Before joining the Canadian Football League in 1997 as a quarterback for the Calgary Stampeders, current Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson starred in the NCAA with the University of Montana Grizzlies. From 1992-1995, Dickenson was an instrumental part of the Grizzlies offense and helped the University of Montana to a NCAA Division I-AA Championship in 1995. That year, Dickenson also won the Walter Payton Award, presented to the most outstanding player in the NCAA Division I-AA.
This past week it was announced that Dickenson is being recognized for his outstanding career with the Grizzlies. He will be one of 13 people inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in New York. In addition to winning the NCAA Division I-AA Championship and the Walter Payton Award, Dickenson was known for his pinpoint accuracy. He set a NCAA Division I-AA record for the best completion percentage (68.7%), and fewest interceptions per pass attempt (1.9%).
Dickenson will be honoured with some of the NFL’s greats. They include quarterback Kerry Collins of Penn State, who went to the Pro Bowl with the Carolina Panthers in 1996 and the Tennessee Titans in 2008, wide receiver Calvin Johnson of Georgia Tech, who went on to lead the NFL twice in receiving yards with the Detroit Lions in 2011 and 2012, Miami defensive back Ed Reed, who was a nine-time Pro Bowl safety with the Baltimore Ravens, and Michigan cornerback Charles Woodson, who was also in nine Pro Bowls representing the Green Bay Packers and Oakland Raiders.
In other CFL news, the Minnesota Vikings have shown interest in Edmonton Eskimos wide receiver Brandon Zylstra. After leading the CFL in receiving yards with 1687 in 2017, Zylstra signed a contract with Minnesota on January 3. Zylstra is a native of Spicer, Minnesota. He follows in the footsteps of Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen.
The similarities between Thielen and Zylstra are amazing. Like Zylstra, Thielen is a native of Minnesota, as he was born in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. Both went undrafted, and both went to schools in Minnesota that nobody has heard of. Thielen attended Minnesota State University in Mankato and Zylstra attended Concordia University in St. Paul. Also, both were all stars in 2017. Thielen is heading to the Pro Bowl at the end of the month and Zylstra was a CFL All-Star with the Eskimos.