Nov. 10—Jim Collins has invited all his seniors to return for the 2024 season. The members of Wittenberg's 2020 recruiting class have one more year of eligibility because their freshman season was cancelled by the pandemic.
"This is Division III, and guys are paying their own way," Collins said. "A lot of them have career goals and and are thinking about that right now. They're thinking about graduation. So there's a lot that will go into this decision. And it's going to be more than just their love of the game. But, at the same time, it's a quality group and there's some guys in there that I think ultimately they're going to want to come back and continue their careers."
Wittenberg will honor the seniors before the final game of the regular season Saturday. The Tigers (6-3, 5-2) play Wooster (4-5, 3-4) at 1 p.m. at Edwards-Maurer Field. Last year, Wooster overcame a 33-7 deficit to beat Wittenberg 44-43.
A year ago, Wittenberg's senior class faced the same decision. Bryce Anderson, Dane Flatter, Max Yost and Christian Sweet, all members of the 2019 recruiting class, returned for a fifth year in college football.
Collins will give the 2023 seniors time to figure out if they want to play one more season.
"After a long, hard season like this, emotionaly and physically, you've really emptied the tank," Collins said. "It's a little bit tougher to figure that out today, tomorrow or the next day, but I think after the season's over, they'll all get a chance to just sit back, think about it and then make that decision. It's a quality group of people, and they're all welcome back, that's for sure."
Wittenberg ended a two-game losing streak with a 36-28 victory at Ohio Wesleyan last week. The Tigers trailed 14-3 after one quarter but took control of the game with a 23-0 run in the second half.
"We showed a lot of a lot of grit because you talk about bouncing back and and forgetting about those two previous weeks but it's easier said than done," Collins said. "When you're behind 14-3 early in the game, it takes a lot of heart to battle back and take the lead and then and then finish, so I give our guys a lot of credit for that. It just shows — and I've said this all along — what we're capable of, but you have to prove it every week."