German Lineman Gerrik Vollmer signs with University of Virginia

Germany continues to be a pipeline of NCAA FBS talent.

Last night, the 6’5″ 280 lb offensive tackle from Hamburg became to latest German sensation to sign with a top tier American NCAA school, the University of Virginia.

Vollmer looks to follow in the footsteps of German lineman who came before him like Sebastian Vollmer, (not related, University of Houston, New England Patriots), Kasim Edebali (Boston College, New Orleans Saints), and Bjorn Werner (Florida State, Indianapolis Colts). It was Werner, in fact, who played a big part in Vollmer’s journey to today’s sigining.

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“Gerrik paid a lot of money to come play his 12th grade year at very small school in West Virginia,” said Werner who has begun helping fellow Germans find places to pursue their American football dreams under his Gridiron Imports imprint. “He (Vollmer) wasn’t getting any recruiting help, so no one was noticing him. So, I started talking to and getting to know him. I told him not to do junior college and instead to post-graduate year and, given his age, I can help him find a good school and good situation. Obviously he would have to trust me a little bit here. He called me back and said, let’s do this.”

Do this he did. Werner soon found a place for Vollmer at the Taft School in Conneticut for a post-graduate year. But, before his final prep season started Vollmer grabbed the attention of some top schools while attending camps over the summer.

“Last summer he (Vollmer) had invites to some camps,” said Werner. We put together a recruiting plan and went to the Louisville camp and West Virginia camp. At end of the Louisville camp they wanted him. He was committed to Louisville but then he hadn’t yet passed through the NCAA clearinghouse.”

Vollmer dominated play his senior year at Taft and decommited from Louisville when he re-evaluated his NCAA plan and future. “When he decommitted in December, in all these great schools started calling as they saw a great player.”

When asked what makes Vollmer special, Werner laughs. “You just saw it. He obviously had the size, the FBS size, but he was so athletic and physical with his hands. Which is so hard to teach at the high school level. I mean, I saw him right away and knew this kid could play and I told him – give yourself an extra year and it’ll work out. And it did. He dominated. He played with a chip on his shoulder.”

Before committing to the Cavaliers last night, Vollmer had four new schools after him – UMass, UConn, Temple, and Buffalo. He also recieved heavy interest from UCLA, Baylor and Mississippi State.

American Football International had a chance to talk with Vollmer days before his signing.

American Football International: Tell us all a little about your journey from Germany to the U.S. with American football?

Gerrik Vollmer: I was an exchange student in West Virginia last year.  Before this season Bjorn Werner got me in contact with the Taft School (Conneticut). It was a year later and I ended up going here (Taft) to get more offers from colleges. I was actually committed to Louisville during this past season but decided to decommit from them in December because there were some things that didn’t work out as they were supposed to.

AFI: Where did you learn Ameican football? What drew you to the sport?

Vollmer: I learned American football from my dad, Volkert Vollmer, he was the best center in Germany. He really made me what I am today, a good football player and a good person. I played for the Hamburg Junior Devils in Hamburg, Germany and also played for the German National Team.

AFI: What are you looking for in a college? What is most important to you?

Vollmer: The most important thing for me is the relationship with the coaches, especially with the offensive line and the strength and conditioning coach. Those are the two guys you will work with every day.

To learn more about Bjorn Werner and Gerrik Vollmer visit the Gridiron Imports Facebook page.

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John McKeon
John McKeon is a former professional and collegiate American Football player and coach now living and working in New York. His goal is to spread news, information, and opinion on the global growth of the sport he loves.
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