Hometown: Toledo, Ohio
Last week, Will Longthorne was one of eight NCACA student-athletes named to the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-District 7 for NCAA Division III. The junior economics major was one of only three linebackers to make the team. Longthorne currently leads the Tigers defense with 84 tackles (54 solos), earning him a number 14 ranking in Division III football. Earlier this week, The Depauw had the opportunity to sit down with Longthorne and discuss the revival of DePauw football along with Longthorne keys to balancing life outside the sport.
The DePauw (TDP): How have you been able to balance grades with football?
Will Longthorne (WL): I think to start, when I was coming as a freshman, I was just surrounded by a good group of guys. The staff does a pretty good job of making sure you make good habits at the beginning. We have study tables freshman year, and if you don’t maintain a decent GPA you have to go to study tables for the rest of your career. I developed habits early and I’ve got people around me who work really hard. It’s just been kind of easy to go with people and get to the library when you have to study and go to practice when you have to go to practice.
TDP: During Monon week, how hard has it been to concentrate on life outside football?
WL: It’s definitely harder than other weeks. It’s just different playing in front of a lot of people, and it’s different having a lot of people know what’s going on. It’s not just people around DePauw, it’s people that have graduated. It’s jut a lot of people care about the game. It’s hard not to get distracted, but our coaches preach getting your academics done and then focusing on the game…
TDP: As a junior, you’ve been here for the entirety of Lynch’s coaching career. How have you seen fans (your friends/faculty) chance their mindset about DePauw football?
WL: This year more than the previous two years we’ve definitely progressed in terms of attention, especially myself. Maybe that’s just because I’ve gotten older and have been playing for a while. It’s awesome having people appreciate what the team’s doing. In terms of actual players on the team, a lot more people are hanging around. I think we’ve got 120 guys on the roster now, and my freshman year we weren’t nearly that number. As we continue to get better and better, that [number] hopefully will just increase.
TDP: Building off of that, in what ways have you seen this program change under Lynch from within in terms of talent and mentality?
WL: I’ve heard stories of how [the program] was before, but I haven’t really known. From the beginning, Coach Lynch has just brought so much experience and professionalism to the team. And he really kind of put a system in. That’s just been how it is since I’ve been here. I think people buy into him and the way he does things and what he expects of us.
TDP: With only a couple days until the game, what’s the mindset the team has prepared for Saturday?
WL: At this point, I think guys are pretty zoned in. We still have some things to clean up preparation wise. Today, Thursday, is a big day for us mentally, not a big physical day. The biggest thing is just confidence and believing in the plan. Going out there, we just have to execute on Saturday. We believe we can do it, and hopefully everyone else does too.