Mitchell, S.D. – The Tiger football team named seven players to the GPAC All-Conference teams while earning eight spots with Mitchell native, Kiel Nelson being named Second Team as a wide receiver and Honorable Mention as a kick returner. Jamin Arend and Parker Grotjohn highlight the group with their First Team selections after a dominant run attack by the Tiger offense all season. They were followed by John Pica, Adam DeJong, and Ethan Engen being named to the Second Team. Grayson Hanson turned in a strong sophomore year at the linebacker position earning him Honorable Mention honors.
Jamin Arend – First Team Running Back- Emery, S.D.
Jamin started in all 11 games at the running back position for the Tigers and was named to the GPAC All-Conference First Team for a second straight season thanks to a dominant year that saw Arend pace the GPAC in rush attempts, total rush yards, rush yards per game, and finished second in rushing touchdowns. Over the course of the season Arend also became the all-time leading rusher in DWU history with his 3,836 yards. After a dominant year last season, Arend set career highs in rush attempts (284), yards (1,217), yards per game (110.6), touchdowns (12), receptions (34) receiving yards (300) and total touchdowns (13). Jamin also moved into sixth all-time in career receptions with 119. Arend set a new career-high with his 212 yards and five touchdowns against Mount Marty (9/30/23) which earned him GPAC Player-of-the-Week. Arend also ran all over the No. 1 Red Raider (11/4/23) defense for 189 yards. Jamin rushed for 100+ yards in five games and had 100+ yards from scrimmage in all but one game this year which was 93 yards against Concordia.
Parker Grotjohn – First Team Offensive Lineman, Stewartville, Minn.
Grotjohn started in all 11 games on the Tigers offensive line and was named to the GPAC All-Conference First Team. Parker and company created running lanes for the GPAC leading rusher Jamin Arend, all season and played a huge part in this success on the ground that averaged 4.0 yards per attempt, and 142.5 yards per game on the ground, including throwing up 210 yards on the No. 1 Red Raider defense that coming into the game was only giving up 84 yards a game (11/4/23).
Kiel Nelson – Second Team Receiver & Honorable Mention Returner, Mitchell, S.D.
Nelson started in all 11 games as a wide receiver, kick returner, and at times the Tigers punter. After earning Honorable Mentions with a strong season last year, Nelson turned it up this year setting new career-highs in yards (776) and touchdowns (8) on his way to being named to the GPAC All-Conference Second Team. Kiel was also named a Honorable Mention as a kick returner. Nelson finished the season with 50 catches for 776 yards and eight touchdowns which propelled him to ninth all-time in career receptions and receiving yards in DWU history. Nelson had a career day with his eight catches for 147 yards and three touchdowns against No. 1 Northwestern (11/4/23). This wasn’t the only time Nelson had three touchdowns in a game on the season, as he found the endzone three times against (RV) Midland with his 10 catches and 118 yards (9/16/23). Nelson had 100+ yards in four games during the 2023 season.
John Pica – Second Team Offensive Lineman, Dell Rapids, S.D.
Pica started in all 11 games on the Tigers offensive line and was named to the GPAC All-Conference Second Team. Pica and company created running lanes for the GPAC leading rusher Jamin Arend, all season and played a huge part in this success on the ground that averaged 4.0 yards per attempt, and 142.5 yards per game on the ground, including throwing up 210 yards on the No. 1 Red Raider defense that coming into the game was only giving up 84 yards a game (11/4/23).
Ethan Engen – Second Team Defensive Lineman, Viborg, S.D.
Engen started in all 11 games for the Tigers on the defensive line and earned GPAC All-Conference Second Team. Ethan earned Honorable Mention honors last season and followed that up with a stellar senior campaign that saw him set new career-highs in total tackles (74), sacks (5.0), tackles for a loss (7.5), and even got his first career interception. The 74 tackles ranked him third on the team but first on the defensive line while his sacks and tackles for a loss led all Tiger defensive players. Engen had a career-high 10 total tackles and 1.5 sacks in the win over Mount Marty (9/30/23). He set a new career-high with 2.5 tackles for a loss against Concordia (9/23/23) while recording his lone interception at home in the upset win vs. (RV) Midland (9/16/23).
Adam DeJong – Second Team Defensive Back, Watertown, S.D.
DeJong started in all 11 games in the secondary for the Tigers and earned GPAC All-Conference Second Team honors. This is DeJong second time being named to the All-Conference team after being named to the First Team and being an All-American a season ago. DeJong turned in another strong season with his tied career-high 45 total tackles to go with two interceptions which pushed his career total to nine while also forcing two fumbles and recovering one. Adam started the season off with a bang, leaving right where he left off last season with back-to-back games with an interception against Dakota State (8/26/23) and Hastings (9/2/23). DeJong recorded a season-high seven total tackles twice on the year against Concordia (9/23/23) and No. 1 Northwestern (11/4/23).
Grayson Hanson – Honorable Mention Linebacker, Platte, S.D.
Hanson started in all 11 games at linebacker for the Tiger defense and earned GPAC All-Conference Honorable Mention. Grayson finished the season with 52 total tackles, 2.0 TFL, two interceptions, one forced and two recovered fumbles. Hanson had a season-high 11 total tackles at Concordia (9/23/23). He recorded his interceptions at Doane (9/9/23) and at No. 17 Dordt (11/11/23).