By Greg Gielczyk
MANISTEE – Manistee senior Caden Vansickle didn’t start playing football until his freshman year, and even then, only after a friend convinced him to go out for the junior varsity team.
Now, 4 years later Vansickle is preparing to continue his career in college after signing a national letter of intent to play football at Michigan Technological University in Houghton next year.
Tech is a Division II school, and a member of the GLIAC (Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference)
A 275-pound offensive lineman, Vansickle, the son of Megan and Douglas Vansickle, spent his formative years playing baseball and running track, but just kept getting bigger and eventually wasn’t quite as fast anymore according to his mother, Megan.
Vansickle admitted to struggling a bit to grasp the game.
“It was all kinds of confusing that first year because I didn’t know anything,” said Vansickle. “My sophomore year it started to click when I had to step up and fill a role on the varsity. When I received All-Region and All-State (Associated Press First Team in Division 5-6) recognition my junior year, I started to think that maybe I could take this somewhere.”
During his career, the Chippewas made the MHSAA playoffs three years in a row and reached the district finals for the first time in program history last year.
Tech head coach Dan Mettlach is excited to have him in the fold and sees great potential for him to make an immediate impact on the Huskies’ offensive line.
Mattelich considers VanSickle a major signing for the Huskies.
“Caden is a highly motivated kid that fits Michigan Tech in every way,” Mattelich said in an email. “From the beginning of the recruiting process, it was evident that he not only had the physical tools to play at a high level, but his character and success in the classroom really stood out. He is going to be a great addition to our locker room and we couldn’t be more excited to have the entire VanSickle family be a part of our program.”
Manistee coach Troy Bytwork said Vansickle has a high ceiling on his potential.
“He really spent so much time in the weight room getting himself to a point where he’s just stronger and bigger,” said Bytwork. “He could be at 310 and 320 the next 2 years and still maintain the speed that he has. He’s going to be a very formidable kid.”
Vansickle, who carries a 3.72 grade-point-average, plans to major in Computer Engineering.