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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Football team opens spring practices

The NMU football team opens spring practices this week with 38 new faces on the team to make up the freshman class.

Defensive Back Mark Walker said the team is ready to welcome the new ’Cats on the field for spring play.

“Spring ball is always great,” Walker said. “Although we are preparing for the fall, we are making spring a ton of fun for the players new and old.”

The Wildcats set out to sign 35 players in the offseason and ended up signing 38 from various states, including 10 players from Illinois, six from Wisconsin, three from Florida, among others from New Jersey and Alabama.

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The team also signed six U.P. athletes including Marquette’s own quarterback Brett Place.

Place was named U.P. All-Star Selection his senior year as well as All-U.P. First Team and  All-Great Northern Conference First Team.

NMU head coach Chris Ostrowsky said the Marquette quarterback will be key for the Cats in the future.

“Place is a local man who is a first class kid, a hard worker and a good student,” Ostrowsky said. “He had a great career in Marquette so we’re excited to see him come in. He’ll have his time to mature a bit into the role and get a handle on college life a little bit, and hopefully he’ll do a good job developing.”

Another U.P. local hitting the field in the fall will be running back Garrett Blank from Munising. Blank was the team MVP in 2014 for Munising high school and was also selected to the Great Northern All-Conference.

Junior linebacker Levi Perry said recruiting players from various states creates a more well rounded team.

“We have players from all over,” Perry said. “I think wherever you are from there is a different style of play. For example we have guys for Florida. Down there, the game has a lot of speed. Most football players for that state and on our time are pretty fast. Comparing that to guys for the U.P. where the style of play is pretty physical.

“That’s not saying U.P. guys aren’t fast or Florida guys aren’t physical, but the style of play is different. All those playing styles coming together as one will only make us stronger and more versatile.”

Some of the new players Perry is referring to are wide receiver Jonathon Washington from Fort Lauderdale Fla. Washington averaged 12.3 yards per catch for a 38.2 yard per game average in the 2014 season.

Last season the Cats went 2-8 in GLIAC play, 3-8 overall finishing seventh out of eight teams in the GLIAC North Division.

Perry said the Wildcats know which improvements need to be made with the team in spring practices.

“As far as improvements, we’d like to see our team get stronger and faster,” Perry said. “Thus far, that is definitely the case. We’ve been in the weight room since the start of the semester, and we’re absolutely making progress. I’d like to see that continue through the summer and into the fall.”

Practices begin at 6:30 a.m. Monday, March 23 at the Superior Dome and are open to the public.

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