Loyola’s Jake Marwede (14) leaps over Glenbard West’s defensive line. Worsom Robinson/ For the Sun-Times.

2016 Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Year: Loyola’s Jake Marwede

SHARE 2016 Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Year: Loyola’s Jake Marwede
SHARE 2016 Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Year: Loyola’s Jake Marwede

He’s right where they need him. Every time.

Loyola’s not so secret weapon, Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Year Jake Marwede, has always had an affinity for the pigskin.

“Growing up if there was a basketball, baseball and football in the play room, it was the football he would pick up,” Andy Marwede, Jake’s dad, said. “He gravitated towards football. It was just always his thing.”

It’s still his thing, just ask top-ranked Loyola football coach John Holecek.

“Jake is the closest thing to a thoroughbred in high school football,” Holecek said. “He’s a special animal with a great demeanor and work ethic, family background and an absolutely incredible athlete.”

Once a smaller, fourth grade, nerf-football thrower, Jake now stands 6-5, 215-pounds.

But it wasn’t always smooth sailing for Marwede. He trained through his sophomore year as a quarterback. Heading into his junior season Holecek asked him to try something new: receiver.

“One day in practice I kept on seeing these giant white gloves on the sideline,” Holecek said. “His sideline routes he was catching passes four feet out of bounds and bringing them down with giant hands. I kept asking the other coaches ‘holy cow, did you see that catch?’ That summer I knew this kid was good.”

In Marwede’s case, it comes naturally. This season he has 61 rushes for 333 yards, has thrown four passes for 134 yards, and notched 40 catches for 548 yards for a total of 21 touchdowns.

“There are not too many people that when you give them the ball they just reach out and they already have two yards,” Holecek said.

It helps that Marwede gets to run behind one of the most sizable, talented offensive lines in the area.

“When he runs a slant his body is going to protect with long arms and great hands,” Holecek said. “He is just such a force physically. Running the ball I don’t see people who can stop him with our offensive line. His stride is long and he is fast.”

Marwede speaks humbly when he thinks about realizing he had a future in football.

“I don’t know if there was an exact moment, but I always knew I had some pretty decent hands,” Marwede said. “Once I made the switch to receiver I spent my time just grinding it out and seeing where it went.”

The flexibility that Marwede, a Duke recruit, showed during his transition from quarterback to receiver, was something he learned from his family.

“I learned to always be the hardest worker you can be, and to always be a player for the team, to help out wherever you can,” Marwede said.

Marwede is the go-to-guy on the top team in the area, impacted every phase of the offensive game for the Ramblers and was the place his teammates looked in moments when the season was on the line.

“Jake takes it in stride,” Andy Marwede said. “He just wants to be helping as much as he can. He always felt he could help his team at different positions and if quarterback wasn’t where it was than that was fine.”

Marwede made the switch and never looked back.

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