Maybe Franklin College is a gateway to the pros, after all.
On Monday, senior quarterback Grant Welp became the fourth Franklin football player in the past two weeks to sign a professional overseas football contract.
One of NCAA Division III’s top passers last season, Welp has joined the Orebro Black Knights in Sweden for the 2015 fall season.
Orebro is an affiliate of the International Federation of American Football.
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Welp, the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference’s 2014 Most Valuable Player, is heading down a similar overseas path as 2014 Franklin graduates Jonny West, Kyle Linville and Colin Gallagher. All three signed late last month with the Franken Knights of the German Football League.
In total, Franklin College has seen five of its former standouts play professionally in Europe since 2009, when quarterback Chad Rupp signed with the Schwabisch Hall Unicorns in Germany.
For his part, it’s easy to understand why Welp — part of the class of 2015 — is getting a shot, too.
Coming off one of the best seasons by a quarterback in Franklin history, Welp threw for 3,127 yards and 31 touchdowns and completed 67.9 percent of his passes.
But his arm was only one of his weapons.
He also scorched defenses with his legs.
One of the most mobile quarterbacks to ever start for the Grizzlies, Welp also rushed for 366 yards and a team-high eight touchdowns.
Franklin finished 8-3 and advanced to the NCAA Division III playoffs for the fifth-straight straight year.
“I am blessed to have this opportunity to continue my football career overseas,” Welp said. “There are many people and coaches that have supported me and helped me achieve the professional level.
“I have been blessed that everyone has had the confidence in my ability to perform at a high level.”
FC women earn HCAC honors
Senior Nichole Thompson and sophomore Lauren DeSutter earned second-team All-HCAC recognition for women’s basketball.
Thompson, a Greenwood graduate, averaged 9.2 points and 6.5 rebounds during the season. DeSutter (Tri-West) averaged a team-high 10.1 points per game.
In addition, junior Katie Brewer, a Roncalli graduate, was an honorable mention selection. Sophomore Amber May (Franklin Central) was named to the All-Sportsmanship Team.
Former Woodman recognized
Franklin College senior Ryan Hammer has been named the HCAC Men’s Tennis Player of the Week.
A former Greenwood standout, Hammer helped the Grizzlies pick up their first win of the season March 6 with a straight-set victory at No. 1 singles and teaming for a triumph at No. 2 doubles against Greenville College.
Trojan players among Top 60
Center Grove’s Bri Gliesmann, Jessica Norris and Regan Wentland have been tabbed among Hoosier Basketball Magazine’s Top 60 senior girls for the 2014-15 season.
By virtue of their selection, they will participate in the March 15 Top 60 Senior Workout at Marian University in Indianapolis.
Gliesmann, Norris and Wentland helped lead the Trojans last month to a Class 4A sectional championship.