Germany’s Simon Krizak getting set to enjoy his final season of football at Bucknell

Football is back in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania as the Division I FCS Bucknell Bison are set to kick off their spring season in the competitive Patriot League.

This will be head coach Dave Cecchini’s second season with the Bison after going 3-8 his first year at the helm. The Bison and Cecchini have a chance to bounce back from their disappointing 2019 campaign and make some in conference noise this spring. One key factor  will be the versatility of returning German offensive lineman Simon Krizak.

Krizak who is from Stuttgart, is stoked about the upcoming spring season:

“My goals are to make the most out of it. It is a very short season playing only in conference opponents so I’m really just trying to enjoy every day I have left as a part of the program.”

The 6’4″ 300 pound, 23-year-old Krizak is going into his senior year and could start at right tackle, left tackle, and left guard. That’s how versatile he has become. He was thrust into the starting lineup his sophomore season, starting games at left and right tackle. The next year, he started two games at left guard. Look for the senior to get even more playing time in this short four game spring season.

The former Stuttgart Scorpion is excited to be back on the field after not playing in 2020:

“At this point I am just thankful that we will be able to showcase all the hard work we have put in for over a year now to prepare for this season.”

Bucknell RT Simon Krizak keeping a wary eye on the defensive end Photo: Bucknell Athletics

The journey to this point has been long for Krizak and not exactly straight.

Growing up in Stuttgart, Krizak played soccer like most German kids before his brother Domonic finally convinced him use his massive size on the gridiron as a lineman. Krizak’s impressive frame and athleticism made him a great fit for the Stuttgart Scorpions GFL Juniors squad for four seasons.

Krizak on discovering American football:

“I didn’t know anything about football until I joined my club team. I learned the game by playing it. I only started to watch the NFL after I got into it. But I never really thought I’d be good enough to play college football, and I never really thought about going to the U.S”

The leap to Division 1 football in the football-crazed state of Pennsylvania was not easy for Krizak coming from Germany where football is growing but is still considered a “niche” sport. He wound up attending The Hill School, a football prep school in Pennsylvania, with the help of former German NFL player Bjoern Werner and his organization, Gridiron Imports, a service that helps international prospects find schools to play for in the United States. Werner reached out to Krizak on Facebook and changed the young man’s life.

“He saw my tape somehow and messaged me on Facebook. He asked if I wanted to play in the States. I had just graduated from high school and didn’t know what to do. So I said yes.”

Even after playing a few games at The Hill School, Krizak still wasn’t sure about his football future.  In fact, it wasn’t until his coach, Jeff Holloway, showed Krizak his college interests that the big man from Stuttgart thought of himself as a potential college football player.

“When I went to Hill, I didn’t even think about playing college football, but after I had my first highlight tape ready after three games in the states, Coach Jeff Hollway came up to me and told me he sent my tape to 80 schools if I want to or not. A week later he told me that a bunch of schools had asked about me. That was the first time I realized I might have a shot at playing in college. Again, I cannot give Coach Hollway enough credit, he is the one that made everything happen.”

Simon Krizak lined up for the Stuttgart Scorpions

He played only the one season of football at The Hill School before joining the Bison’s Division 1 program and he was still adjusting to the differences between playing in Germany and the United States.

“It was definitely a process. My body took a while to get used to practicing every day, during high school camp even twice a day. Going from two practices a week in Germany to that was probably the biggest adjustment. Especially once I got to college I realized that at this level everyone is a very good football player and that the speed and intensity of the game is on another level. However, those are challenges I always loved and embraced.”

For now, Krizak is focused on his upcoming spring season and enjoying his time at Bucknell before his graduation in May. Look for him and Bison to make a run at the first ever Patriot League title game.

“At this point I am trying to focus on my time left at Bucknell.”

Alex Malchow
Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football stories from across the globe.
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