight for as long as I can.”

Dicke has one last season to put up the good fight. When it’s done, he’ll miss it, especially the bonds he’s created.

“The guys on the football team, this is a roster of brothers,” Dicke said. “What I love is the team atmosphere here and just going to battle with these guys. We’ve been through a lot together.”

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