Northern Star: Tim Pokornowski
Former Cloquet three sport all star turned UMD Football defenseman.
DULUTH, Minn.- For as long as he can remember, Tim Pokornowski has been a three sport athlete. But when it came down to his future there was one game that he knew he needed to continue playing.
“It was a dream of mine ever since I was a kid to play college football somewhere and it just feels great to finally be here,” said Pokornowski.
And being able to play close to home just made it that much better for him.
“It’s going to be really cool. It was a goal of mine to make sure that I could impact a community and make sure my family was able to come and watch me play.”
The transition from high school to the college level doesn’t come easy. But Pokornowski’s time at Cloquet really prepared him for this next step.
“The coaches at Cloquet were amazing. During two-a-days we would always have film sessions and go through walk throughs and knowing all the plays. They really made it a big point to know the plays and know your reads and know everything. So I really learned the game there coming from there. I feel like now on the defensive side and I can really figure out what is going on, on the other side of the ball.”
This defensive side is new for Tim. As a Lumberjack he was under center playing Q.B., but as a Bulldog he’ll be hitting the turf as a safety.
“The biggest challenge is probably learning the playbook. It’s a lot more sophisticated than high school and way different.”
“There’s a lot to learn, especially for a guy that hasn’t played a ton of defensive back. So he needs to be able to command our defense at some point from the safety position and watching him at quarterback in high school, the way that he commanded the offense, commanded the team, we’re hoping that it will transition here on the field defensively for us,” said head coach Curt Wiese.
Although it is a huge adjustment there’s a reason behind his coaches’ decision.
“Well it’s athleticism number one. Tim showed the ability to command an offense as well and for us he’s playing safety and that’s the quarterback of the defense. So knowing that he can command an entire offense, you’ve got some confidence that he can do it on the defensive side as well. So far he’s proving he can handle the scheme side of it, just got to get him sped up a little bit,” said assistant coach Nate Johnson.
Getting him sped up shouldn’t be too difficult as he is surrounded by teammates who motivate him day in and day out.
“Love these guys. The team chemistry is always there. But during practice we kind of have offense and defense get riled up with each other. But off the field and in the locker room we’re just a family,” said Pokornowski.
And while his athletic ability is undeniable this Northland native is just as valuable off the field.
“A big part of the reason we recruited Tim to begin with he’s a three sport athlete that is a leader of their school. So we knew athletically he could do it but seeing the off the field and some of the on the field away from the play characteristics of Tim are the reason that we recruited him to come to UMD,” said Wiese.
“Tim is a hard worker and that’s something we value in the recruiting process. We want to recruit athletes who know how to get it done on and off the field with their work ethic and he’s doing a really good job working hard. It’s not always easy being a scout tea, elite force guy, a special teams guy but he’s doing and he’s grinding through it. I’ve been really pleased with him in his drill work, same his work ethic in the meeting room, he’s bringing it every day,” said Johnson.