By Ryan Wooley

PONTIAC (WWJ) — Everyone dreams of doing something big at some point in their life.

Dreams of playing Division 1 football are about to come to true For Notre Dame Prep senior offensive linemen Kyle Sassack when he heads to the University of Minnesota this June.

Sassack, who has been playing both football and basketball since first grade, made the commitment to the Golden Gophers just last month — once they found their next head coach.

“I was committed to P.J. Fleck at Western Michigan,” Sassack said. “His first day at Minnesota, he called me and offered me a scholarship at Minnesota and two days later I committed to Minnesota.”

Sassack says he and his family took time to make that decision to make sure it was the right fit for him both athletically and academically as he looks to major in business. But his mom, Audra, said it was a no-brainer.

“We had to look at the coaching staff that was going that we absolutely loved and the school itself is just top-notch,” Audra said. “We said to Kyle, ‘you’ll be in great hands and be with a great coach and he’ll look out for you.’ That was our most important priority.”

Meanwhile, NDP prep football coach Pat Fox says he knew when he took over during Kyle’s sophomore year that he was going to play at the college level, because he has what every coach looks for.

“The one thing that sticks out about Kyle is when he walks through the hallways he’s got tons of friends, he interacts with kids,” Fox said. “You can be a great student, you can be a great athlete and you can be a great person — I think Kyle has done those three things.”

Kyle said even though football consumes a good portion of his time, he still gives back and has taken part with Raising Rochester, Habitat for Humanity, and Older Persons Commission of Rochester.

“I don’t want people to have the wrong idea, so every time I see someone, or like when people talk about me as a football player I try to sway it back to me as a person,” Kyle said, “because I don’t want to be remembered just as a good football player, I want to be remembered as a great person to others.”

WWJ Newsradio 950 will run a weekly Student Hero feature. If you know someone who could be labeled a student hero and would like to nominate them for consideration, email us at


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