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The Scarlet & Black

Ryan Slager breaks national tackling record

Ryan Slager poses with his teammates and coaches after breaking the NCAA Divison III individual career tackling record on Oct. 20, 2018.

On Oct. 20, at Grinnell College’s Rosenbloom field, Ryan Slager ’19 made history when he broke the NCAA Division III record for career individual tackles. Slager had made 561 tackles by the end of the game, surpassing the previous record of 545 held by Luther College’s Kyle McGivney.  

Ryan Slager ’19 (54) making the tackle that broke the NCAA Division III record for career tackles. Photo by Justin Hayworth (Grinnell College).

He made his record-breaking tackle in a game against Lake Forest College, which the team lost 24-0.  

On the field on Saturday, game play stopped to celebrate Slager’s achievement. Slager is from outside of Chicago and his family drove four hours to Grinnell to see him break the record. His family and friends flooded the field on his 545th tackle to take pictures with him and the rest of the team. 

“It’s amazing, I feel awesome … I’m just ecstatic,” said Slager the day after shattering the record.  

Following his record-breaking accomplishment, Slager plans to attend scouting camps in Florida this winter. He hopes to get scouted by a team from the National Football League (NFL), Canadian Football League (CFL) or a team that plays abroad. 

“The NFL’s the goal, we’ll see if it works out, but I’m gonna work hard to get noticed,” Slager said. 

Although the NFL may be in his future, Slager is a dedicated student at the College. He is a history major and chose Grinnell over the scores of other colleges that reached out to him during his senior year of high school because of the College’s strong academics.  

Aside from classes, Slager and the rest of the football team intend to finish their Conference season strong. The team will face off against Cornell College on Nov. 3.  

Despite holding a national record, Slager remains down to earth. He plans to do his best to help the team succeed and “keep on improving, get better every day.” 


The S&B did an exclusive interview with Slager about his achievement. Watch here and subscribe to our YouTube channel!




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