Sun. Apr 14th, 2024

Local Football Standouts Commit to Play at IWU

By Sam Wort Feb 22, 2024
All photos provided by Deakon Dilts and Levi Trexler

Two local football players will stay in Grant County and play at Indiana Wesleyan University. 

Feb. 7 marked National College Signing Day and thousands of high school athletes across the country signed their National Letter of Intent to play college sports. Deakon Dilts, a wide receiver from Mississinewa, and Levi Trexler, a quarterback from Oak Hill, both committed to play for the Wildcats in the fall. 

“I think having guys from Grant County is really important,” IWU head football coach Andrew Rode said. “I think those guys understand this place because they’ve been around it on a fairly regular basis.”

The path to playing collegiate football looked different for both athletes. Levi Trexler’s desire to continue the family legacy led him to Indiana Wesleyan. 

“Well, it’s a really big deal to me,” Trexler said. “My dad played basketball at Indiana Wesleyan and my sister did as well, so ever since Indiana Wesleyan added a football program, it’s been my dream to play there and just kind of keep it in the family.” 

Matt Trexler, Levi’s father and the pastor of the River Church in Marion, played for two years on the Indiana Wesleyan basketball team, and Adrianna Trexler, Levi’s sister, was on the women’s team for three years. 

Levi Trexler also hopes to follow in his dad’s footsteps career-wise and will study Christian Ministries at Indiana Wesleyan. 

“He went through the same journey that I’m going through,” Trexler said about his dad. “And I’m doing it the same place that he did it.”

Trexler echoed Rode’s sentiment on homegrown talent, saying he knows what it’s like to play football in Grant County. 

“We know what it’s like around here,” Trexler said. “And on top of that, I think having local guys brings in a lot of fans.”

Trexler joins a big quarterback class for the Wildcats and will look to make his mark in the fall. 

“Levi is a good quarterback,” Rode said. “You can tell he’s just a hard-working, tough-minded, and very coachable young man, and he wants to be really good.”

While Trexler always wanted to play college football at Indiana Wesleyan, Deakon Dilts didn’t see himself playing for the Wildcats until late in his high school career. 

“As a young kid I always said I wanted to play Division 1,” Dilts said. “But I liked the culture at some of the smaller NAIA schools and felt like they’re more beneficial to all players.”

Dilts didn’t play for Mississinewa his freshman or sophomore year, but after a new coach took over, Dilts joined the team his junior year. After putting up solid numbers during his junior campaign, Dilts exploded during his senior season, going for over 1000 receiving yards and 18 total touchdowns. 

Dilts joins a historically successful receiving room at Indiana Wesleyan, following guys like Brayden Smith, Jacquez Carter, and Levi Tidwell. Dilts said he hopes to take on the challenge of filling those shoes and wants to be a leader for the team. 

“As a freshman, I will try to be the leader of the freshman class and possibly the whole team,” Dilts said. “I know it doesn’t always work that way but I’ll be a leader whether I’m on the field or off.” 

Coach Rode said he noticed the potential in Dilts right away and is excited about what he can bring to the team. 

“Deakon is a diamond in the rough,” Rode said. “I think when he gets to college, and he just focuses on football, and we get to kind of coach him as a receiver and get into some of the details of what it means to be a great receiver, I think he is going to take off and become a great football player for us in the future.” 

The Wildcats are coming off of a 10-2 season where they made it to the NAIA quarterfinals before losing to No. 4 Georgetown, and both Trexler and Dilts will look to help the team take the next step.

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