Noah Wanzek | University of North Dakota | Wide Receiver
Q: Tell us about your college career and what the recruiting process was like. Why did you choose UND?
A: My college career started in 2016, I was a four year starter and an eventual captain my senior year. I was fortunate enough to get my redshirt pulled and to help contribute right away. As time went on, my skills and abilities developed along with my role on the team. As for the recruiting process, my situation was very unique. Being from the small town of Jamestown, ND I was very under-recruited. I had a bunch of offers to play football at local NAIA and D-II schools along with some interest at the same schools for basketball. UND had interest in me, but it wasn’t until some of the coaches came and watched me play basketball that I got an offer. I chose UND because of the culture that surrounds it. I knew that as soon as I got on campus that I would have a family that has the same goals and aspirations as me. The UND football program had a winning culture and I wanted to be a part of it. Along with this, UND is a division 1 football program and it was my best opportunity to play at the highest level.
Q: What would you consider to be your biggest accomplishment in your sports career so far?
A: Throughout my sports career, I have had a steady stream of development that has turned me into the athlete I am today. My biggest accomplishment in my sports career so far is breaking Kenny Golladay’s single season division 1 receptions record at UND. I am not one to pay too much attention to stats and records, but I believe this one speaks for the hard work that I put into the craft. The number of receptions per year I had was on a steady rise each year of my college career. If you go back and look at my film, I believe I was efficient in catching the deep ball as well as the short routes. Also, it is special to be in the same category as one of the best receivers in the NFL.
Q: What do you consider to be one of the more important things you learned from the coaching staff while playing atUND?
A: The most important thing I learned from the coaching staff at UND is to be the same person everyday. This means to come to work day in and day out, and to trust the process. Things aren’t going to be handed to you, it is going to take a ton of work over a long period of time. This was something that was engrained into the heads of each player. If you did not live by this you would not reach your full potential. I take pride in being the hardest worker and never showing any signs of weakness. Being the same person everyday is something that will help me through the process of reaching my goal of playing professional football.
Q: What was your major and what are your plans if football doesn’t work out?
A: I received my bachelor’s degree in business management in the winter of 2019. My plan if football doesn’t work out is to seek a job in this field. Eventually, I want to build my resume and work up to a manger position for a college or professional sports team. Sports have been a huge part of my life since I was born, so I think my experience can help me with the management side of things.
Q: What would your current/past teammates say about you and your qualities?
A: My past teammates would say that I am a leader, a tough person, and an extremely competitive athlete. In my senior year, I was voted to be a captain by my fellow teammates. I took this honor very seriously and took pride in leading our football team. I developed my leadership skills and eventually learned what it takes to be a great person to follow. The adversities that I faced with grace throughout my career is why my past teammates would consider me tough. Over my four year career, I only missed one game and a in a few of those games I was fighting through pain from injuries. I think my teammates would define me as physically tough and also mentally tough. As for the competitive aspect, I hate to lose. Anybody that has been on a team with me knows how serious I take winning. I do anything in my power to prepare myself and team to be successful. Being competitive is something that I have had since I was a kid and something that defines me.
Q: What has been one of the most memorable plays of your career at any level?
A: The most memorable play of my career came in the third game of my junior year at the University of North Dakota. We went down to Texas and played Sam Houston State, who was currently in the nations longest home winning streak of 21 games. It was a hard fought battle all the way to the end. The play came on 4th and goal with about two minutes left in the game. We didn’t have any timeouts left so it was we either score a touchdown or lose. We ran a switch concept and our quarterback threw a jump ball to me in the corner of the end zone. I came down with the ball, ultimately catching the game winning touchdown.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge and how do you manage it?
