RHS senior to be ‘preferred walk-on’ for DII football
BY KEVIN BONESKE
Rhinelander High School senior Colton Krueger has made his plans official to play NCAA Division II football at Hillsdale College in Michigan.
Krueger – who signed his letter of intent Wednesday during a ceremony with family, coaches, students and others on hand in RHS’s Digital Media Center – will be a “preferred walk-on” this coming season at Hillsdale, where he will be able to practice with the scholarship players and hopes to receive a football scholarship in the future.
“I just want to thank all my coaches, even through youth and middle school and high school, that helped me to get here, and all my other mentors, like in the weight room,” Krueger said. “Everybody’s been there for me – my parents, my family for always supporting me – and everybody that’s in this room, because they’ve all influenced me in some way.”
RHS activities director Brian Paulson said Krueger has been “outstanding, not only in the classroom, but also, obviously, as an athlete here at RHS.”
“We’re very lucky to have you lead by example for the people that are going to come after you,” Paulson said.
Krueger was recognized by the Great Northern Conference in football his junior and senior seasons by being named to the all-conference second team on defense, as a linebacker and a punter. He has also been a wrestler during his four years in high school, being a conference champion at 285 and 220 pounds and placing runner-up in the GNC at 195 and 182 pounds. As a three-sport high school athlete, Krueger has competed in track and field by throwing the discus and shot put.
Coaches on hand for the signing ceremony praised Krueger. For instance, RHS head wrestling coach Paul Ellenbecker called him “mature beyond his years.”
“I think that’s one of the things that really helped him achieve the success he has,” Ellenbecker said. “He’s very self-motivated…. Colton’s so well-grounded and driven that I have no doubt Hillsdale’s getting a really special student-athlete, and he’s going to be a great role model and leader.”
Krueger is one of 23 incoming football players, and one of four new linebackers, Hillsdale announced for National Signing Day on Wednesday. That announcement also noted that ideally, most, if not all of the incoming players will be redshirted in their first year, but occasionally true freshmen will see the field.
Academically, Krueger said he plans on enrolling in the sports and exercise science program at Hillsdale and then attend graduate school elsewhere to become a physical therapist.