Jon Mans set to play football at UW-River Falls
NICOLLET — Nicollet standout Jon Mans has decided that he will play college football at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls starting this coming fall.
Mans, who played quarterback the last two years and multiple positions for the Raiders on defense the last three years, said that he will play as a defensive back at the collegiate level.
He got in contact with a coach at UW-River Falls last November and decided that it was the right place for him.
“This fall, I had a couple of friends recommend to me that I should tour River Falls because it was a really nice campus,” Mans said. “I was planning a tour up there already. The day before I went up there, a friend of mine who used to be taught by one of their coaches sent the coach a text and said I was coming up. He [the coach] checked out my film and the next day he met me there and said that I could be on the team.”
Last year, Mans was a dual-threat quarterback and led the Raiders to the Section 2 9-man championship game at the quarterback position. He passed for 1,820 yards and threw 22 touchdown passes. He also rushed for 835 yards and 14 touchdowns on 122 carries. His 2,655 total yards of offense helped him earn All-District honors and he led the Raiders to a 9-2 record.
He ended his career with 333 completions for 3,876 yards and 45 touchdowns. He also rushed for 1,296 yards in his career with 22 touchdowns.
Defensively, he had 44 total tackles, one sack and one interception last year. For his career, he had 84 total tackles, one sack, two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
His head coach, Tom Murphy, said his leadership will be missed in Nicollet.
“Jon has been our starting quarterback for the last two seasons,” Murphy said. “This year he took a big step forward and was definitely the leader of our offense. He was much more efficient, protected the ball better and easily doubled his rushing yards from the year before on the same amount of carries.
“Over the years we did not let him play much defense but we had to bite the bullet halfway through this year and let him play defense,” Murphy said. “He was easily one of our best tacklers and his devoted film study helped him to understand his opponents very well.”
He said he was looking at a few other Division III schools and a few NAIA schools. He toured Gustavus Adolphus College but he never really considered anyone but River Falls. His major is undecided, but he’s thinking about majoring in exercise science or ag management.
Coming from a small town, he said he felt more comfortable going to go to a smaller college.
“I just loved how small it was and it was spread out it was,” he said. “There was lots of green and I love the outdoor feel to it. The surrounding area is just beautiful and the small campus felt like home to me.”
He said that he’s getting a feel for the defensive coaches since they are new.
“Their defense was a tough man-to-man defense, they’ve been struggling in the pass defense but they’ve preaching to us, this new recruiting class, that we’re the best they’ve ever had and they’ve got a great group of returning guys,” Mans said. “Hopefully we can turn things around.”
He’s looking forward to the next stop in his career and he’s looking forward to the challenge of Division III football because nothing will be handed to him.
“I’m stoked,” he said. “Being from a 9-man school on a team with 20-something guys, I’m pretty much guaranteed a spot [at the high school level]. Now I’ve gotta earn my way through and just work for things like that.”