BP’s Herdina looks to bounce back

Published 10:57 pm Thursday, June 30, 2011

Blooming Prairie grad Elliot Herdina carries the ball in a game against Northwestern last season for Gustavus. Herdina is coming back from a serious injury to play football again this fall.

Things move pretty fast in college football and if you blink you might miss something.

Blooming Prairie grad Elliott Herdina now knows this better than ever as he saw his football career flash before his eyes in an instant will playing for Gustavus Adolphus this past fall.

It was homecoming for the Gusties and just their third contest of the season when Herdina went to throw a block. Before he knew it, the defender he was trying to block had hurdled him and kneed him in the ribs.

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Herdina ruptured a kidney, spent a week and a half in the hospital and missed the rest of the season.

“It was one of the hardest things I’ve had to endure as an athlete,” said Herdina, who graduated from Blooming Prairie in 2008. “I pride myself on being able to play every play, but a season ending injury and almost career ending injury was pretty devastating for awhile.”

The only good news from the injury is that Herdina, who has 88 catches, 910 yards and 12 touchdowns at Gustavus, will have last season back as he obtained a medical redshirt and still has two years of eligibility left.

“I’m pretty fortunate to play again,” he said.

Since getting back into training, the 5-10, 176-pound slot receiver hasn’t wasted much time as he’s looking to get faster and help the Gusties improve on their record, which is 14-16 over the last three years.

“We’re trying to get everybody clicking,” Herdina said. “We’ve had two solid but average years. Our offense is bringing a lot back and hopefully we can get to the top of the rankings in the MIAC.”

While he’s focused on his college football career, Herdina can’t help but reflect on his time at BP where he smashed every school record and put himself in the Minnesota State High School League record books. Herdina ranks fourth in career catches (188), third in career touchdown catches (40), and second in career receiving yards (3,362) in state history.

He was pleased to see the Awesome Blossoms football team go to state two years ago and he’ll be following them again this year.

“It’s a blast. I follow them every Friday,” he said. “I can’t make it to every game, but I listen to them on the radio and get to as many games as I can. I’m so happy they’re succeeding. They got to state and hopefully they can do it again.”

Herdina also misses playing on Friday nights.

“(College football) is a lot different and I definitely miss Friday night lights,” he said. “High school football is one of the best experiences out there. College football is a lot faster and size is a much bigger factor.”

While he still has two more years of college, Herdina is hoping to keep playing when his time at Gustavus is done. He’d love to find his way to NFL Europe and see what happens from there.

“It’s a dream and hopefully I succeed at that,” he said. “I’ve still got two years of college football left and I’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Gustavus will open its season Sept. 10 at Wartburg College.