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After two years of leading the Grant County football team’s offense as the starting quarterback, Joe Soden will lead the New Mexico Military Institute’s defense as a free safety.
Soden signed to play for the Broncos on July 30.
“I didn’t think I’d get the opportunity, but I’m excited and look forward to taking advantage of the opportunity,” Soden said. “I couldn’t have done this without coach (Mike) Davis. He got my name out and it helped out a lot.”
Soden, while starting at quarterback, also roamed the field as a safety and was a four-year starter for the Braves. As he transitions to a full-time defensive role, he believes his experience under center will help.
“It helps out greatly because I know where quarterbacks are throwing the ball and where their reads are going to be,” Soden said. “My knowledge of the game helps. I’m not huge, muscle-wise, but I know the game and I know how to hit when I need to. My athleticism has carried me and it’s what’s going to carry me.”
Soden believes he needs to add strength and will work in the weight room once he gets to school. Soden left for school on Aug. 1, starting a 21-day boot camp to start his collegiate experience.
New Mexico Military Institute is a two-year junior college and Soden hopes to continue his education and football career at a four-year university once his time is done with the Broncos.
“I’m looking forward to meeting new people and a whole new level of play,” he said. “I plan to continue my major in criminal justice and hope to get another scholarship to play football.”
Davis has seen Soden develop during his time with the Braves’ program.
“Joe is one of the best athletes I’ve ever coached,” Davis said. “He developed as a quarterback from his junior to his senior year and helped lead this team to back-to-back winning seasons. He brought a lot to the table. He hits just as hard as our linebackers. He hits you with everything he’s got. He’s a special individual.”
Davis believes Soden’s experience as both an offensive and defensive player will help him as he continues on to college.
“All of the players that have signed this year have a tremendous knowledge of the game,” Davis said. “Being a quarterback, he learned a little more about the facets of the defense and now as a defensive player, he’ll know more about what a quarterback will try to do and it will help his anticipation and ability to make plays. His greatest strength is his confidence and he’s not afraid to compete to be the best he can be.”
NMMI head coach Jeff Lynn is ready for Soden to come in and make an impact.
“I think Joe has a great opportunity to make a big impact right away,” Lynn said. “We return one safety and we brought in three, including Joe. If he comes in and competes for a starting job and playing time, he can have a big impact.”
Soden caught the Broncos’ attention with his physicality, the fact he wasn’t afraid to hit, he was always in the right spot and he was a great tackler, said Lynn.
“It’s up to Joe now,” Lynn said. “He has an opportunity with us and I think the future is bright. He’s hungry to play.”
Soden is the son of Doug and Lyndi Soden of Dry Ridge.