Sports Extra: Voelker Finishing Strong

Jordan Voelker

Sept. 13, 2011

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By Mark Janssen

Jordan Voelker is the first to admit, “I’m a good athlete, but I’m not as physically gifted as Meshak (Williams) and Adam (Davis). I survive on extra effort and leaving it all on the field.”

That, and as coach Bill Snyder says of his starting defensive end, “He is as consistent a player as we have on our team. You know exactly what you are going to get, and you get it exactly the same way every time. He is very responsible and capable. Whatever he is responsible for, you know what you are going to get.”

That is somewhat remarkable taking into consideration that Voelker played tight end at Butler County Community College and only switched to defense once he hit the Big 12 scene as a Kansas State walk-on.

To the 6-foot-3, 250-pound Voelker, however, the experience on the offensive side of the ball has been a benefit.

“Knowing a little about offense helps understand some of the schemes they’re running,” said Voelker, who only had scholarship offers from Kansas Division II schools out of Butler County. “I think I can read offenses because of my experience on that side of the ball.”

Heading into the opener, Voelker called it “…an exciting time. It’s the time of the year you prepare for 12 Saturdays that makeup a season.” Pausing, he added, “I understand that this is my last hurrah.”

Voelker, who was awarded a scholarship with the Wildcats the week before the opener, picked up his first start in the 10-7 win over Eastern Kentucky as he scored five tackles, which included a pair of sacks for negative-eight yards.

“I was just trying to have relentless effort, do my best, and not give up on any play,” said Voelker. “I was thinking that I could make any play. I was bringing my best effort to the table and giving all that I have to offer.”

And of the team effort that allowed the Colonels just 129 yards of total offense, he added,  “I felt like we were flying around playing with a love for the game. I felt that we were out there sweating and bleeding for each other.”

For Voelker, playing for the Wildcats is not just a personal dream of making tackles, but it’s carrying on a family tradition, as well.

“It really is living out a dream,” said the native of Newton, Kan. “I grew up trying to be like Ell Roberson when I was playing little league football because I was a quarterback who liked to run around. I really looked up to those quarterbacks who could run and pass.”

And for the family, Jordan is a second generation Wildcat as his father, Randall, played for Jim Dickey’s teams from 1981 through 1983, which included the 1982 Independence Bowl team.

“Thirty years ago doesn’t seem possible,” said the elder Voelker. “Tailgating was fun Saturday, but then I got that cold sweat feeling like I did when I was playing when it was time for Jordan to run down the ramp and take the field as a starter for the first time. It was a fun feeling, but a weird feeling.”

Randall was a success story of his own at K-State as he came out of Palmer, Kansas, population 150, in the north central part of the state, and playing his prep football at Class 2A Linn High School.

He played either guard or tackle on an offensive line that also included Andy Harding, Damian Johnson, Calvin Switzer and Tom Menas.

While last Saturday was his son’s moment to remember as a Wildcat, Randall had his own.

“Jim Northcutt got hurt the week of the Nebraska game, but I was only told about 30 minutes before the game that I was going to start,” said Voelker. “I remember saying, ‘Woah,’ but I made it through it.”

Athletes are the rule in the Randall and Melinda Voelker family, as their daughter, Janae played basketball at Oral Roberts University from 2006-2010, and now it’s Jordan taking center stage.

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