Jake Kumerow scores a touchdown against University of Wisconsin-La Crosse when he was a Warhawk. Kumerow established season and career records for touchdown receptions during his illustrious college career from 2012-14 at UW-Whitewater. On Dec. 2, he caught his first NFL pass. (Bob Mischka photo)

Ex-Warhawk Kumerow catches first NFL pass from Aaron Rodgers

By Daniel Schoettler

Sports Correspondent

Mount Union’s Pierre Garcon and Cecil Shorts are two names that fans automatically think about when it comes to NCAA Division III football players who’ve earned success in the NFL.

Jake Kumerow hopes to add his name to a list of players from the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference to make their mark in the pros, such as UW-La Crosse alum and former Green Bay Packers receiver Bill Schroeder and former UW-Whitewater standouts Derek Stanley and Matt Turk.

Kumerow, also a former Warhawks star, has strong bloodlines. His dad, Eric, played in the NFL, not to mention his cousin and current San Diego Charger Joey Bosa.

Kumerow made his NFL regular-season debut last Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals after spending most of the fall on injured reserve because of an injured shoulder he sustained during an excellent preseason. He had spent time on the Cincinnati Bengals and New England Patriots practice squads before this year.

Kumerow became the first Warhawks player to get on an NFL field since Turk punted for the Houston Texans in 2011.

“It felt good to be out there, and it sucks with the outcome (a 20-17 loss),” Kumerow said in a locker room interview on Pack-ers.com. “I’m going to go back in on Monday, fix it in the film room and get right after it this week.”

Kumerow made his first big moment one to remember with an 11-yard catch from quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who praised the undrafted free agent all preseason.

“It was just a specific play we had,” Kumerow added. “I just did my job, ran the right route, and to be in the right position at the right time. I tried to do that, and if the ball comes my way, make the catch.”

Kumerow added in the locker room that he thought it was big to have it coming from Rodgers.

“I was pumped, especially coming from 12 (Rodgers), it is awesome,” Kumerow said.

His sister, Cortney, who was part of a national runner-up women’s basketball team at UW-Whitewater in 2013, is proud of her younger brother.

“It was great to see him out on that field on Sunday,” she said. “Hopefully they keep playing him so he can make more catches and earn himself more snaps.”

Former UW-Whitewater football coach and current University of Buffalo head coach Lance Leipold also is proud of his former UW-W wideout.

“We are all extremely proud of Jake with his perseverance through a lot to finally get to a point four years after playing in college to get to play in a regular-season NFL game,” Leipold said. “Doing it with the Green Bay Packers is extra special, and from Aaron Rodgers. Hopefully it is the first of many.”

Leipold added that it’s a great accomplishment for UW-Whitewater.

“It is a great accomplishment for the program, the guys from the past and now, and for coach (Kevin) Bullis and his staff,” Leipold said. “In recruiting, anytime anyone has the chance to reach their dreams from any level through hard work and development. It is a great feather in their cap, and hopefully there will be another Jake Kumerow there (at UW-Whitewater) some day.”

Former UW-Whitewater running back Jordan Ratliffe, who was a teammate of Kumerow’s on both national championship teams that he was on, said the latter is deserving of the opportunity.

“Kumie is a great guy with a great work ethic. I don’t see why he won’t be the next go-to guy after Davante Adams out there at receiver,” Ratliffe said. “His catch on Sunday can be the start to a great career for him.”

Coleton Hrgich, who was a part of the same position group on those same two title teams at UW-Whitewater, echoed Ratliffe’s statement.

“Sunday should open up more opportunities for Jake, and he will seize his moment and run with it,” Hrgich said.

Packers head coach Mike McCarthy was fired after the game, but Kumerow can use the next four contests to make an even bigger case for next season.

“I’ll do whatever they tell me to do, show up Monday and knock out the film and go through the rest of the season like nothing happened and try to win every week regardless,” Kumerow said in the locker room interview.

 
 

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