Momma Knows Best: Missouri Valley's Richard Wick's Journey

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COLUMBIA - Victory Sports Network ranked Missouri Valley Defensive End Richard Wick as one of the NAIA's preseason "Super Six" and also the best NAIA Defensive Lineman in the country. 

Wick chose Missouri Valley  because his uncle, Carl Danielson, played at Valley in the 70's and was a member of the 1974 national runner-ups, "He had a great time playing football here. He's from here and moved to California with the rest of my family. He convinced me to come here."

Wick, who is also the team Captain, snagged 10 sacks last season, "It's the best feeling. It's just such a rush when you get one in the game you get so excited with the rest of your defensive players. It's the success of your game plan coming into one play every time."

Missouri Valley's Defensive Line Coach, Barry Rave, says Wick stands out among his peers, "He's one of the best technicians I've been around.  He's a very coachable player. He shows up on film and he's got a different strength than other kids his size."

Wick hopes his ticket to playing after college is his ability to long snap. Rave said, "The one thing that sets him apart would be his long snapping. I think it's tough to find a long snapper that can snap with the speed he does and be able to get downfield."

His family is 16 hundred miles away in California, but listens to his games online. Wick said he plays with his family on his mind, "I definitely think about them when I'm on the field. My parents have only been to one game since I've been to college because it's so far away. It's so hard for them to get out here. So, I think about it when I'm playing." 

Wick thinks a lot about his mom, Leani, who is fighting an illness, "It was my Sophomore year and I found out she had Hepatitis C. It was just going to be a struggle from here on out. She was going to have to go through rehabilitations and medicines."  Hepatitis C is a virus that attacks the liver.

Leani is working on getting the Hepatits C cured before she can get on the live transplant list. Richards said, "She's starting up another cycle, so it's 50-50 chance.  Hopefully it works. Kind of just hoping and praying it works."

The 6-2, 250 pound Wick is not afraid to say he's a momma's boy, "I always call her before games and she wishes me luck."

Coach Rave said Wick is equally impressive off the field, "It makes him a pretty special person. There's not many guys out there, kids his age, that are willing to do the work he has in the summer and put most of that money back towards his family. I think that's pretty impressive thing."

Wick said his parents plan to visit him on Saturday when Missouri Valley hosts Baker.   So far this season, Wick has 3 sacks for Valley.  They are ranked No. 7 in the NAIA.