From Hawkeye to Defender

Mike Martinez – Staff Writer

Noah Clayberg, born and raised in Pella, Iowa, is the highest-profile transfer Dordt College has ever had. Throughout his high school years at Pella High, Clayberg was a multi-sport athlete, succeeding in football, basketball, soccer, and track. Though Clayberg has always known for being a dominate athlete, people appreciate him even more for his humility.

Growing up, Noah always looked up to his older brother, Nathan. Whatever Nathan did, Noah wanted to have some part in it, which allowed their bond to continuously grow. Nathan adopted Noah into his friend group and taught him the importance of investing time in a worthy cause. They kept one another accountable on and off the football field.

“It was special to get to play with a sibling for a couple high school football seasons,” said Nathan. “A team is a family, but it’s different when you’re blood related.”

As Nathan went on to play football at Drake University, Noah still had two years left in his high school career. Though he would miss playing with his brother, he took complete advantage of the time he had left.

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As a high school senior, Clayberg completed 105 of 149 passes while throwing for 1695 yards. He also maintained a 208.5 QB rating with a 21 to 3 touchdown/interception ratio. On top of his impressive throwing numbers, he obliterated teams even more on the ground. For the year, he had a total of 186 rushing attempts for 1846 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns. A true dual-threat quarterback.

After winning 2 state football titles and receiving a Shrine Bowl invite, Clayberg earned two of the most prestigious awards for a high school athlete: Iowa Gatorade Player of the Year, and All-Iowa Football Player of the Year.

“It was an honor to receive those awards,” said Clayberg. “It’s satisfying to see how hard work can come into fruition. Our team was fortunate to have a great coaching staff that pushed us for success on and off the field.”

Because of Clayberg’s outstanding high school football career, he received a plethora of college offers, including the University of Iowa, University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University, and Western Illinois University.

After a great deal of consideration, Clayberg decided to attend the University of Iowa.

“It was close to home, a childhood dream, and a chance to compete in one of the best conferences in college football,”  said Clayberg. “I liked how the program emphasized being tough, physical, and doing the little things over time to yield big results.”

Clayberg played in 11 games during his true freshman season. He was positioned as a defensive back but played every game on the special teams unit. Over the course of the season, he recorded 5 total tackles.

Though Clayberg played well on special teams, something just didn’t feel right. He enjoyed playing for Iowa and the opportunity that the program provided for him, but he wanted to make a switch to offense, much like he did in his high school tenure.

“It didn’t feel like it was the right fit for some time,” said Clayberg. “I will always be grateful for the University of Iowa, but I was ready to play offense at a smaller school.”

With that, Noah Clayberg decided to attend Dordt University.

“I knew a few players at Dordt that were good friends. It’s a good program on the rise, showed a good vision for what their goals were, and the smaller environment suited me better,” he said. “I also appreciated their faith-centered background.”

“It was exciting to see such a high-caliber player come in to join the program,” said running back Levi Schoonhoven. “He would be able to make an impact right away. Everyone in Iowa knew Noah Clayberg.”

Clayberg indeed made an instant impression. During his first ever game at Dordt, he posted 154 yards (rushing and receiving) with 3 total touchdowns.

Unfortunately, last season was cut short for Clayberg after breaking his foot in just the second game of the year. Additionally, he’s battling through a recent concussion injury, which he suffered in the first game of this season.

“It’s been really disappointing,” said Clayberg. “I’m just ready to get back out there, but I know it’s been out of my control. I just have to keep a positive mindset.”

Fortunately, though, Clayberg will be healthy enough just in time to play this Saturday against Morningside College.

The wait is over. Noah Clayberg is ready to come back for a big sophomore campaign.

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