Brains and brawn
To excel on the football field at the collegiate level certainly isn't easy to do.
It takes a lot of dedication and hard work.
To shine in the classroom at the collegiate level is no easy task either.
Once again, hard work and dedication come into play.
To excel both on the gridiron and in academics is almost unheard of.
Unless you're Jake Reimer.
Reimer, a 2014 Sherwood High School graduate, who also recently finished his senior season on the Linfield College football team, has certainly stood out in both aspects.
As a hard-hitting linebacker on the gridiron, Reimer has been a star for the Wildcats, earning first-team All-Northwest Conference honors each of the past three seasons.
Meanwhile, in the classroom, Reimer has maintained a 3.92 grade-point average while majoring in Political Science.
That could be double duty at its best.
And, when it comes to such double duty, Reimer has now been recognized as one of the best in the entire country, as he was a first-team selection to the 2017 CoSIDA Academic All-America NCAA Division III football team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
"It's a cool honor," Reimer said earlier this week. "It's nice to be recognized for the hard work you put in on the field and in the classroom. I think it's part of being a product of such a good program. They allow you to be successful here. Football is a team sport, and academics is more individual, but the coaches here put an emphasis on academics. They want you to take care of business in the classroom."
And Reimer is all about taking care of business — going all the way back to his days at Sherwood High School.
He helped the Bowmen win Class 5A football (2012) and baseball (2013) state championships, earning All-State accolades in both sports.
It didn't take Reimer long to make an impact at Linfield College, located in McMinnville.
As a freshman for the traditional national power, Reimer played in 12 games at linebacker, coming up with 12 total tackles, including one for a loss.
He then took off as a sophomore for the Wildcats. He started all 13 games that season, leading the team with 65 total tackles, including 10.5 tackles for losses. He also had five quarterback sacks, four pass break-ups and one forced fumble, as he earned first-team All-NWC honors for the first time.
It was more of the same during Reimer's junior year. That season, he led Linfield with 59 tackles, including 6.5 tackles for losses. He also had half a quarterback sack, one interception and three pass break-ups as, again, he was an All-NWC selection.
This past fall, as a 5-foot-11, 210-pound senior, Reimer had 53 total tackles, including six tackles for losses. He also had three interceptions, a fumble recovery and three pass break-ups. Reimer earned first-team All-NWC honors again, as he helped Linfield to a 9-2 overall record an a ninth-straight Northwest Conference championship.
"It was really fun," Reimer said of his time playing football at Linfield, where, during his freshman and sophomore seasons, the Wildcats reached the semifinal round of NCAA Division III playoffs. "It was fun to be a part of good teams. One of my teammates talked about how, with all of the playoff games, we played the equivalent of five seasons. It was fun playing really good teams, and the playoffs were my favorite."
In addition to his all-conference honor, Reimer also served as a team captain for the Wildcats this past fall. In addition, he was voted the team "CEO" by the seniors on the squad at the beginning of last spring's practices.
"That just meant that I had to take care of organizing different volunteer stuff that we did," Reimer said. "And it was definitely an honor being the defensive captain this year."
Reimer was bestowed another honor this past season, as he was one of three Linfield seniors that alternated in wearing jersey No. 35, in honor of fallen teammate Parker Moore, who tragically lost his life hours following a Linfield game back in 2014.
"That was a great honor, knowing Parker and what he represented," Reimer said. "He was a stand-up guy, and everything you wanted in a teammate."
And, a season full of honors was capped off by the Academic All-American award, making him just the third player in Linfield football history to earn that honor.
Although there wasn't great fanfare when Reimer found out about the achievement.
"Someone texted me about it," Reimer said with a laugh. "I didn't know anything about it. I had to go look it up to be sure. But it was cool. I was definitely happy. It was a cool surprise."
It was a cool surprise that came with a lot of hard work and time management.
"You have to manage your time well if you want to be successful at both," Reimer said. "You have limited hours between practice, film and getting enough sleep. You have to be very efficient. For me, the toughest part was getting enough sleep. But I got better at that as I got older. The first year was the toughest."
By the time he was a senior this fall, it sounds like Reimer had things figured out, even during football season.
"On a typical day, I'd wake up at around 6 a.m. and be to the gym by 6:30 or 6:45," he said. "Then it was time for the (weight) lifting program from 6:45 to 8:15. I didn't have classes too early this fall, so, after that, it was back home to grab some breakfast and get my football and school stuff together."
That was just the start of things.
"I had classes up until 2:45, and then practice would start at 3," Reimer said. "Practice would run from 3 until 6. We'd have an hour break for dinner, and then we'd be watching film from 7 to 9. Then it would be back home for a few hours to do homework."
Saturdays, of course, would be consumed by game day.
But, at least Reimer would have Sundays to relax and take it easy — nope.
"I'd try to spend my whole Sunday doing homework," he said.
And, well, all of that hard work paid off.
Reimer finished up his undergrad studies at Linfield this fall, graduating in three-and-a-half years.
He's now looking to pursue a Law degree.
"I'm working on my applications for Law School now," he said. "I already miss football, but I'm thankful I got the chance to play in college."
As for those who may want to follow Reimer's path, excelling in athletics and academics at the collegiate level, he does have some advice.
"It takes a lot of dedication, and you can't give up when it gets tough," he said. "You have to keep pushing and working. You have to stay the course. I never missed a workout or game. And you have to show up in class and be ready to do the work. I think that one of the biggest things you can do is to just show up."
Reimer likely knows what he's talking about, after all he knows what it takes to be an Academic All-American.