For Lincoln East senior multi-sport athlete Jett Janssen, three separate worlds during the school year all merged together this past summer.
The 6-foot-5, 250-pounder is an offensive tackle and defensive end for the Spartan football team and has scholarship offers in the sport from Northwest Missouri State, Wayne State and Nebraska-Kearney.
In the winter, Janssen is the starting center on East’s boys basketball team, the sport his family is best known for. His father, Dana, was a former All-American at Nebraska Wesleyan and his older brother, Jordan, an all-state player at East, is now a sophomore on Wayne State’s team.
Jett follows that up by playing on the Lincoln Supreme Court AAU basketball team in the spring and summer.
Janssen then moves to the baseball diamond in the spring and summer for the high school and American Legion seasons.
Between weight room workouts, football and basketball team camps, summer league basketball, a few AAU tournaments out of state sprinkled in there and a full slate of Legion baseball, “I was pretty busy this summer,” admitted Janssen. He's ultimately leaning toward a college career in football but is also getting recruiting attention in basketball and baseball.
“My mom (Cindy) kept my schedule and made sure I was where I needed to be,” he said.
Janssen, however, will have a singular focus this fall — helping the Spartans improve on last year’s 5-5 record and qualify for the playoffs for the second straight season. And he’s part of an experienced group of linemen on both sides of the ball who provide the Spartans’ foundation this season.
He’s one of six seniors with starting experience on the offensive line, joining Joey Adkisson (6-2, 235), Dylan Keller (6-2, 220), Cooper Colon (6-0, 225), Jude Garrett (6-1, 27) and Parker Volquardsen (5-9, 230).
Colon also started on the defensive line last season alongside standout sophomore GeGe Crayton (6-0, 275) and senior Trevor Jeffrey (6-0, 302).
“We have all of our starters back and depth behind them,” Janssen said. “You’ve got to show up to practice and perform everyday or you’ll lose your spot. We’ve got a lot of big strong guys who are physical and like to get after it.”
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East coach John Gingery says he’s excited to see what Janssen can do this season on both sides of the ball.
“He’s got the size, strength and mobility to be an outstanding player,” said Gingery, who is entering his 23rd season as East’s head coach. “He hasn’t strictly worked on football stuff because he’s busy playing other sports. Once he starts concentrating on football, he has unlimited potential.
“The fact a Division II power like Northwest Missouri State has offered him means some other bigger schools are going to start to take notice,” Gingery added.
Statistically, East had one of the best defenses in the state last season, and Janssen is hoping the Spartans can match it this fall. Gingery expects junior linebacker Quinton Adams (6-3, 225) to be an impact player with 4.8-second speed in the 40-yard dash, 275-pound bench press and 375 in the squat.
East brings back some experience at the skill positions offensively. Junior quarterback Austin Schneider saw action in seven games last season, but is being pushed for the starting job by sophomore Noah Walters. Schneider is the top returning rusher for East with 273 yards a year ago.
Senior Eddie Lankas leads a group of running backs all expected to see playing time as fellow senior Jack Larson and talented sophomore Billie Stephenson are currently part of the rotation. Senior Luke Spethman and junior Carter Glenn have starting experience at wide receiver.
Gingery recovering from heart procedure: The long-time veteran coach had two stents put in to open up blocked arteries to his heart two weeks ago after he experienced tightness in his chest while mowing his yard on Aug. 4.
“They cleaned me up,” said Gingery, who was out of the hospital the next day after surgery when no heart damage was found. He has not missed a practice since preseason workouts began Aug. 12.
“I’ve had to slow down a little bit and not try to over-exert myself in the heat,” he added. “My assistants have been together for like 140 years, and they’ve been able to pick up the slack for me.”
Gingery said his wife, Kelly, insisted that he go to the emergency room when the pain started. Assistant coach Ryan Fitzgerald’s wife, Lynn, works in the heart unit at Bryan East, “and she got the ball rolling” in terms of getting diagnosed and having the stents put in.
“They were my angels that day,” Gingery said. “I wanted just to lay down and see if the pain went away, but Kelly wouldn’t let me. The doctor told me if I had laid down (and not come to the hospital), I would’ve never gotten up.”