Ellsworth Community College football standout Tirrell Rennie will be speaking at this year's Graphic Edge Bowl Banquet. The four teams featured in the bowl games will be in attendance, including our own Ellsworth Community College Panthers plus Iowa Western Community College, Georgia Military College, and Globe Institute of Technology.
The Graphic Edge Bowl Banquet will be held on Saturday, Dec. 5, on the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) campus. All of the bowl games will be played in the UNI dome.
Rennie attended Ellsworth in 2008-09 and graduated after a year and a half. During his freshman year at ECC he was ranked fourth in the nation in passing yards. He also led the NJCAA in individual total yards (2,458 total yards, averaging 346.9 per game) and scoring.
Rennie continued his success in his second year as a Panther. He was fourth in the nation in passing and led the country in total offense. He had 139 carries rushing for 1,025 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also tallied 2,863 passing yards with 27 touchdowns.
In both of the years that Rennie played for the Panthers he received All-Conference first team honors and was also named 2nd team All-American his sophomore year. With Rennie in the ECC lineup, the Panthers went to the Graphic Edge Bowl both years, defeating College of DuPage his freshman season (42-18) and Central Lakes-Brainerd his sophomore year (64-7).
When asked about his time at ECC, Rennie had this to say: "I love the fact that it was such a small community and you got to know everyone because you saw them on a daily basis. The fact that everyone knew you was something new and refreshing. I loved the Dale Howard Activity Center even though I only got to enjoy it for a semester because of my early graduation. But most of all I loved the professors like Kelly Faga and Scott Kauzlarich. And, of course, the athletic coaches from all sports. The entire environment made you feel like family, home away from home."
After graduating from Ellsworth, Rennie transferred to the University of Northern Iowa to finish is college and football career. "While at UNI it was a blast; I won't take anything away from UNI. Both the academics and athletics weren't too far off. I played with and against some highly qualified athletes at both ECC and UNI," commented Rennie. "And my professors at ECC were just as qualified as the ones at UNI. I loved both experiences."
While attending UNI, Rennie was awarded Newcomer of the Year in his first season. He also set a record as the first quarterback in UNI history to rush and pass for over a thousand yards; in that season the UNI Panthers won a conference championship. In Rennie's second year he was featured with three other players on the cover of a magazine featuring FCS football. He also set a school record for most consecutive passes without an interception and was also on the Walter Payton list, which is the equivalent to the Heisman trophy but for FCS. UNI shared the conference title with the national champs North Dakota State University that year and went 10-3 ranked #3 in the nation. The UNI Panthers made it to the quarterfinals that year.
Rennie plans to talk at the banquet about never underestimating your ability as an individual and as a member of a team. "Compete even when things seem hopeless," commented Rennie. "Enjoy the moment because one day you'll have to hang it up. Most of all, be mindful of the impression you make on not only your teammates and coaches, but also your opponents."
When asked about what a former Ellsworth player speaking at the Graphic Edge Bowl mean's to ECC, Athletic Director Nate Forsyth commented, "Having Tirrell speak to the student-athletes means a lot because they can relate to him. Tirrell has faced the same adversity as everyone in the room, and he excelled as a student-athlete at ECC and UNI. It will mean a lot to the ECC players seeing one of their own and listening to his story."
Rennie is currently working full-time at Four Oaks in Independence, IA; he also works part time at the North Iowa Juvenile Detention Center in Waterloo.
Photo Caption: Tirrell Rennie waits for the snap during the 2008 ECC Homecoming football game.