When an offense is averaging nearly 49 points per game, individual defensive players can easily be lost in the shuffle. The Buffalo Bison finished the season with a 6-3 record and were one of the most exciting teams to follow in Minnesota high school football. Even with all the fireworks from the offense, at least one Bison defender has stood out enough on film and at college camps to put himself in line for a college scholarship after his senior year – Dustin Sarvie.
“We had a lot of good guys. We had the three guys that are going Division I, and we had a lot of other guys who will be playing in college too,” Sarvie said about his junior season. “Our offensive line and quarterback were good. Our defense struggled a little bit, but we got that figured out by the end of the season and played pretty good by the end of the season.”
Although on the scoreboard the defense appeared to struggle most of the season, Sarvie felt the unit continued to get better as the season wore on.
“Our defensive’s strength was the linebackers and the secondary,” said the linebacker. “We had a lot of guys on the defensive line who were playing on varsity for the first time. By the end of the season, they started to figure it out.”
Sarvie was effective the entire year.
“I had a lot of success last year,” Sarvie – who in his spare time likes to deer hunt, fish for walleye and hang out with my family – said. “I played middle linebacker, and I think a lot of the credit has to go to the outside linebackers – forcing all the balls inside. That is where I got most of my tackles; the outside backers were keeping contain and forcing the ball to me.”
The Bison primarily played a 3-4 defense with Sarvie playing the strong side inside linebacker.
“I think my strength is being able to run downhill with my speed – just being able to hit kids.”
When teams get started next month, Sarvie will likely be a 3-year starter at middle linebacker. He made a jump skill-wise between his sophomore and junior seasons.
“I went to eight camps after my sophomore year,” Sarvie said. “Doing that improved my overall skills as well as starting to get noticed by colleges.”
During the offseason this year, Sarvie has been working hard on one specific part of his game.
“I’m focusing on being able to turn my hips and cover receivers,” the 6’1, 215-pound linebacker said. “I have struggled with that in the past. I have always been a good tackler, but I have started to focus on turning my hips and running with receivers.”
Starting after the football season, he has also been focusing on getting bigger, faster, and stronger.
“Every day I was in the weight room working on my speed and strength,” Sarvie explained. “We would have one big lift each day – either bench, clean, or squat. Then we would three or four other lifts to compliment the main lift. At the end of the workouts, we have been working on speed.”
Like the last offseason, Sarvie has made the rounds to many college campuses this offseason.
“I went to St. Cloud State, Winona State, North Dakota, South Dakota State, Bemidji State, Minnesota State-Moorhead, and Concordia-St. Paul.”
“Camps have been great – meeting the coaches at the schools I have been at,” Sarvie continued. “It is nice to see how different the programs are and seeing their strengths and weaknesses.”
The different camps have also allowed him to continue to work on – among other things – his pass coverage skills.
“In our defense, I don’t have any real pass responsibilities, so I have benefited from college coaches showing me how to cover receivers.”
Right now, four Division II schools have Sarvie on their radar.
“I have been in contact with St. Cloud State, Minnesota State-Moorhead, Winona State, Northern State, and a little bit with North Dakota. Most of the schools say they like my speed and physicality.”