Former Granger playing in China
Published 9:28 am Monday, June 11, 2018
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
His football journey has taken him from LaGrange, to Kansas, and to Illinois.
Now, LaGrange High graduate Joe Sanders is getting ready to play the game in China as a member of the United States team.
The U.S., along with teams from across the globe, will compete in the World University Games this week in China, with the winning players returning home with gold medals.
The tournament gets under way on Thursday and goes through June 24.
Among the participating teams is Mexico, which beat the United States 35-7 in the championship game in 2016.
The United States finished the 2016 tournament with a 3-1 record.
Sanders, a defensive lineman, will try to lead the United States to a gold medal this time around.
Sanders, following his senior season in 2012 where he helped lead LaGrange to the second round of the state playoffs, began his collegiate career at Highland Community College in Kansas.
Sanders enjoyed two big seasons at Highland, including his sophomore year when he had 72 tackles, including nine for loss, and he was an honorable-mention selection on the National Junior College Athletic Association All-American team.
After his time at Highland, Sanders transferred to Northern Illinois.
Sanders played in 11 games in 2016 and had 16 tackles, and he played in all 13 games last season as a senior and accumulated 20 tackles with a sack.
Northern Illinois went 5-7 in 2016, but it rebounded and posted an 8-5 record last season and appeared in the Quick Lane Bowl.