Making it in Monmouth
Twice in his football career, MCHS graduate A.J. Ulrich has flipped from one side of the offensive line to the other.
As a member of the Redskins, Ulrich started his junior year at right tackle before moving to left tackle his senior year. Since then, Ulrich has moved on to start for Division III Monmouth College where he pulled off the same feat.
"I played right tackle my freshman year and moved to left tackle my sophomore and junior seasons," Ulrich explained.
Ulrich played for the Morris varsity football team in 2008 and 2009 on the offensive line.
He was listed in 2008 at 6-3, 290-pounds and in 2009 he was at 6-4, 312-pounds. He is currently listed by Monmouth at 6-4, 320.
Ulrich said that he has been maintaining his football fitness by installing irrigation lines and building grain bins, in addition to other traditional training methods.
"I lived out here and trained at the college this past offseason. I worked out with the running backs and fullbacks," Ulrich said. "We all live together and sowe all worked out together. I also worked on a farm in the offseason, in addition to lifting weights."
All that extra work has apparently paid off for Ulrich because he's been named to the All-Midwest Conference team by the league coaches. He said that it's a first for him to be honored in such a way.
"I've never gotten it at the collegiate level, though I did make All-Conference in high school," he said.
Ulrich has been a starter for the Scots since the third game of his freshman year and he's been a mainstay ever since.
He said that helping his team make the playoffs last year was probably the high point of his time at Monmouth to this point, even above the individual accolade.
"It's always our goal as a team, something we shoot for," Ulrich said of making the playoffs. "We were disappointed not to have gotten there this year. Making the playoffs means that we've won the conference."
Monmouth missed out on that this year despite thoroughly beating the team that did win the conference.
"We had a good game against St. Norbert and they were the conference champs. We beat them 31-9 and I know it was my best game," Ulrich said. "We had a lot of rushing yards in that game and the offensive line played really well that day. It was the first time the offensive line melded all year because we had a lot of new guys from the previous year."
A public relations major, Ulrich helped the Scott offense average 400 yards a game, including 230-yards per game rushing. As pass protectors, the Monmouth line helped allow team quarterbacks to complete 60 percent of its passes and yielded just 1.2 sacks per game.