WAVERLY — Kolin Schulte arrived at Wartburg with every intention to be a college quarterback.
He admitted he realized the lack of arm strength to perform at that level. The former Anamosa prep possessed the athleticism and desire to do whatever it took to take the field for the Knights.
So, Schulte took advantage of the opportunity presented to him by the staff.
“I kind of wanted to switch and then my coach asked me, if I’d be willing to try something else to have a better chance of getting on the field,” Schulte said. “I definitely want to do that.”
The junior wideout has finally earned his spot in the starting lineup for Wartburg (3-1, 2-0 A-R-C). He has become the team’s top receiver, coming off his second 100-yard game last week and entering Saturday’s home contest against Simpson (2-1, 1-0) with 331 yards and three touchdowns.
“He has been working hard for the last few years to develop and get faster,” Wartburg Coach Rick Willis said. “To his credit, he’s done all that. That’s showing up on the field now.
“Now, it’s his opportunity and he’s stepped up and has been making some big plays for us.”
Schulte had 102 receiving yards in a loss to Monmouth (Ill.). He posted a career game last Saturday in a 42-14 victory at Nebraska Wesleyan. He tallied 144 yards on six receptions with scores of 74 and 7 yards.
“It definitely feels good to get those stats, those accolades,” Schulte said. “I’m just trying to do what it takes to win for the team.
“Just the fact we got that win on Saturday is what feels good to me. I’m just hoping we can keep winning this season and win a conference championship.”
Not only did Schulte have to make the jump from the prep to college level, but he had to learn an entirely new role. The 6-foot-1, 176-pounder experienced some growing pains while learning new techniques. Schulte answered any questions that surrounded the change.
“Just him being a good athlete and smart,” Willis said. “The guy really has exceptional hands. I think that is the thing maybe we didn’t know for sure when we first moved him out there, but that’s one of his best attributes.”
Schulte’s knowledge as a pass thrower assisted his emergence as a pass catcher.
“I would say that helps me, because a lot of times I may feel I have a step on the corner but I know from his perspective it definitely doesn’t look like that,” Schulte said. “As a receiver, I know I will have to work harder on certain routes during coverages to get an opening so he can see it and give me the ball.”
Patience was a virtue his first two seasons. Schulte didn’t play a varsity snap as a freshman. He appeared in just four games the next year, catching three ball for 49 yards. Schulte focused on improved strength, size, quickness, hands and route running to replace the graduated players ahead of him.
“Being here for two years and not playing definitely motivated me to put in a lot more work in the offseason to get better, so I could be one of those guys,” Schulte said. “It’s definitely humbling. It makes me realize that nothing is just going to be given to me. I’m going to have to work for it constantly.”
Hard work has been crucial for the former option-run QB to a viable receiver. Willis said Schulte is versatile, showing ability as a possession receiver and deep threat.
“He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do and more,” Willis said. “He committed to being around, working hard on his own through the summers and catching balls. He’s just a guy who has been determined to continue to develop.
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“He’s a good story of a guy who spent a couple years working hard to get better and that’s paying off for him.”
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