Tann enjoying time in Colorado
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – David Tann was faced with an extremely difficult decision early in his college athletic career.
Tann, who attended St. Edmond through his sophomore year and graduated from Cedar Rapids Washington, had fulfilled part of his dream by walking on with the University of Iowa football team.
But that wasn’t enough for Tann.
Missing from it all was the thrill of strapping on the helmet and lacing up the cleats each Saturday for live game action.
So, Tann said good bye to the Hawkeyes and ventured west to Colorado Mesa. And it’s been the best thing for him.
The senior entered Saturday night’s game with Dixie State leading the No. 23 (NCAA, Div. II) Mavericks in rushing yards with 355 and touchdowns with seven. He’s also added 15 receptions and 191 yards with two scores in the passing game.
“I started my collegiate career at the University of Iowa, which had been a dream of mine since I was very young,” Tann said. “It was an incredible experience and I learned a ton, whether it be about football schemes or how to train from coach (Chris) Doyle. It was very beneficial to my football career….but I wanted to be on the field on Saturdays and I was very impatient in that aspect.
“So, after my second year at Iowa, I decided to pursue my career somewhere that I would be able to play every down right away. I had plenty of options from schools in Minnesota, Missouri, Colorado and other places, but I was very interested in Colorado because I have heard only good things about the state.”
Tann made a visit to Colorado Mesa and a connection was found with head coach Russ Martin.
“I knew after visiting that (Mesa) was where I wanted to go,” he said. “This school has a great campus, academics and athletic programs.”
Two years ago, Tann saw action in all 11 games on defense, recording 36 tackles and recovering a fumble in the end zone. Last season, he played in 10 games, rushing for 375 yards and scoring five touchdowns. That included a pair of 100-yard performances.
“I have changed a lot since being a young, wide-eyes 18-year-old at the University of Iowa,” Tann said. “My body has gotten a lot stronger and faster, and the game has slowed down for me.
“When I first got to college, the game was so much faster than high school. As you get older and develop, it slows down. You have seen everything before and begin to process everything much quicker.”
He also added that his ability to study game-film has “helped a ton on the field.”
“By watching film, you can see tendencies of what the defense is going to do by how they line up, whether or not they are blitzing, what coverage they’re going to be in. Studying these things helps a lot in the run game,” he said. “I can feel and predict what the defense is going to do before the play and just react off my offensive lines blocks.”
When Tann backed his bags for Colorado, he did so with open eyes to a new challenge.
“I knew moving out to Colorado was going to be tough for my family because I am 15 hours from home,” he said. “My father (Kevin Tann) actually lives in Denver now, so it is nice that he is relatively close and able to make it to the games.
“But the support that I have received from my family in Fort Dodge has been amazing. My mom (Laura Erickson-Huss), step dad (Steve Huss) and sister (Josie) have made the long trip out here many times the past three years. My grandma, Norma, has also made numerous trips with my parents. I can’t thank them enough for coming out to see me and everything they do for me.”
A recent trip to play Black Hills State in Spearfish, South Dakota allowed even more members of Tann’s family to be in the stands. He showed off his skills by rushing for a career-high 121 yards on 16 carries and a score.
“Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all made it out to that game because it was the closest game to home the past three years – even though it was still a nine-hour trip,” Tann said. “It is truly a great feeling knowing how much support and following I have from the people that raised me and I grew up with. I love all of those guys.”
Tann first flashed his versatility as a sophomore for St. Edmond, racking up over 300 yards of total offense and making 48 tackles. He continued to shine on both sides of the ball despite making the jump from Class 1A to 4A with Washington.
As a junior, Tann had 108 tackles and picked off three passes. He was voted a captain his senior year and delivered yet again, helping Washington back to the playoffs behind 101 tackles, including 18 for loss, and 680 yards rushing with eight scores.
His ability to adjust to playing either side of the ball has helped him excel with the Mavericks.
“I had had played defense for the first three years of college at safety and linebacker. After the first game last season, we had three running backs get injured in the first game and we were low at the position,” he said. “Coach Martin talked to me that following Monday and said that he saw my film from high school when I played running back and asked if I would be willing to switch over and play it. I said absolutely. I missed having the rock in my hand and embraced the transfer over to offense.
“It took a couple weeks to get into the rotation because I had to learn the offense and get back into the groove of running the ball. By the end of (last) season, I was in the rotation and getting about 10 carries a game. It was a great switch for me and it has been very fun. There’s no better feeling than getting into the end zone and celebrating with my teammates.
“This season has been exciting because I’m not only running the ball, but also getting a lot of targets out of the backfield in the passing game and playing quarterback in our wildcat package. All in all, as a team captain, I’m just trying to be a leader and help my team win any way I can.
As his collegiate playing career winds down, Tann is completing work on a degree in Sports Management. He was graduate in May and isn’t ruling out more football in the future.
“I’m still not sure what I want to do,” he said. “Depending on how this season ends, I may continue playing football overseas in Europe or Australia. Both places have been very interesting to me.”