Master’s degree in hand, Jared Schiess returned to Weber State and will become football’s Mr. Wildcat
It’s difficult these days to imagine Weber State’s football defense without No. 91 from Manti, Utah, lining up at tackle.
When Jared Schiess first takes the field this Saturday in a road matchup at No. 2 Eastern Washington, he’ll officially become the new Mr. Wildcat. Schiess will play in career game 55, surpassing former defensive line running mate Jonah Williams for the program record in games played.
“It definitely has meant a lot being here at Weber. The community, the coaches, it’s been a great experience and I’ve always liked it,” Schiess said.
He quickly turned to crediting teammates who work just as hard but may not play as many reps as he does, and pointed to that as part of his positive tenure at WSU.
“I think that’s why we do football in the first place, because you get opportunities to work hard with people that you care about and are excited to be with,” he said.
While every player in every college sport who competed in the 2020-21 school year did so without using eligibility due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it wasn’t a foregone conclusion Schiess would return this fall and flirt with the games-played record.
Having a bachelors’ degree in health administration in hand from 2019, Schiess had just finished up a master’s program in the same discipline when the spring 2021 season concluded, and there was some question as to what to do with his NFL prospects.
“I was kind of in a little spot where I needed to figure out what I wanted to do. I talked with the coaches and stuff, and they told me to take some time to think about it. I talked with my family and tried to figure out what’s the best thing for me to do personally, and I decided to come back,” Schiess said. “And I think it’s worked out great. I’ve had a ton of fun this year and I’m glad to be here.”
His wife, volleyball middle blocker Sam Schiess, also returned for a second senior season this fall after playing in the spring. Currently, the volleyball team is 23-1 against Big Sky teams in her two senior campaigns.
“Obviously, I’m a little bit more invested than probably the average Joe, but it’s been super fun. I see how hard they work, how much effort and how much mental focus they put into it,” Jared Schiess said about the volleyball team. “It’s been super awesome and super fun for them to see the rewards, win so many games and they’re beating people by a lot … I’m sure they’ve got another deep run in the playoffs coming up.”
Schiess has come alive in the last four weeks as WSU’s defense has, so far, stood tall against all comers. He’s totaled 20 tackles and 2.5 sacks for a unit holding opponents to about half their usual yardage outputs.
For his career of 54 games to this point, Schiess has totaled 158 tackles, 24 for loss, and 6.5 sacks, forcing one fumble and recovering three.
“He might be the best player in the league, or one of them. He’s that dominant,” WSU head coach Jay Hill said. “On defense, he does for us what Eric Barriere does for Eastern’s offense. He requires you to double-team him and if you don’t, then he’s extremely disruptive.
“If you look at the University of Utah game and how he played in that game, I’ll bet he’s played Utah as good as any D-tackle in the country right now. Last week against Montana State, he just played lights out, especially in that second half.”
Before any on-the-field characteristic, however, Hill first pointed to Schiess as an example of a leader and teammate.
“He’s one of those guys who relates to everybody on the team, whether they’re a 17-year-old freshman, a married returned missionary, a Black kid from LA, a white kid from northern Idaho — he’s one of those kids who knows how to get along with everybody,” Hill said. “He’s just a phenomenal leader.”