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The Waege Way: Former Bison goes from farm to NFL hopeful

Former NDSU defensive end, Spencer Waege, spends the week leading up to the NFL draft back on his family's farm.

Spencer Waege
Former NDSU defensive end, Spencer Waege, gives a cow a hug while working on his family's farm
WDAY Sports

WATERTOWN, S.D. — Roughly 135 miles down I-29, you'll find a small town made up of 191 people in South Dakota called South Shore.

One of those people is former NDSU defensive end, Spencer Waege, and one of those places is his family's farm where he grew up.

At just two months old, Spencer's dad, Lynn, started bringing him around the cows.

"All these guys would be down here, just little farts you know," Lynn said. "I had sidewalk chalk. I'd sit in here, and they'd draw are out there. Spencer, always was goofing around and not taking stuff seriously. He's a putz," his dad added.

Spencer realized at a young age that his dream was bigger than the family farm.


"It's actually funny because I remember we'd play games in the front yard here," Spencer said. "It was my dad, me, my older brother Walker and Hunter when he was old enough, we'd have games go on. Times like that, you know, you thought you were gonna play in the NFL. That was a dream."

The original dream for Spencer was to be a kicker in the NFL.

"I can't tell you how many times and how many hours I spent out there kicking footballs through that goalpost," Spencer said. "I hit my growth spurt, got a little bigger and realized I'm probably not going to be a kicker anymore."

Fast forward four years later, Spencer's football career started to take off at NDSU. Now he's getting his shot at making it to the NFL as a defensive end.

"I've never played on a football team in my life," said Spencer's dad. "So no, I didn't think he'd ever. I never thought I'd have a kid that even had a shot at the NFL."

Spencer's blue collar roots helped shape him into the player he is today.

"I'd always tell all the boys go catch that calf and they're like, well, I can't catch him," Lynn said, . "I was like, I don't want to hear 'I can't catch,' you're gonna catch him."

"We always made jokes that was one of the best agility workouts for us," said the former Bison. "I would try to grab its back leg and it would slip through your hand, and you didn't even want to look at dad.


"He would say, 'Oh, there goes ball carrier, that's a touchdown,'" the defensive end added. "You didn't want to feel like it really was that similar to football, but in reality, he kind of had a point."

With the NFL Draft set to take place this week, Spencer is hoping to receive a life changing call. No matter what happens, this country boy will always find his way back to the farm.

"We're all going to take over, my football career is kind of coming first," Spencer said, "Hopefully if all goes well, you know, I really won't have to do much when I come back."

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