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Ripon Christian lineman commits to Dordt
Zach Brouwer signing
Ripon Christian honored Zach Brouwer’s commitment to the Dordt University football team with a signing ceremony on Wednesday. - photo by Contributed

Zach Brouwer had his heart set on Dordt University since he visited the campus in Sioux Center, Iowa last year.

On Wednesday, Ripon Christian’s standout lineman announced his commitment to the Defenders. The Southern Athletic League’s Defensive Lineman of the Year said he did not consider any other four-year university and was rewarded with a scholarship offer.

“It all worked out how I wanted,” Brouwer said.

Dordt is a member of the Great Plains Athletic Conference in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. The program has been a consistent contender since head coach Joel Penner took over in 2016. The Defenders have won at least seven wins for four straight seasons after going 7-3 this past fall. They earned top-25 national rankings in 2018 and 2019 and qualified for the NAIA playoffs for the first time in school history in 2020, finishing 8-3.

“They’ve been pretty successful over the years, which is pretty intriguing, but what I really enjoyed was how they aren’t focused as much on football as they are into building you into a better Christian man,” Brouwer said. “That was a high priority on my list.”

Dordt felt understandably familiar on his visit. That’s because the school has long had a pipeline of student-athletes coming from Ripon Christian. Included are cousins Joey and James Vander Schaaf as well as current RC junior varsity assistant Jake Beukelman, who just so happened to be Brouwer’s tour guide. Beukelman was a senior at Dordt last year.

“I love the campus out there,” Brouwer said. “I got to meet with Jake and she showed me around. I got to meet some of the coaches during the spring and was invited to go out to their prospect camp.”

Brouwer was recruited to play in the interior of Dordt’s defensive line. The 6-foot-2, 260-pounder tallied 64 tackles (12 for losses) and two sacks in his final season at Ripon Christian. The Knights finished 7-3 overall and took second in the SAL.  He plans on studying agribusiness.