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  When the coronavirus pandemic closed public gyms, canceled pro days and limited resources for every player in this week's NFL draft, Ben Bartch's college house in St. Joseph, Minn. - and the charms associated - became his base for proving he is worthy of being the first Division III player drafted in five years. The state of the basement, where the former St. John's tackle and his college teammates collected bands, kettlebells, barbells and other free weights, should answer whether he loves football enough for an NFL team. "It's a little rough," Bartch said last week. "You're deadlifting on concrete. There's broken glass in the corner. There's dust everywhere and you are coughing. Sometimes you take it all out to the parking lot by the house and just work out in the parking lot. Cars, like, honk at you."

To say he's resourceful undersells Bartch, a 6-6, 309-pounder who weighed about 75 pounds less just a couple of years ago when he moved from tight end. His two-year ascension since captured the attention of NFL scouts. It started nearly every morning with a concoction that makes his college basement sound like a breath of fresh air. To add weight, Bartch loaded a blender - five days per week - with seven scrambled eggs, "a big tub" of cottage cheese, quick grits, peanut butter, a banana and Gatorade. "Throw it all in and plug my nose," Bartch said. "I'd gag sometimes, but that's what you have to do." - Minneapolis Star Tribune


(DS#9 OT) Sr/2020 OT Ben BartchSaint Johns (MN)
News Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune


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