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Grover Potts



Chosen as the outstanding football player in South Dakota for the 1900s by the Argus Leader during the state’s centennial in 1989, Potts grew up near Hooker, S.D., in Turner County.

He was a center on offense and tackle on defense from 1912-14 at the University of South Dakota, where he also lettered in basketball, track and baseball.

Potts was notable for his helmetless and unrelenting style. “Although Grover was not large, he was extremely stocky and combined a football temperament with a total indifference to injury along with a football intelligence that simply was not surpassed in these United States during the years that he played center,” 1912 team manager Carl Norgren said at the team's silver jubilee in 1937. “I can see him yet, scorning shoulder guards and headgear, a shock of hair sticking out in all directions, mud-plastered and ferocious, simply licking the tar out of his opponent by his demeanor before he even touched him.”

In 1912, USD defeated South Dakota State 73-7, North Dakota 44-0, Creighton 68-0, Nebraska Wesleyan 39-0 and Minnesota 10-0 and narrowly lost to Michigan 7-6. After the Michigan game, Chicago newspapermen said that if Potts were playing in the Big Ten Conference, it would be impossible to keep him out of the All-America center position.

The 1914 Coyotes lost to Notre Dame 33-0 but, according to a USD annual of that season, “Potts was the real star of the game for South Dakota and at the close of the contest, to express their acknowledgement of his ability, he was cheered by the Notre Dame eleven.’’

After leaving USD, he homesteaded near Mobridge before moving to a farm near LaMoure, N.D., in 1932. He was a standout catcher in amateur baseball at Mobridge and LaMoure. He remained an active player until he was over 50 years old.

 

(In 1912 USD football team photo, Potts is top right)










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