Luke Grooters, a 5-11, 220 lb. senior linebacker from Rock Rapids, Iowa, has been named the NAIA National Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in last Saturday’s 69-7 blowout victory against third-ranked Doane University.
He was also named the Hauff Mid-America Sports/Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) Defensive Player of the Week.
Grooter’s defensive exploits helped the sixth-ranked Mustangs keep Doane off the scoreboard until the Tigers scored with only two seconds left in the game.
Grooters scored the first touchdown of his Morningside career when he recovered a Doane fumble and ran 42 yards to the end zone to put the Mustangs ahead 34-0 with 12:07 left in the second quarter. Grooters collected six tackles with three solos and three assists, including 2.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage for losses of seven yards, to go along with a pass breakup, a forced fumble and a quarterback hurry. Grooters combined with Chas Reis to stuff Drew Klein for a two-yard loss on Doane’s first offensive play of the game. Grooters forced a fumble that led to a Morningside touchdown on the Tigers’ second offensive possession of the game when he dropped Nate Meier for a two-yard loss. Grooters’ other tackle in the Doane backfield came in the third quarter when he dropped Klein for a four-yard loss after a pass completion.
Grooters is the Mustangs’ second leading tackler with 12 solos and 13 assists for 25 total tackles.