SDSU’s Wieneke wins 2017 Doris Robinson Award

(STATS) – Wide receiver Jake Wieneke has been met in the end zone by smiles throughout his career at South Dakota State – an incredible 59 times after scoring touchdowns.

Yet those smiles aren’t quite as important as the ones Wieneke has brought to others off the field.

Since becoming a college student in fall 2013, Wieneke has been a part of church and school mission trips to Jamaica four times, as well as ones to Kenya and the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. He also has been a youth mentor in church and school programs.

Working with kids has been particularly rewarding for Wieneke. He’s a 6-foot-4, 215-pound NFL prospect, but eventually he will use a degree in physical education/teaching education for his other calling in life.

“The coolest things for me,” Wieneke said, “is seeing their smile and seeing the joy that they have in their lives, and the hope that it gives me to just see kids smiling, enjoying life, enjoying your school and learning life lessons from it whether they realize it or not. I get so much satisfaction just from smiles.”

Wieneke, fittingly pronounced WIN-ah-key, was announced Monday as the 2017 recipient of the STATS FCS Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete Award.

In its third year and named after the wife of legendary Grambling State coach Eddie Robinson, the award is presented to an FCS student-athlete who excels not only in the classroom, but in the community and beyond. Wieneke will be honored at the STATS FCS Awards Banquet and Presentation on Jan. 5 in Frisco, Texas – on the eve of the national championship game.

South Dakota State could be playing in the title game. The Jackrabbits have advanced to the FCS semifinals Saturday at James Madison, the defending national champion. As a fifth-year senior, Wieneke has played an integral role in the team’s success, scoring 16 touchdowns.

Over his career, Wieneke is the first player in SDSU history to earn All-Missouri Valley Football Conference recognition each of his four seasons. He holds the conference’s all-time records for receptions (281), receiving yards (5,052) and touchdown receptions (58). The TD receptions are tied for the second-most in FCS history and the receiving yards rank third.

Wieneke also boasts a 3.62 grade-point average, and in the fall semester he’s been a student teacher at schools in the Brookings area. He was named to the 2017 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team for his off-the-field service and was one of three FCS players selected as finalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes the best football scholar-athlete in the nation.

On his mission trips, Wieneke has worked with impoverished and disabled people. He’s helped build homes in Jamaica, worked in schools in Kenya and volunteered with sports camps and spiritual groups on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

The opportunities, Wieneke says, “are just a testament to my coaches and the people I’ve been surrounded with.

“You come back every time just so grateful for all that you have,” he added. “In some instances, I’ve been envious of what they have. They obviously don’t have the material possessions that we have and are caught up in, and they obviously don’t have a lot of money, but what they have is so much the sense of family and community, it’s just richer than ours because we’re so worried about material things.

“They’re really focused on what’s important.”

The Doris Robinson Award included one finalist from each of the 13 FCS conferences.

The full list:

Big Sky Conference: Andrew Vollert, Weber State, TE, Sr. (communication major, 3.34 GPA)

Big South Conference: Chandler Burks, Kennesaw State, QB, R-Jr. (sports management, 3.88)

CAA Football: Bryan Schor, James Madison, QB, Sr. (marketing with minor in communications, 3.134)

Ivy League: Justin Watson, Penn, WR, Sr. (finance, 3.45)

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference: Fidel Romo-Martinez, Delaware State, P, So. (biological science/health profession concentration, 4.0)

Missouri Valley Football Conference: Jake Wieneke, South Dakota State, WR, R-Sr. (physical education/teacher education, 3.62)

Northeast Conference: Andrew O’Neill, Sacred Heart, WR, Sr. (exercise science, 3.86)

Ohio Valley Conference: Justin Lea, Jacksonville State, OL, R-Sr. (graduate in emergency management and geography, 3.92; pursuing master’s degree in public administration)

Patriot League: Alex Pechin, Bucknell, P, Jr. (biomedical engineering and management, 3.94)

Pioneer Football League: Max Michaels, San Diego, NB, R-Sr. (accounting, 3.95)

Southern Conference: Andy Schumpert, Furman, TE, Sr. (accounting, 3.77)

Southland Conference: Marlon Walls, Stephen F. Austin, S, Sr. (engineering physics with minor in mathematics, 4.00)

Southwestern Athletic Conference: Percy Cargo Jr., Grambling State, DB, Jr. (business management, 3.76)