Football: Grand Meadow’s Leichtnam is headed to Iowa State

Published 7:26 pm Wednesday, August 7, 2013

GRAND MEADOW — Grand Meadow grad Caleb Leichtnam has two years of college football eligibility left and he decided he’s going to go big.

Despite receiving several Division II scholarship offers and a couple of Division IAA offers, Leichtnam is headed to Division I Iowa State University, where he will red-shirt as a preferred walk-on this fall.

Grand Meadow grad Caleb Leichtnam is a preferred walk on with the Iowa State University football team. -- Rocky Hulne/

Grand Meadow grad Caleb Leichtnam is a preferred walk on with the Iowa State University football team. — Rocky Hulne/

“I just figured at this point, why not give it a shot and see what happens. It’s a whole different level and I’m excited for the challenge,” Leichtnam said. “I feel like I’m just as fast as those guys, it’ll just be getting the size. I’ll have a year to get ready.”

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Leichtnam starred for the last two seasons at Rochester Community and Technical College as he racked up 27 interceptions and scored five defensive TDs. Leichtnam holds the NJCAA record for career interceptions and he was named National Defensive player of the year as a freshman.

When he was at Grand Meadow, Leichtnam racked up 6,877 all purpose yards and 75 touchdowns in his career.

Still, he was lightly recruited out of high school and he didn’t draw much DI attention after RCTC. That’s something Leichtnam is going to remember as he uses it for fuel.

“People don’t think that good football players can come from small schools,” he said. “I faced the same thing at RCTC. I was national player of the year and I still couldn’t get looks because I was playing in Minnesota. It definitely does motivate me and I’m pretty sick of hearing that stereotype.”

Leichtnam needs to look no further than one of his former RCTC teammates if he wants proof that he can succeed at the next level. Isaac Fruechte of Caledonia started off with the Yellowjackets and he was starting for the Minnesota Gophers at wide receiver last fall.

Leichtnam was told if he does enough on the field in practice during his red-shirt season, he could be in the starting lineup with a scholarship at Iowa State in the fall of 2014.

“I’m falling into a pretty good situation,” Leichtnam said. “Both of their safeties are seniors this year, so I’ll have a shot at a spot in my first year.”

This fall Leichtnam, who currently weights 190 pounds, will focus on working out and getting his weight up to 205 or 210.

“Putting on weight and keeping the speed is the tough part,” Leichtnam said. “I’m not looking forward to (not playing), but there’s an advantage to do it. It’ll be a little different, but I’ll get through it.”

The Cyclones, who play in the Big 12, went 6-7 overall last season.

ISU is located in Ames, Iowa.

Rocky Hulne is the sports editor at the Austin Daily Herald. Follow him on twitter @RockyHulneADH.