(WFRV) – If you play DIII college sports, you truly love the game.  And it’s easy to see just how much football is in the heart of Quinn Meinerz. The former UW-Whitewater offensive lineman has been training for a career in the NFL, and can’t wait for the college draft begin on Thursday night.

“It’s unbelievable.  I mean like you said, we all have the dream but when you go Division III, kind of the reality sets in a little bit that when you get to your junior and senior year, that there’s not really an opportunity,” said Meinerz. “But it’s cool that I’ve been able to have this opportunity and take Warhawk football, Division III and Wisconsin athletes, and carry all those things on my shoulder and hopefully I can carry it to the NFL.  Not too long ago it was ‘Am I going to get drafted?’ Now it’s just kind of a matter of when.”

Meinerz doesn’t lack confidence, but he also isn’t cocky and his performance at the Senior Bowl against D1 competition gave him confidence in knowing he belongs.

“After like the first couple snaps, when I was finally going against the live competition, I’m not sure whether it was one on one or stuff like that, but I realized really quickly that ‘hey I can really handle myself,’ said Meinerz. “I was going to practice like I was going to be fighting for my life every play, but I’m not fighting for my life, I’m handling and sometimes dominating my opponent, so it was really a big confidence booster early on day one.”

Meinerz put together a video montage of him working out in a remote part of Canada where his family owns a fishery, and put it online to help market himself. The highlight reel includes everything from chopping wood, curling water jugs, lifting propane tanks and multiple 2 x 8 lumber over his shoulder, snapping a football into a garbage can and even knocking down trees in the woods.
“It’s just being creative, and the ability to not settle for less.  I was trying to use everything that I had to make sure I was prepared and ready for my moment and when it was time to to happen,” said Meinerz. “If I wasn’t practicing all summer to play center, the senior bowl wouldn’t have gone as well for me. So I was really trying to be prepared in all facets of anything that could happen. To be ready for my opportunity, because you never know when it’s going to happen and like the senior bowl, it was two weeks out that I got the invite. So you just really got to make sure you’re always ready. Don’t get ready, stay ready.”

The numbers Meinerz put up at his pro they are eye-popping regardless of what level competition you are looking at. He ran a 4.92 40 yard dash, and did 33 reps on the 225 pound bench test.

“For interior offensive lineman, I’m pretty sure that’s pretty close to the top, so I’m really happy with it. I think I could have had more, if I didn’t break my hand at the senior bowl because there were eight weeks of time where I wasn’t able to put my hand underneath a bar,” said Meinerz. “so I only had two weeks to prepare for that benchpress but I hit 33, and my internal goal was 32 to 35, so they hitting 33 was definitely something I was pleased with.”

Meinerz knew that versatility could only help him after being called to play in the senior bowl, and even the left guard is his normal position, he is willing to do anything to be on someone’s roster.
“It doesn’t really matter to me, though I think in my opinion, on the interior offensive line,  you have to be versatile and play all three of them,” said Meinerz. “Look at Elgton Jenkins.  He’s playing all five of them. Do you know how valuable that is to hold down that? It’s incredible that he’s able to do that, so I want to be those kinds of players where you can trust me at all three of the interior positions.”

Growing up in Hartford, Wisconsin, playing college football in his home state was great, but he’s one of the few guys on the gridiron that did not grow up being a Packers fan.
“It would be really cool, but unfortunately a lot of people aren’t gonna like it, but I’m a Tom Brady and Patriots fan. It would be cool because a lot of my entire family is Packers fans,” said Meinerz. “I know a lot of them would really enjoy that moment of having a Meinerz Packers jersey, which will be really cool.”