A: The biggest challenge that I have faced in my career is stepping out of my comfort zone and becoming the captain. I have always been more of a reserved and introverted individual. When I was voted captain by my teammates, I knew that I would have to do things I usually don’t do in order to be the best leader that I can be. They respected me so much to vote for me as captain so it was only right that I do the best I could possibly do. I have always led by example, but the challenged I faced was to be more vocal with my teammates. The way I managed this was by taking more time to communicate with teammates and using coaches as guides. I felt that if I got to know my teammates on a personal level that they would respect and listen to what I had to say. This also helped with me being more comfortable doing this. I also met often with my coaches to learn and implement knew ideas.
Q: If you could compare yourself to a pro athlete, who would that be and why?
A: If I had to compare myself to a pro athlete it would be Adam Thielen. The reason I compare myself to this individual is because of our background and the characteristics of our game. Just like Adam, I grew up in a less populated area and played at a smaller school. I played at a small division 1 football program and Adam played division 2. Growing up only 144 miles from each other, our families and the way we were raised are very similar which causes us to have similar personal characteristics. As for our game, I think I resemble him in the aspect of being very dependable. I think my range and ability to catch the ball is very similar to Adam. I think the attention to detail and the crisp route running is very similar.
Q: What is your biggest strength that you bring to a professional team and why should pro scouts consider you?
A: The biggest strength I bring to a professional team is dependability and hard work. I believe that throughout my career I have proven that I can be a person someone can trust. One of my greatest strengths on the field is my ability to play the ball. I believe my ball skills and catch radius is very good. I pay very close attention to how I run my routes and I take pride in being someone who pays attention to detail. Along with this, I have always been very coachable. As for off the field, I am capable of learning an offense and running every route correctly. I am someone that a professional team can count on to do the right thing and put in the work necessary to win a championship.
Q: Are you involved in mentoring, a charity or do you “give back”/”pay it forward” in your community?
A: I have always taken pride in giving back to the community. Throughout my time at UND I did a lot of community service, ranging from shoveling off snow to working children’s camps. One program that I really loved is called “Holiday Magic for Marcus.” This happens every year when we raise money around Christmas time and use the funds we raise to buy kids who are ill presents. In a small community like Grand Forks, ND we as football players have a large platform and a very important mentoring role to the kids in the community. I always did whatever I could do to interact with the kids and be a good role model.
Q: How are you preparing for the 2020 National Scouting Combine and what are your goals?
A: I am preparing for the 2020 National Scouting Combine by training in Fargo, North Dakota at the Sanford Power Center. Included in this is training for the specific drills and developing my body for peak performance. I will also be working with my former coaches in order to prepare my mind for the upcoming interviews. In accordance with this, my goals are to meet my specific measurables in the drills and impress scouts in the meeting rooms. I want to do everything in my power to gain attention and hype that will ultimately give me a chance to prove myself.
Q: What would be your ultimate achievement?
A: My ultimate achievement would be to make an NFL team and help contribute to a super bowl championship. For me, my dream has always been to play at the highest level. The goal right now is to work hard and put myself in a position to be successful and earn a spot on a team. Once that is secured, I want to help a team reach the ultimate achievement of a championship.
Q: What do you enjoy doing when not playing football?
A: When I am not playing football I enjoy getting out and being active. One of my favorite things to do is play pick up basketball. I still have love for the game of basketball and try to play whenever I can. Along with this, I enjoy doing a wide variety of outdoor activities. I love doing things ranging from skiing, snowmobiling, and water activities. I also enjoy going out to my family farm and hunting waterfowl, coyotes, and deer.
Q: Who is or has been the most influential person in your life?
A: The most influential person in my life is my father, Tracy Wanzek. My family went through a hard time with my mother passing away from cancer. Throughout this time we became really close and I would not be where I am today. He has supported me through everything and even attended every single one of my college games over the four years except for one.
Q: What is something unique about you that people would find interesting?
A: Something unique about me is that I placed 2nd in the nation in punt, pass, and kick at the age of 15. The contest came to my city, so I thought I would give it a try. Eventually I won at the local and regional contests and earned a spot at the national event in Denver, Colorado where I placed 2nd.