Plumb to Play Football for Iowa
BY RICH PALZEWIC
SUAMICO – I first saw Jack Plumb play basketball for St. John the Baptist as an eighth grader during halftime of a UWGB game. The tall lanky middle-schooler stole a pass, dribbled down the court and promptly dunked the basketball. It was then I knew the now Bay Port senior was destined for greatness.
Plumb has definitely made a name for himself in basketball for the Pirates, but ironically, his future lies in football. The 6-foot-8, 245-pounder verbally committed to the University of Iowa in Iowa City to play for the Hawkeyes earlier this summer.
“I always thought I would play college basketball,” said Plumb. “But halfway through my junior year in football, (Bay Port head coach Gary) ‘Westy’ (Westerman) told me I could play D1 football. I just laughed at him and said, ‘Yeah right, you’re crazy, Coach…I’m a basketball player.’”
As it turns out, Westerman was right. The two put together a highlight film and sent it off to colleges hoping to pique their interest. What happened after that even amazed Plumb.
“We sent the tape to some Mid-American Conference schools and also to some Big Ten schools as kind of an afterthought, hoping to hear from one of them,” Plumb said. “It just took off after that. I was very surprised at how it went. A few of the schools came to watch me work out and they all liked how I could bend really well. They said I had really good, quick feet for my size and that I had a big frame – wide shoulders and a big body. They also liked how I could move and was a hard worker.”
Besides Iowa, other D1 colleges to offer Plumb were Wisconsin, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northern Illinois, Western Illinois, New Mexico, Wyoming, Arizona State, South Dakota and Illinois State.
Plumb was quick to point out that it was more what he liked about Iowa and feeling at home there, as compared to not liking the other schools. He even had the opportunity to play both basketball and football at South Dakota, but then the Hawkeyes came calling.
“When I went on a visit to Iowa for their tailgate event, it just felt right the entire time I was there,” noted Plumb, who will study either education or strength and conditioning in Iowa City. “I love the coaching staff and the success they’ve had converting tight ends to o-lineman and getting them to the NFL. They were my first Big 10 offer and they were recruiting me the hardest.”
Plumb is projected to be a tackle at Iowa, even though he plays tight end for the Pirates. The all-conference player in both football and basketball caught a touchdown pass in Bay Port’s opening game win this season.
“I just need to keep working on my blocking from the tight end position,” added Plumb. “The o-line coach at Iowa, Tim Polasek, is actually best of friends with Westy and they’ve been talking. Iowa knows that we don’t pass a ton here, so I’m already basically another tackle.”
Plumb feels the biggest difficulty will be putting on the needed weight to play tackle at the next level. The Hawkeyes want him to add 40-45 pounds, so he will be playing in the 285-290 range. Considering Iowa has encouraged Plumb to play basketball his senior season, it might be difficult to add much weight during his final year in Suamico.
“Westy always jokes around and says I eat like a wide receiver right now, so I guess I have to start eating like an offensive lineman,” laughed Plumb.
Jack is the son of John and Susie Plumb and is also the grandson of Fritz Shurmur, the former Packers defensive coordinator who won Super Bowl XXXI with the team.
John Plumb’s dad, Ted Plumb, was also on the coaching staff of the ’85 Bears Super Bowl team and was the offensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1986-89.
Hattie Plumb, the older sister of Jack, also recently completed her freshman year at Illinois State where she had a very successful track season.
Plumb committing to Iowa marks the fourth year in a row that a Bay Port football player will play D1 football. Alec Ingold (Wisconsin), Cole Van Lanen (Wisconsin) and Matt Lorbeck (Northern Illinois) have all come before him.