The Bolzano Giants have announced the signing of former Frankfurt Universe and Denver Broncos defensive back John Tidwell for the Italian Div. 1 playoffs.
The Giants finished second in Italy’s top league which earned them a bye in the first round of the playoffs, qualifying them for the semifinal round. They await the winner of this weekend’s game between the Firenze Guelfi and Torino Giaguari.
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, was one of the final cuts by the Denver Broncos following the 2016 preseason. He signed with the Frankfurt Universe of the German Football League the following season where he spent two years.
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 MVPin 2014, Tidwell averaged 18.02 yards per punt return and 23.7 on kickoff returns.
American Football International: 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.