October 24, 2008
Minor twins are major force for Denison
By JOSH HACHAT
GRANVILLE -- Denison football coach Nick Fletcher remembers walking to his car long after practice had ended one day last week.
The equipment had been put away, and the coaches had finished their post-practice meeting.
But two players were just leaving the field -- well after everyone else had left.
He also wasn't surprised the pair was senior twin brothers Jim and Will Minor.
"They're always the last guys off the field. They just seem to have an endless amount of energy and enthusiasm," Fletcher said. "I don't think I've ever seen them not smile or not be positive. I don't know how they do it. They're just unbelievable."
Fletcher went with unbelievable, but he easily could have used everything from tireless to versatile to inspiring.
Jim Minor is a four-year starter at linebacker, while Will moved to the offensive line after three years at tight end.
Both are a major reason Denison has won two straight games -- including last week's 13-10 win against Allegheny, the first against the school in 22 years -- heading into Saturday's game against Chicago.
The Big Red (3-3) haven't won three straight games since the first three of 1990, a span of 183 games.
But to call both Minors simply football standouts would be a massive slight.
Will is the student body president and involved with the investment club, and Jim is a standout lacrosse player, a member of the investment club and involved with several other school organizations.
Last summer, he finished an internship at Tudor Investment Group in Connecticut, a hedge fund corporation that manages just less than $20 billion in hedge funds.
"I would like to think I've learned a lesson or two in time management," Jim Minor said. "At Denison, there's so many opportunities to take advantage of things. I've tried to do that, and I feel fortunate and lucky."
Their family has a history at Denison as well. Their brother, Ben, graduated in 2003, and then served two tours of duty in Iraq.
Their uncle was also a 30-year career officer in the military, and Jim Minor said he and his brother learned valuable lessons on discipline.
They have taken those lessons to football, where their competitiveness is obvious -- even against each other.
"We get some good battles going in practice," Jim Minor said. "Nothing gets your competitive juices going like going against your twin. It hurts a little more if he has a great play against me."
Fletcher said the brother-to-brother duels often are the highlight of practice.
"They just get after it," Fletcher said. "Everything they do is competition."
But Jim Minor maintains they share a special relationship, one that's carried over to the benefit of the Big Red.
Will Minor won't play this week because of injury, but Fletcher marveled at his smooth transition to the offensive line from tight end.
"He's changed the entire character of the offensive line," Fletcher said. "He loves the competition. I've never coached anybody as tenacious as him."
Jim Minor's speed and athleticism makes him strong against the pass and run, and his 30 tackles this season is fourth-best on an improved defense.
Jim Minor, an all-league selection last year in lacrosse, was impressed with the defense's ability to hold strong after the Big Red took a late fourth-quarter lead against Allegheny last week.
"It's nice going out there and having three-and-outs on a respectable team," he said. "We've got confidence that we're going to get the job done. That's a great feeling."
Those feelings continue to grow in the midst of Denison's winning streak, which comes on the heels of playing well in losses to national powers Wooster and Wabash.
"We're real positive about this year," Jim Minor said. "We've got a really strong senior class and really talented underclassmen. It's been getting better. I love the fact we're turning it around. There's a lot of potential, not only for this year but the future."
Denison has trailed in every game this year, but Fletcher called it a resilient group, and much of it starts with Jim and Will Minor.
"You couldn't ask for better role models," Fletcher said. "They know how to accept responsibility, manage their time and take care of their business. They're very unique individuals, and they're just great kids."