Ben Bartch Serves as the Lone Division III Selection of the 2020 NFL Draft
Sam Viebrock Inside D3 Chief Editor
ST. JOSEPH, Minn. — Every kid growing up playing football dreams about playing in the National Football League (NFL). Well that dream became a reality on Friday, April 24, as St. John’s Offensive Tackle Ben Bartch heard his name called and was drafted in the Fourth Round, 116th overall, to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Bartch was the lone Division III student-athlete drafted in this year’s seven-round draft.
In a statement released by SJU athletics Bartch was quoted saying: "My faith, family, coaches and dedication to the game helped me reach this goal, and they will continue to throughout my life. The hard work and commitment from my Johnnie teammates also made this opportunity possible. I can't wait to represent SJU at the highest level."
Ben is the first DIII student-athlete selected in the NFL draft since 2015 and the first MIAC student-athlete selected since 2003
Bartch originally was a tight end and transitioned into an offensive tackle and ESPN Draft experts predict that Bartch will suit up as a guard at the next level. Bartch left a great legacy at St. John’s. After just making one appearance as a freshman, Johnnie's offensive linemen made 35 appearances in his final 3 seasons. As a sophomore, when Bartch was a tight end, he caught 4 passes for 43 yards and accounted for one touchdown reception.
As a junior and senior, Bartch was a staple on the offensive line. Bartch protected star quarterback Jackson Erdmann, who, in 2019, led the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) in passing yards per game (360) and touchdowns (47). Also, Bartch and the offensive line only surrendered a league-best 29 sacks.
As a junior, Bartch earned All-MIAC Second Team honors. In his final year, he garnered Associated Press (AP) Second Team honors, as well as D3football.com and All-MIAC First Team honors. As a team, the Johnnies, during the tenure of Bartch, reached the NCAA Division Three Playoffs all four years (2016-19) and winning the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference twice (2018 and 2019).
Bartch is 6’6’’, 309-pounds, who is from Dayton, Oregon. Bartch graduated from St. John’s studying Psychology.