Reporting Shane Kitzman
Let’s play two truths and a lie with Augsburg star running back Tyler Maxwell.
- The Prior Lake High School alum has previously dressed as a grape alongside the road to promote the Prior Lake Farmers Market because, well, he needed some spending money.
- The crafty 5-foot-10-inch running back, who was told he’d be a welcomed walk-on at the U of M, led the stacked MIAC conference in rushing yards per game last year (121.3 yards per contest) as a freshman.
- The 19-year-old college sophomore’s involved with his community; he’s an assistant coach with the summer strength program at Prior Lake for middle school and high school athletes.
Figure out which one is false?
No need. They’re all true.
But the most interesting thing about the All-MIAC selection, who runs a 4.68 second 40-yard dash, is his ambition to successfully return from his ACL injury and pull down Division III All-American honors in fall 2012.
Tearing the very ligament that helped him elude tacklers before the last two games of the 2011 season, Maxwell can’t say which week of the 2012 campaign he expects to get back on the field, but he’s hustling to put the pads back on.
“I’m over with the rehab part now and I’m into strength training,” said the 190-pound Maxwell whose ground game even outpaced St. Thomas’ running back Colin Tobin’s 119 yards per game average. “I just need to get the confidence back. I’ll do everything during training camp that doesn’t involve contact.”
With the Auggies already in camp mode and the season opener just a couple weeks away – Sept. 1 vs. Concordia University-Wisconsin – Maxwell took some time to talk his gridiron goals and what it’s like to work part-time at Leeann Chin.
You ended up scoring 13 touchdowns in 2011, and yet you weren’t even sure you’d start for Augsburg?
I didn’t even think I’d play my freshman year. I had no idea what I was going up against. I just focused on trying to outwork everybody.
You scored four touchdowns in your first game against Hamline, how was that for a “hello”?
I remember going onto the field and they were like, “Maxwell you’re in.” My heart was racing. After the game, everyone was freaking out because they hadn’t seen anyone score four touchdowns in a game.
Augsburg (6-4, 4-4 MIAC in 2011) hasn’t been above .500 in the MIAC in a decade and hasn’t won the league since 1997 – think there’s hope to change that in 2012?
Last year we won six games and that was the best in a while. We have 17 returning starters. We want to win eight or nine games and compete for a MIAC championship.
Why wear the No. 35?
I was a freshman, so I didn’t get to pick my number. I hated my number. My practice jersey number was 59. I couldn’t get over that. I’m No. 8 this year. I got to pick it.
What running back do you try to model yourself after?
I couldn’t even tell you. I watch myself on film and I am an unorthodox running back. My running form is different.
What was it like beating St. John’s in last-second fashion last year?
It was crazy (Maxwell had 103 yards on the ground on 22 carries). We haven’t beaten them in 16 years, or something like that. It meant a lot to the seniors. It was definitely the most intense game I’ve ever played in.
What’s the biggest perk of working part-time during the summers at Leeann Chin?
I serve up the food, and I can try every entree for free once. And then after that it’s 50 percent off.
How would your mother describe you?
How would your teammates describe you?
Charismatic. Appreciative. Determined. A hard worker.
After college, what’s the plan?
I’m undecided with my major, but I have a handful of stuff in mind. I think I could be on the radio. I could talk and I’m a people person. I could see myself doing something in the music industry.