By Jake Knabel, Director of Athletic Communications
Fifth-year senior Adam Vogt got his ‘welcome to college football moment’ out of the way quickly.
“One practice in particular he got trucked by the running back. He just put Adam out,” defensive coordinator Patrick Daberkow recalled of an early spring practice in April. “The next play the offense ran an outside zone stretch play and he went in there and made the tackle in the backfield. It was great to see him step up the very next play and throw his body in there.”
The two-play snapshot symbolizes both the challenges Vogt faces and his ability to adapt quickly. It hasn’t taken long for the 5-foot-9 cornerback to bring back shades of his days starring for a highly successful football program at Syracuse High School.
The former two-sport prep star hasn’t played an organized football game since then, but he’s already put himself in position to earn playing time for head coach Vance Winter this fall.
“It had always been kind of a pipe dream,” Vogt said of playing football as a fifth-year senior. “I knew I had to go four-and-a-half years to graduate, not just four. It never really became a reality until the Wednesday before spring ball. I was up here in the offices and Coach (Ben) Limback (head men’s basketball) mentioned that Coach (Vance) Winter asked if I’d be interested. I emailed him and that day I was in his office. The next Monday I was at spring practice.”
And so began the collegiate football career of Vogt, who put together a solid four-year run as a Bulldog basketball player for three different head coaches. The Syracuse native totaled 910 career points and earned second team all-conference honors this past season. He could have chosen to play football at Concordia right from the start, however, basketball was his first passion.
But the itch to play college football never left.
“I just love to compete,” Vogt said. “Just because I decided basketball over football doesn’t mean I don’t love football. If I hadn’t done it, there would always be that what if. ‘Why didn’t I try it?’ This is my last chance.”
There is a precedent in recent Bulldog history for what Vogt is doing. The 1998 Concordia Senior Male Athlete of the Year, Glen Snodgrass made the exact same transition after a successful four-year basketball career for then head coach Grant Schmidt. The physically imposing Snodgrass shifted to defensive end and made seven sacks on his way to first team all-NIAC recognition.
Now the head football coach at York High School, Snodgrass says he thoroughly enjoyed his one season of playing football for Coach Courtney Meyer.
“I always loved football and I was very happy to have one more chance to play the game,” Snodgrass said. “It was very interesting to see the difference in culture between the two programs and it was an outstanding opportunity to meet an entire new group of players, friends and mentors in our football coaching staff. Playing football my fifth year was one of the best decisions of my life.”
According to Daberkow, Vogt has the necessary traits to make a similarly smooth transition.
“He plays with reckless abandon and that’s what you need in a defensive player,” Daberkow said. “And he’s got really quick feet. It really just took one play of him getting caught off guard to make the adjustment.”
With him joining the squad just days before spring practice, some heads turned when Vogt, donning No. 11, graced the practice field on March 31.
“I think some of them were a little surprised but they were a lot more excited than I figured they would be,” Vogt said. “They were a lot more accepting. I just kind of stepped in without putting in the work beforehand. They were a lot more welcoming than I thought they would be. Overall it’s been great getting to know those guys and becoming their teammates.”
Daberkow says Vogt may hold down a starting corner spot when the Bulldogs open the season on Sept. 6 at 15th-ranked Sterling College. An option quarterback and corner at Syracuse, Vogt fits well at the corner spot at Concordia. Plus the quarterback position is already manned by two-year starter Von Thomas.
Vogt figures to spend the fall getting cozy in Daberkow’s schemes while becoming accustomed to working one-on-one against athletic receivers who are likely to have a height advantage on him. Vogt understands that the GPAC will present hurdles more significant than the ones he dealt with at the Nebraska Class C-1 level.
“This spring, Coach kept it simple so that wasn’t too bad with the schemes and all that,” Vogt said. “There’s going to be way more throwing here at Concordia and the NAIA level than I was used to in high school at the C-1 level. Getting used to the level of talent at the wide receiver end and having to guard them – and at the quarterback end – is just going to be that more challenging than it was in high school.”
Time will be at a premium this fall for the secondary education major, who will also be student teaching. He will spend eight weeks teaching math at Seward High School and then another eight weeks in physical education at a school yet to be determined. That means Vogt’s schedule will be packed tight, but he wouldn’t have it any different.
“School will start at 8 o’clock,” Vogt said. “I’ll be there at probably 7:30. Hopefully I’ll get out of there by 3:30 and then come over here for meetings, go to practice, go home and get ready for the next day. It will be a big time commitment with having stuff to do every day for football and getting ready for student teaching. It will be busy, but fun.”
Vogt’s immediate future will feature a string of two-a-days. No problem for Vogt. He worked tirelessly this summer to prepare himself for the physical toll. And of course he wants to win – just as he did at Syracuse High.
Even if the season happens to come up short of expectations, Vogt realizes how blessed he is to have the ability to do something that individuals rarely do anymore – play two collegiate sports.
“I’m happy for the opportunity to play two college sports,” Vogt said. “Most people don’t even have the opportunity to play one. I’m blessed to have the opportunity to play both. I’m a competitor so I’m obviously going to want to play. I’m going to be really mad at myself if I don’t perform at the level that I think I can.”