The intimidation starts with his name. "I've been The Grock ever since I can remember," says Bob Grock, a senior defensive end for Plymouth (N.H.) State College who last season led the Panthers in sacks with 10. "People just figured Grock was my name, so I legally changed it. My real name is Bob Grocki."
The Grock's size and strength are also intimidating. At 6'2", 250 pounds, he has a 52-inch chest, 35-inch waist, 21-inch neck and 20-inch biceps. He bench-presses 425 pounds, dead-lifts 610 and squats 540. Finally, there are those five tattoos. His left arm features a cross with the words MOM and LAURA (his 8-year-old sister) inscribed on it as well as two skulls, one of which is being smashed by a bloody fist with the word KILL across the knuckles. Adorning his right arm are a Plymouth State College panther and a U.S. Marine Corps bulldog. The Grock, who's 22, spent two years in the Marines as an artilleryman.
To put it simply, you don't want to mess with The Grock—or with Plymouth State. The Panthers have won 19 consecutive games, more than any school in the nation at any level. Last season they outscored their opposition by a margin of 414-48 and put together six straight shutouts. Heading the offense is All-America Joe Dudek, who rushed for 1,094 yards in 1982. On defense, four of the five linemen who helped accumulate 51 sacks return.
St. Lawrence is led by All-America Fullback Keith Henry, who gained 1,174 yards for the upstate New York school. Lelan Rogers, who's an All-America wrestler at 158 pounds and a star attack man on the Saints lacrosse team, once again will handle the heavy work. He scored 14 touchdowns last year, most of them from inside the five-yard line.
At Hope College in Holland, Mich., Greg Heeres plays two sports, football and baseball, and is All-Conference in both. Last year Heeres, who's a southpaw, was the second-ranked passer in Division III. As a pitcher for the Flying Dutchmen he had a 6-3 record and a 3.10 ERA. Besides Heeres, Hope, which won its final eight games of 1982, retains 15 first-stringers.
Winner of 22 regular-season games in a row over the last three years, Augustana of Illinois has a fine trio of offensive performers in Tackle Kurt Kapischke, Center Greg King and Split End Norm Singbush. Linebacker Pete Kasap was named the Outstanding Defensive Player in last year's Stagg Bowl, the Division III title game.
For the last two seasons, Widener of Chester, Pa. has been tough to push around. However, seven first-string defenders have departed, which means that Coach Bill Manlove will have to depend on his offense. Halfback Jerry Irving, who gained 1,137 yards in 1981 but sat out last year, returns, as does Fullback Mike Forward, who led the Middle Atlantic Conference in scoring (78 points) in '82.
Get a load of these numbers at Lawrence: Tom Wick, All-Midwest Conference defensive tackle, government major, 3.2 GPA; Mark Babbitts, All-Conference defensive end, math, 3.2; John Marcquenski, defensive back, physics, 3.5; Beau Schaefer, wingback, biology, 3.1; and Brian Smigelski, defensive back, geology, 3.2. Last season Ron Roberts became the winningest football coach ever (112-45-1) at the small, highly competitive liberal arts school, situated in Appleton, Wis., an accomplishment that apparently concerned the faculty. In April it decided that, starting in 1984, varsity athletes will have to have completed 7½ credit hours in the three previous terms to be eligible to play. Clearly, the new requirement should not cause this football squad any problems.
Baldwin-Wallace loses virtually its entire defense, but don't underestimate the Yellow Jackets. Besides Quarterback Brian Moore and Wide Receiver Lance Currens, they retain Kicker Steve Varga, who was born in Vinkovici, Yugoslavia, spent several years in Stuttgart, Germany and emigrated to Cleveland when he was in eighth grade. In three years Varga, who was born with only two toes on his his left foot—his kicking foot—has made 21 of 35 field-goal attempts.
They learn early at DePauw in Indiana that football is a way of life. The Tigers carried 116 players on their roster last season, 56 of them freshmen. One of the best was Tim Weaver, who was the division's top punt returner in '82 with a 17.7-yard average. A wide receiver, he also caught 10 passes for 143 yards.
At Wagner on Staten Island, where 120 freshmen were expectecd to try out for this year's team, All-America Linebacker Sal D'Alessio returns to a defense that allowed just 110 points in the regular season last year. All-America Tackle Selwyn Davis will see that Quarterback Tim Kelley has plenty of time to throw to Split End John Von Ahnen.
Jobie Waldt, the senior quarterback at Frostburg State, threw for 2,408 yards and 16 touchdowns last season, setting 13 records at the Maryland school. He's back, as is Linebacker Happy Hall, who last year also played catcher for the Bobcats baseball team. Defensive End Kevin Walsh played center on the basketball team until midway through last season, when he decided to concentrate on football. He's called the Mad Stork √† la Ted Hendricks because, at 6'7", he's one of the tallest players in Division III, had 10 sacks last year—and is a veritable Grock for grit.
The Grock tattooed quarterbacks for losses 10 times last season.
1. ST. LAWRENCE
2. AUGUSTANA (ILL.)
4. PLYMOUTH STATE
8. FROSTBURG STATE