Wieneke, record-setting receiver uses faith on and off field


HANNAH NIEMAN Sports Reporter

It’s no secret that Jake Wieneke is talented. The two-time All-American wide receiver has quickly made a name for himself.

From the moment he first stepped onto the field as a redshirt freshman, he has continued to prove why he is now one of the best receivers in college football through multiple record-setting performances during his last three seasons as a Jackrabbit.

Wieneke was named the Missouri Valley Football Conference Freshman of the Year in 2014 after leading the Jacks with 73 receptions for 1,404 yards and a school record of 16 touchdowns in season. His success continued into his sophomore season as Wieneke finished with 1,472 receiving yards, setting a MVFC single-season receiving record.

Now a junior, the Maple Grove, Minnesota, native continues to shine on the field, as his 35 career touchdowns currently rank number one in the SDSU record book. Wieneke has also moved into second place in career receiving yards at SDSU with 3,205 yards after recently posting his 16th 100-yard receiving game and 10th career multi-touchdown game of his career.

“They call him ‘The Wizard’ for a reason,” said teammate and sophomore quarterback Taryn Christion. “He’s really good at what he does.”

What’s more impressive than Wieneke’s athletic performance is his attitude off the field.

“His hard work and his focus is maybe better than his athletic ability,” Head Coach John Stiegelmeier said.

Wide receivers’ coach Robert Arnheim said what he likes most about Wieneke is his positive leadership and constant will to get better despite the success he’s had in the past.

“What’s exciting for Jake is that he hasn’t hit his ceiling yet. He wants to be better, he’s not a complacent person,” Arnheim said. “For as much success as he’s had, it could be easy to be complacent, but he’s constantly asking how can he improve, where can he get better. And it’s exciting to think that he can get better.”

As a former high school standout in both football and basketball, Wieneke’s athleticism was hard for coaches like Stiegelmeier to ignore. But as Wieneke’s popularity in the Brookings community grows, it doesn’t take long for people to realize that he’s more than just a guy who can catch a football.

“He’s got an unbelievable skill set — he can run, catch, he can even throw it a little bit, too. He’s just a natural athlete,” Arnheim said. “But I think what makes him special is his faith really drives him, and you can tell by how he interacts with his teammates and his unselfishness.”

For Wieneke, SDSU has become more than just a place to play football. As his only Division I football offer, Wieneke’s decision to play at SDSU was easy. However, football wasn’t the only thing that drew the 6-foot-4 receiver to Brookings.

“This was definitely the best decision of my life, I know this was in God’s plans for me—just coming here, starting with Coach Stig and the whole athletic department, there’s so many great Christian people here.” Wieneke said. “There are a lot of great things to help me grow in my faith and since I’ve been here that’s been the coolest thing for me. Growing as a man, growing in my faith, and developing a personal relationship with Jesus has been my favorite thing about here.”

With more than half of the season still remaining, there’s no doubt that Wieneke will continue to work his way through the Jackrabbit record book. But no matter how much success comes Wieneke’s way, he said his mindset will continue to focus on more than just records and awards.

“I always wanted to be the best player I could be, but also just the best teammate I could be,” Wieneke said. “Every time I step on the field or in the locker room I just want to be a great contributor as a leader and as a friend and just love on each player on the team and at the same time have fun. It’s a gift and it’s a blessing to be here and I just want to use all this for His glory instead of using it for myself.”