Windsor’s Schmidt ready to walk on for CSU football – The Coloradoan

6 months ago Comments Off on Windsor’s Schmidt ready to walk on for CSU football – The Coloradoan

Landon Schmidt’s sports career was coming to an end, and he was fine with that.

A star on Windsor’s Class 4A state championship football team as well as a prized member of the Wizards’ basketball and track and field programs, Schmidt was contemplating his upcoming life as a Colorado State University student in February when football coach Chris Jones talked to him one day at lunch.

Jones told him CSU was interested in having him play football there.

Seriously? Yes, seriously.

Not that interest from a program like CSU’s wasn’t warranted for Schmidt, who led the state with 10 interceptions from his free safety position and rushed for 963 yards and 12 scores as a wingback in a flexbone, triple-option offense.

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It’s just that nobody — at any level — had contacted Schmidt about playing football beyond high school.

“I thought I was doing well, but I wasn’t expecting anything,” Schmidt said. “I didn’t put myself out there by sending out film to colleges, so I guess some of it is on me. I was just going to go to school and I had my mind set that I wasn’t going to play college sports.

“But now I think I need to give it a shot.”

A preferred walk-on to the Rams’ program, Schmidt recently received his offseason workout program, which he’ll dedicate himself to as soon as the track season wraps up.

He said the Rams have told him that he reminds them a little bit of Joe Hansley. A high school running back from Highlands Ranch, Hansley became a slot wide receiver who caught 136 passes for 1,842 yards and 12 touchdowns in four years at CSU despite his modest size of 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds.

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Schmidt is 5-11 and 170, but expects to start getting bigger soon.

“I’m hoping I get to 185 or 190,” he said. “After I saw the weight program and the amount of lifting and eating I’ll be doing, I’m guessing it’ll be pretty quick.”

Schmidt, who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds, understands it’s a long road from preferred walk-on to getting on the field in any role. His high school coach, though, said he has a chance.

“He’s a hard worker,” Jones said. “He loves to train. He likes to push himself. He’s cognizant of what’s going on in the weight room, and he’s a competitor in there as well.

“He’s going to make himself a pretty stout young man and hopefully give them a guy they can utilize — special teams, slot receiver … he’s a great athlete, he’s got great hands, great vision. He’s not going to be able to run away from people like he did for us, and that’s the learning curve he’s going to have to catch up with.”

Schmidt, who averaged 11.1 yards per carry, also caught five passes for a team-best 147 yards (29.4 average) and two more touchdowns, averaged 27.1 yards on nine kickoff returns, 10.9 yards on 13 punt returns and 11.1 yards on interception returns. He was also the Wizards’ rugby-style punter, averaging 36.8 yards on 45 attempts.

Relive the Class 4A state football championship game:

Schmidt excelled on the court as well, averaging 7.6 points as a guard for a 19-7  team that made it to the Elite Eight at the state basketball team and participates in track.

Outside of sports, well, he works just as hard in the classroom and in his community.

A World War II buff who collects antiques and spends time with veterans, Schmidt says he’s “nerdy” like that.

That passion prompted him to raise about $7,000 for Honor Flight trips to Washington, D.C., enough to send seven veterans, while going himself.

“Things like that are more important to me than football is,” he said. “Football is good for the short term, but academics and what you do in the community is what will serve you for your life.”

Schmidt’s selflessness shows up on the field, too. Like the playoff game against Palmer Ridge, in overtime, on third-and-goal.

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Instead of giving his fastest player the ball, Jones asked Schmidt what he thought about going in motion and being a decoy to distract the defense while the Wizards gave the ball to fullback Jake Shields up the middle.

“As soon as I said that, his eyes lit up and he said, ‘That’s going to score,’ ” Jones said.

The Palmer Ridge defense shifted to follow Schmidt. Shields cruised into the end zone untouched from 4 yards out for the game-winner.

“Landon is all about the team winning,” Jones said.

Schmidt said his favorite sport is whatever sport is in season. Coaches say his ability to compete at a high level in three sports at Class 4A is impressive, but also wonder what could happen if he’d concentrate on one.

“It’ll be interesting to see how it turns out and how he likes it,” Jones said of Schmidt concentrating at one sport at CSU.

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Schmidt said he’s seen value in playing three sports.

“I’ve noticed I’ve gotten so much faster since my sophomore year, and I attribute that to track,” he said. “Sometimes it’s hard to focus on one sport, because you can maybe get burned out. I think all sports will help you in other sports. Track has made me the athlete I am today.”

After long runs in football and basketball, Schmidt is just rounding into track shape now.

“He works really hard at his events, works hard in basketball, works hard in football – and he works hard in the classroom,” said Bryan Horn, Windsor’s track coach and math teacher. “That’s who he is. He’s not the guy who acts up in class, he’s the guy who sits there and does what he’s supposed to do, turns in everything, gets great grades.”

Working hard will be on the agenda for Schmidt once he gets to CSU.

“I really don’t have anything to prove,” he said. “I’m just going to show them everything I can do.”

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