Waldorf inks BEA grad for family and football
When Elzie Anderson, associate head football coach for Waldorf University, in Forest City, Iowa, last visited Blue Earth Area High School, he knew full well that his program would be locking up a talent from the Jahnke family.
It was Jan. 27, in fact, when Anderson spoke glowingly of Logan Jahnke, a BEA senior and, at the time, the latest commit to ink a National Letter of Intent for Waldorf’s National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) team.
What he did not know was that, little more than two months later, he would be back in Blue Earth to sign Jahnke’s brother.
That is exactly what happened on Friday, April 7, though, as Logan, Anderson and others from the Jahnke clan reunited to make Dakota, Logan’s older brother and a 2014 graduate of BEA, the newest member of the Waldorf Warriors.
The elder Jahnke brother sat alongside Logan when the ex-Buccaneers quarterback signed his way onto Anderson’s team in January.
But the roles were reversed for Waldorf’s return visit in early April.
This time, the spotlight was on Dakota.
“It kind of happened out of nowhere,” he says of his commitment to Waldorf. “I was recruiting with other schools, and then I got connected with them and got some interest, and it became a short little process over a couple of weeks.”
Graduating two years before Logan, Jahnke went on to play football for Rochester Community and Technical College after departing BEA. But since his two years there came to a close after 2016, he was on the prowl for an opportunity to continue his playing career, not to mention his path toward a hopeful career as a physical therapist, around the time Logan agreed to commit to the Warriors.
“Logan spoke of his brother around that time, saying he was still looking for a place to go,” Anderson recalls, “and I told him, ‘I need to watch some film.'”
So he did. And the Waldorf staff, much as it did when it watched Logan’s tape as a one-year starting signal-caller for the Bucs, liked what it saw.
Anderson first got a chance to meet Dakota at Logan’s signing, then spoke with him more after reviewing the game film.
The rest, as they say, is history.
“Dakota fits into what we’re doing,” Anderson says. “We wanted to get some local kids, because it brings more morale to the community. But we’re also predicting him to start right away, because he has a lot of assets and he has time under his belt, playing on teams that won.”
Jahnke, who notched six sacks as a starting defensive end for Rochester in his second and final year there, knows he is anticipated to fill a notable role as soon as he arrives.
And yet overshadowing any pressure to perform in that role, for a Waldorf team looking to reverse its recent misfortunes with an influx of new talent, is the comfortability Jahnke says he sees in the small-town environment Forest City offers.
“I didn’t want to go in feeling isolated,” he says. “Rochester was the same kind of environment, and this seemed like the right fit.”
It is, Jahnke adds, one of the reasons he was so quick to commit to Waldorf despite fielding interest from other schools.
Of course, there was also the draw of a potential reunion with his brother.
“I just think it’s exciting they get to play together after three years,” says Tammy Jahnke, the boys’ mother. “And it’s good for Logan to have somebody with experience to look up to.”
Jahnke’s father, Kevin, agreed, and Anderson preached the same thing when talking up Dakota’s addition to the Warriors roster.
“It’s motivation for Logan, too,” he says. “He has that trust. He’s got his bigger brother there.”
It is no guarantee the younger of the two will see the field as a freshman, although Anderson’s comments at Logan’s January signing indicated that Waldorf sees future-starting-quarterback potential in the BEA senior. Still, the Jahnke brothers are already anticipating sharing days on the gridiron.
“I wanted him to either play with me or against me,” Logan says with a smile.
In practice, at least, representing opposite sides of the ball, the brothers could get a little of the latter.
“I guess you could say it’s a goal to make it hard for Logan at practice,” Dakota laughs.
In the eyes of BEA head football coach Randy Kuechenmeister, one thing both Jahnkes will not make hard by teaming up to join Waldorf is convincing the collegiate program of their work ethic or separating a close family.
“Dakota’s really put a lot of time into improving himself, he’s dedicated to the weight room and he’s a big man,” Kuechenmeister says. “But going to school there, it’s perfect from a family perspective.”
If all pans out as hoped, it will also be perfect from a football perspective for Anderson and his staff.
And if that is not the case, he might at least rest easy knowing there is a third, albeit much younger, Jahnke brother to be had down the road.