Frankfurt Universe add former Denver Bronco cornerback John Tidwell

John Tidwell, who completed his football career at the University of Sioux Falls in 2015 as the school’s first ever three-time all-league first team selection, has signed with the Frankfurt Universe of the German Football League. He reported to Frankfurt on April 1.

Tidwell, who was among the final cuts last summer by the Deniver Broncos, will be outfitted once again in purple as he was with the University of Sioux Falls (USF) football team. He joins a team that is a member of the GFL South Division. The Frankfurt Universe finished 12-2 a year ago and runner-up in the South Division. They advanced to the playoffs. Tidwell, who will play cornerback, heads to a German Football League, a 16-team league which has been in existence for 38 years and runs from April to September.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in public accountancy/business administration from USF, Tidwell is getting his opportunity to play professional football.

Originally from Aurora, Colo., Tidwell was selected to the CoSIDA Academic All-American second team defense in 2015, he is just one of nine USF football student-athletes who have been named Academic All-NSIC three consecutive years and the first Cougar to earn first-team NSIC all-league honors three straight years.

A team captain two straight years, he had 35 tackles, three interceptions, three pass breakups, six passes defended and a blocked kick in 2015. Over his stellar career, Tidwell twice earned all-region honors, was named an honorable mention All-American and was selected to the CoSIDA Academic All- District Team in consecutive years.

In his career, he accumulated 213 tackles, including 154 solo stops as a four-year starter with the Cougars. He had 7.5 TFLs and 50 passes defended, including 12 interceptions (#13 all-time at USF. 2nd in DII era) for 152 yards (sixth all-time at USF, 2nd in DII era) and a TD. In addition, Tidwell was one of the league’s top return specialists. He had 36 punt returns for 649 yards and three TDs with 20 kickoff returns for 474 yards in his career. Named Mineral Water Defensive MVP in 2014, Tidwell averaged 18.02 yards per punt return and 23.7 on kickoff returns.

American Football International chatted with John a few days before he left for Germany.

AFI: Can you tell us a little bit about your football background?

Tidwell: I grew up in Aurora, Colorado where I played football at Rangeview High School. After starting my junior and senior year, I got a scholarship to play at the University of Sioux Falls (D-II) in South Dakota. There I was a three 1st team All-Conference player, All-American honorable mention, and 1st team All-American academically. Then I played the 2016 preseason with the Denver Broncos where I made it to the final cut, but was released.

AFI: How did you come to sign with the Universe this for this season?

Tidwell: I was able to connect with them through My grandparents live in the Frankfurt area and I really want them to watch me play.

AFI: How did you find out about American football in Germany? Or outside the US?

Tidwell: A long time ago, my grandpa actually told me that one day I would play for the Frankfurt Galaxy, so I have always known about it.

AFI: That is great. What are you looking forward to most about playing in Germany?

Tidwell: I look forward to the different culture of football. I hear the Frankfurt fans are really awesome so I am excited to be apart of that environment!

AFI: Do you have any personal/professional goals for 2017? What do you think you bring to the football field and the Universe this season?

Tidwell: I have personal goals but I like keeping them to myself. I believe that I can bring the team a great leader on and off the field that is willing to do whatever the team needs me to do to help us be successful.

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