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Coach Knows 'What Football is All About'

Two-way starter walked on at Illinois and ended up starting for a Rose Bowl team.

Former Deerfield quarterback John Lindquist went on to play full back at Michigan State in the 1960s.

His son, Davy, took note. There is a big photo of Davy's dad in a football uniform in his boyhood home.

"My mom told me about him," Davy Lindquist said about John. "It's a point of pride. And that's I all ever wanted to be."

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But then the word came from the family. No, Davy Lindquist wasn't to play football when he was young. His family thought he might get hurt (or, perhaps, that, because of his size and skill, he might seriously hurt others).

Growing up, Lindquist got ready for football by playing soccer, baseball and basketball. He even took up lacrosse and hockey at , where he graduated from in 2004.

"I liked lacrosse for the fitness level," Lindquist said. "I was able to run forever."

Once high school opened for this big kid, his parents were behind his every move.

"I played middle linebacker as a freshman," he said. "I loved it. I was able to freelance."

'Knock you down, run you down'

By the time Lindquist was gearing up to graduate, plenty of fallen football players knew the name of the huge blocker and defensive lineman for Highland Park.

Kurt Weinberg coaches football at Lyons Township. In 2004, he was the head coach at Highland Park.

"Davy was a dominant football player," Weinberg said. "His size was impressive but so was his speed. I have rarely had a player with such a potent combination of both. He could knock you down and run you down."

Lindquist has returned home to Highland Park to coach both the offensive and defensive lines for the Highland Park freshman team.

"I really enjoy that," Lindquist said. "I love coaching."

He's been reunited with Highland Park assistant coach Mike Harrision. This coach was around when Lindquist was making life miserable for opponents.

"When he was here he was a beast on the offensive line and defensive lines," Harrison said. "When he would trap block, the poor defensive end would not see him coming and you almost felt sorry for him when Davy knocked him to the ground. On defense, he would pursue with reckless abandon and always play to the whistle. He was big, strong, fast and relentless."

Filling out, getting attention

He earned a promotion to the varsity during his sophomore season. At the time, he was beginning to fill out. He was listed at 6-foot-1, 220 pounds. Highland Park made it to the playoffs falling to a Buffalo Grove team quarterbacked by Tom Zbikowski (Baltimore Ravens).

Lindquist was disappointed with his junior season. His Giants had a losing record.

"We underperformed," he said. "We had pretty good talent but we didn't make it to the playoffs. I had a decent year but playing linebacker was not really my position."

Still, colleges were getting the word that this imposing player was worth investigating. He was now 6'3'', 250. Northern Illinois and Illinois took a look.

"There were still guys bigger than me," he said. "I think we finished second in conference and we made the playoffs. I have really good memories of that playoff game with Lake Zurich."

Despite being named honorable mention all-state, Lindquist did not get his college scholarship.

So he decided to walk on at the University of Illinois. There are plenty of stories of players who walk on and never make the team. 

This is not one of them.

"I was a little disappointed not to get a scholarship,'' he said. "But I decided to focus and stay motivated. Illinois was a huge grind. But I was determined to do everything to get the coaches to notice me."

'What football is all about'

Lindquist would get his scholarship. He would lead the Big 10 in fumble recoveries in 2006. He would start in the Rose Bowl. University of Illinois football coach Ron Zook applauded the work Lindquist put in for his teams.

"David Lindquist is what football is all about," Zook said. "He came to the University as a walk-on and earned a scholarship and a starting spot on our defensive front. He became one of our top defensive players. He had great work ethic, great competitiveness and he was a great person.”

In 2009, the former Highland Parker earned a tryout with the Buffalo Bills NFL team.

"I was signed as a free agent," Lindquist said. "But my shoulder wasn't up for it. It was hurting badly."

At this time, he weighed in at 293 pounds, so it was probably a good thing for other NFL players that they never had to get hit by Lindquist.

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