Feature photo by Paul Flessland
The two Bison brothers who grew up playing nine-man football in Warner, South Dakota, are now grown and established Division I gridiron warriors at North Dakota State.
Older brother Jarrod Tuszka entered spring football season as the No. 1 defensive end opposite of Greg Menard. Younger brother Derrek Tuszka is a sophomore and on the fringe of more playing time, but his potential is showing. We spoke to the brothers to see how they’re enjoying their final season together.
DERREK TUSZKA | #91
6’5’’ / 253 lbs / Defensive End
Bro to bro: “Him being here really helped me decide to come here. It was a no-brainer.”
What are you anticipating your role will be this season?
Jarrod: “My goal is to start. Last year, I was playing behind Brad Ambrosius and now that he’s graduated, Greg (Menard) and I are the two seniors and I’m excited for this season.”
What do you think of the new defensive end coach Buddha Williams?
Jarrod: “He’s been great. He really explains himself well and then shows us tape of how to do it and how not to do it. He really goes in depth and that’s really been helping the younger guys, even Derrek has said it.”
Did you have to do much convincing to get your brother up to NDSU?
Jarrod: “It was one of those things where I pushed it more right away, but then I left it alone. Coach (Craig) Bohl told me this on my recruiting visit: He said, ‘You get two choices that no one can influence you on. You get to choose your wife and you get to choose the school you get to go to.’ I pretty much told him (Derrek) that. I told him North Dakota State is a great school, you’re going to love it up here and you’re going to win.”
What’s something you, as the older brother, will forever have over your younger brother?
Jarrod: “Nothing. He’s at the advantage because everything I’ve done, he’s got to do it two years earlier. When I started lifting, he started lifting with me. He got after it two years earlier. He’s going to be a great player. He’s going to be one of the great ones, I truly believe that.”
JARROD TUSZKA | #93
6’3’’ / 255 lbs / Defensive End
Bro to bro: “He’s going to be one of the great ones, I truly believe that.”
How influential was Jarrod when you made the decision to come here?
Derrek: “We were close growing up so that made a big play in my decision. I heard the good parts. I heard about how hard it is. Him being here really helped me decide to come here. It was a no-brainer.”
How often would you visit your older brother at NDSU?
Derrek: “I believe I made it to every home game. It helped having him up here because I got around some of the older guys so coming in my freshman year, I already had a good knowledge of everybody and people knew me.”
Being the younger brother, do you feel like the sibling rivalry still exists?
Derrek: “There’s always been that competition and I always try to push myself being younger, trying to compete at his level. I’m trying to push myself and he’s doing a good job of pushing me, and I’m pushing him.”
Do the brother-on-brother wrestling matches continue at your apartment?
Derrek: “We stopped wrestling because a lot of stuff got broken like walls, cabinets, you name it. Lights downstairs would shatter because we were throwing each other around upstairs (laughs).”
How are you going to make an impact this season?
Derrek: “I don’t know how many reps I’m going to get because we have a deep group this year. The reps that I do take, I’m going to be productive, make plays and do my responsibilities, so however many plays that will be, I’ll just do my job.”