Hillsdale linebacker back home to face GVSU
by Greg Johnson | The Grand Rapids Press
Hillsdale’s Tom Korte is a Catholic Central graduate who leads the GLIAC with 11.5 tackles for a loss and has 2.5 sacks.
ALLENDALE — Hillsdale College middle linebacker Tom Korte periodically comes home to Grand Rapids and often has to answer the Grand Valley State and Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference questions.
“Yes, we’re in the same conference; no, we haven’t played Grand Valley since I was a freshman because it’s just the way the schedules have worked — you know that explanation,” he said.
“I would be lying if I said that this game wasn’t a little bigger. I get to come home. I’ll have a lot of family and friends there. We’re playing the team that’s No. 1 in the country — the team at the top of the conference. It’s big.”
Korte, a senior linebacker, preseason All-American and the Chargers’ leading tackler, is expected to play a major role in the outcome against the Lakers on Saturday night.
“Korte has had a phenomenal career there,” Grand Valley coach Chuck Martin said. “He’s all over the field, he’s physical, has a great motor and he is also great at stripping the ball. He makes a lot of plays.”
Martin admitted Korte was one of the prize recruits that got away when he graduated from Catholic Central.
“We really liked him, and he has just excelled, too,” he said. “I’m sure he will be fired up coming home. We’ll try to be ready for him. I think our guys will see on film that he’s different than the linebackers we have faced so far this season. This guy goes downhill, reads quick, reacts quick and hits people. We have to make sure we get him blocked.”
Korte, 6-foot, 235 pounds, leads the GLIAC with 11 1/2 tackles for loss, ranks fourth in tackles per game (11) and has 2 1/2 sacks as Hillsdale has built a 4-2 record. The Chargers are second in the league behind Grand Valley in the team rushing defense statistics (117.8 yards per game).
Hillsdale officials said the NFL has shown interest in the star linebacker by sending scouts to several practices and games. Korte, who is in a pre-dental program and will graduate in May, said football past college is something he will consider.
“I feel right now I would like to play more,” he said. “That’s later though. I came here to help (Coach Keith Otterbein) turn this program back in the right direction and win games.”