By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Things change pretty fast in the world of college football. Regina senior Jared Brinkman saw that first hand over the last month.
What never changed for Brinkman was his college choice and on Wednesday morning he made his selection official.
Brinkman signed his national letter of intent with Northern Iowa on Wednesday, honoring the verbal commitment he gave to the Panthers seven months ago.
“I knew UNI was a great place and that’s the place I wanted to play,” Brinkman said after signing his letter of intent at Regina on Wednesday morning. “They have shown me a lot of love and that’s the place that I always wanted to be.”
A three-year starter on both the offensive and defensive lines at Regina, Brinkman was recruited by Northern Iowa as a defensive lineman.
Last month Brinkman got a surprise when the coach he planned on playing for, UNI defensive line coach Bryce Paup, accepted the same position at Minnesota under new head coach P.J. Fleck.
The change in position coaches didn’t bring about a change of heart for Brinkman who is following in the footsteps of his father and his high school position coach Mike by playing at UNI.
“I really liked Paup but he has to do what he has to do,” Brinkman said. “You always wonder what is going to happen but (head) coach (Mark) Farley and coach (Jeremiah) Johnson are running the defense so nothing is going to change. They have had great defensive line coaches in the past and they are going to hire another one and I’m excited to meet them and play for them.”
Brinkman established himself as a major college prospect with an all-state junior season.
The 6-foot-1, 275-pound Brinkman had 63 solo stops and six sacks among his 72.5 tackles as a junior while playing defense tackle and defensive end for a Regina squad that went 13-1 and won the Class 1A state title.
Over the summer Brinkman ended his recruitment, committing to Northern Iowa over offers at the time from Army, Western Illinois and Northwest Missouri State and interest from Iowa, Iowa State and North Dakota State where his older brother Jake is a freshman linebacker.
“He is built for it and he is just an incredible leverage player,” Regina coach Marv Cook said. “He is going to be a perfect fit for what UNI does so he is in a good situation.”
This season Brinkman was practically unblockable.
He led Regina with 64 tackles, including 59 solo stops and 6.5 sacks, to help the Regals to an 11-2 season and 1A runner-up finish.
As a center, he anchored a Regina offensive line that helped the Regals average better than 260 rushing yards and 42 points per game on his way to being named a first-team all-state pick.
“The down side with us is that he played 95 snaps,” Cook said. “If he can play 55 or 60 snaps now on one side of the ball and be fresh I think you will see exponential growth in his game.”
After playing nearly every snap for the past three seasons Brinkman is excited about the idea of focusing on his craft on the defensive line.
“Definitely just playing one way and perfecting my game is something I look forward to,” Brinkman said. “I’m excited to play defense and just get in that program.”