Football: Morrison grad Vos earns collegiate award
Running back heads into senior season after strong junior campaign
Josh Vos hasn't had much contact with his football coaches at Luther College in Iowa during the summer months, so he had to learn of the good football-related news elsewhere.
Vos found out that he was named to the USA College Football Division III Pre-Season All-America Team as a third team selection, with the help of his social media accounts. He saw the news on his Twitter feed earlier in the week and clicked over to to Facebook, where he saw the news plastered on the team's page.
"It's really exciting," said Vos, a 2010 graduate of Morrison. "It's a great achievement for myself, knowing that the hard work paid off even though I know I couldn't do it all by myself."
The award is voted on by D-III head coaches, sports information directors and numerous writers covering the league.
Vos, the Norse's running back, averaged 5.1 yards per carry last season, and totaled 888 yards on the ground with 12 rushing touchdowns in 10 games. He picked up 142 of those yards in a 20-13 win over St. Olaf College during Luther's home opener last season. He also caught three passes out of the backfield last season for a total of 24 yards and a touchdown.
Those numbers came during his best season as a collegiate athlete. As a freshman in 2011, Vos totaled five yards of offense on three carries in four games. In 2012, his sophomore season, he gained four yards in three games on one carry.
Vos attributes his breakthrough season to new coaching staff led by Aaron Hafner, who took over as the head football coach for Luther last season. Hafner worked well utilizing Vos to get his maximum potential.
"We were just really cohesive," Vos said. "Everyone seemed to buy into the system really well, and I think it has set us up for success in the future both on and off the field."
Though Vos has received recognition for his stellar numbers, he knows that a preseason award is just that, and wants his play this season to justify the award. All signs point upward. Once Vos gets comfortable, he can be a threat every time he touches the ball.
Mustang fans know that well. At Morrison, Vos helped lead a dominant Mustangs team to a 14-0 record and a Class 2A state title during his senior year in 2009. Vos racked up 2,115 yards during that season.
He will be a senior this fall at Luther, and will enter the year with a full season of being a starter to help pace him.
At Luther, he said the biggest change from facing opponents in the high school state playoffs to college athletes was the speed of the game. It took Vos several games during his first two seasons to get a feel for when to hit the holes that his linemen would create, as opposing defenses were bigger and faster and would close gaps better than high schoolers.
His time in the weight room helped him add to his powerful frame, which helped add to the already impressive attributes he can display as a runner.
"I think my running style is basically the same as in high school, but I've been able to expand on it," Vos said. "I'm faster and much stronger than in high school, and I am a bit more agile than before. Our strength coach really worked with me."
Former Luther quarterback Paul McKay, who is moving to safety for his senior season, has been a teammate of Vos' for the past three seasons and had an on-field view of Vos' running abilities.
"He is a really hard worker," McKay said of Vos. "The coaches have a lot of trust in him, and we placed a lot on his shoulders last year. He's not one to give up the ball a lot, and we know he is the guy that is going to get the extra yard."
With McKay's switch to safety, he has the unenviable task of trying to bring the big back down.
"I have to tackle him in practice now when I was used to teaming up with him," said McKay, who grew up in Nevada. "It won't be an easy challenge, but I know it will make the defense that much better facing a challenge in practice each day."
High school: Morrison, class of 2010
College: Luther College, Iowa, class of 2014
Parents: Dale and Polly Vos