On Saturday the Atlanta Falcons reportedly signed 20 rookie undrafted free agents. One of the names that jumps out on the list is Jack Batho IV, a 6-foot-8 offensive tackle who played his college football for the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology Hardrockers. While the Falcons have not yet officially announced the news, the South Dakota School of Mines confirms the signing, which qualifies as big news at the Division II school, as it doesn’t normally produce NFL prospects.
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Jack Batho Attracted 2 NFL Scouts to His Pro Day
Yet Batho has been on the radar of NFL scouts for a while. In fact, the two-time team captain had scouts from both the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions at his Pro Day in late March.
He went on to say that his Pro Day was a “humbling experience,” and that it was “an honor to bring that opportunity to our school, having the ability to bring some scouts in and hopefully be that first stepping stone to get some more guys chances in the future. If nothing else happens from [it], I can hang my hat on that I brought some scouts to South Dakota School of Mines.”
Already, something more has come of it, and now he’ll have the opportunity to compete for a roster spot—or at least a spot on the practice squad—with the Falcons. He’s already had a taste of a higher level of competition, as he was invited to participate in the 2021 Hula Bowl in Honolulu this past January.
“It was a good experience against tougher competition, and hopefully I put some good things on film when I was out there,” he told the Rapid City Journal.
An Academic and Athletic Success Story
To be sure, Batho has excelled—both athletically and academically—at the School of Mines. In 2017-18 he was named The South Dakota Mines Athlete of the Year for both football and track, and in 2018 he helped Hardrockers running back Conner Silveria break the D2 all-time single-game rushing record with 425 yards on 46 carries against Adams State University, a fellow member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
“My best quality is my football IQ,” he said in a recent interview with Draft Diamonds. “I’m able to understand different schemes, recognize multiple defensive fronts and use several techniques depending on the situation.”
Batho is also pretty ambitious academically, telling Draft Diamonds that he might end up graduating with three degrees, including a degree in Biomedical Engineering, and that he hopes to get into designing and developing prosthetics.
And if a professional football career doesn’t unfold as he’d like, he’s already well on his way to good engineering job, thanks to past internships.
“I spent time with the Kiewit Corporation as a Field Operations Engineer [at a liquified natural gas plant] down in Houston,” he told Draft Diamonds. “My other internship was local—for a natural gas company called Montana Dakota Utilities [where] I was a Corrosion Protection Engineer.”
But first he hopes to make his mark in the NFL, hoping that the coaching and lessons he learned at the South Dakota School of Mines will serve him well.
That includes the importance of an offensive line moving as one unit. Notably, he indicates that the Hardrockers offensive line lived by a motto, one that seems apropos for a School of Mines football team. “Everyone act as a nickel rather than five shiny pennies,” he revealed, during an interview prior to the 2019 season.
Having lived (or at least played football) by those words, he hopes he’s left his mark at the school.
“I hope to leave a lasting legacy and be known as someone who came in changed the way our program does certain things,” he said, not to mention one who brought more attention to Hardrockers football.
If he earns a roster spot with the Atlanta Falcons, he’ll do just that.
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