SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (USF) – Senior defensive end Joey Wehrkamp of the University of Sioux Falls has been selected to the first-team defense on the 2021 Associated Press NCAA DII All-American Team, which was announced Wednesday, Dec. 16.
The selection of Wehrkamp, who led USF to an 8-3 record and an NSIC South Division title, gives USF 121 All-Americans in school history, including student-athletes selected to six Associated Press teams in past seven years. In 2018, Gabriel Watson and Trey Pipkins, now with the Los Angeles Chargers, were named First Team AP All-Americans on offense. Dennis Gardeck, who is a member of the Arizona Cardinals, was named to the first team defense in 2017. USF Offensive guard Antonio Green was named second team in 2016 while Solomon St. Pierre was a first-team selection in both 2014 and 2015.
“Joey Wehrkamp is an exceptional leader who has been committed to helping this program win since he arrived. And, winning means, both on and off the field,” said USF fifth-year Head Coach Jon Anderson. “Joey is one of the top defensive linemen in the NSIC, in Super Region IV and across the nation, who ranks high in sacks and TFLs. However more than that, he has always been selfless and a team-first player. He never accepts credit for play – he just applauds his teammates – always. But on the field, he was a leader and one of our captains. He is a truly inspiring young man, who has a big future ahead of him. Congratulations to him for being recognized nationally,” said Anderson.
Wehrkamp, who earned his first All-American honor, was a finalist for the Gene Upshaw Award for the lineman of the year in DII. The first-team All-NSIC honoree was also named to the D2CCA Super Region 4 First Team Defense. In the Upshaw Award, he was one of eight finalists for the Upshaw honor after two candidates advanced from each of the four super regions in NCAA Division II. Wehrkamp was the third member of the USF program to be named an Upshaw finalist in five seasons (Antonio Green, OL, 2016, Trey Pipkins, 2018, now of the Los Angeles Chargers) but USF’s first defensive lineman voted in. He was one of three defensive linemen along with five offensive linemen nationally to be named a finalist.
USF Defensive Line Coach/Recruiting Coordinator Luke Olson was also pleased that Wehrkamp was honored for his work ethic and dedication to the program and his teammates.
“Joey was a pleasure to coach and it is great that he was recognized as an All-American. His work ethic on the practice field and dedication to studying film allowed him to have a huge impact in every game for us this fall,” said Olson. “As part of our game plan each week we moved him around and challenged him to win his 1-on-1 matchup against the best offensive tackle on the opposing team. He was able to produce at a high level as his statistics speak for themselves. We will miss Joey’s production and leadership as he set a great standard for our returning players to live up to,” he said.
In 2021, Wehrkamp led USF to a 27th consecutive winning season, a mark that ranks fourth across all divisions.
The Sioux Falls (Washington HS) native ranked second in the NSIC in sacks with 9.5 (44th, DII) and sixth in tackles for loss with 16. He had 28 solo tackles and 37 total stops along with five pass breakups, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in leading USF. Wehrkamp was part of a USF defense that ranked fourth in the NSIC and 38th nationally by allowing 114.8 rushing yards per game, first in scoring defense in the NSIC and 38th nationally at 20.3 and fifth in total defense at 366.5 yards per game.
During his career, the two-time Academic All-NSIC honoree has accumulated 17.5 sacks – ninth all-time at USF – and 34 TFLs – 10th all-time at USF. In making 46 straight starts, Wehrkamp accumulated 132 tackles with 83 solo stops, nine pass breakups, four fumble recoveries, and three forced fumbles. USF compiled a 32-14 record during his tenure with two playoff berths.
Enrolled in the Master of Business Administration program, he has been involved in service including serving at the Banquet, volunteering at youth Football camps and coaching youth Basketball.