Jalen Rima (‘16) announced Saturday via Twitter that he will continue his football career at the University of Northern Iowa.
Rima started rising to stardom last spring, when he won the 400m dash and the 200m dash at the class 4A state track meet. He led off and played center for the Prairie baseball team through the summer, and with the arrival of new football coach Mark Bliss, the plan for the season was always to utilize his speed and athleticism.
Bliss uses old school single wing smash mouth football, but he knew getting Rima in open space was going to be the key to success. In order to do this, he implemented end arounds and reverses that allowed him to simply elude opponents with his speed.
As Bliss told the Gazette, “We try to be as creative as possible to put him in position to get the ball.” It seemed Jalen scored whenever he was on the field, whether it was kick and punt returns, running the ball, or receiving.
Rima, the son of both Prairie and Kirkwood baseball coach Todd Rima, had 15 touchdowns for the Hawks this season. He contributed to a 4-5 regular season finish, good enough to get the Hawks to the playoffs, where they lost in the first round to Iowa City West.
He will continue to play basketball in the winter as a small forward, making him a 4 sport athlete in high school. He will have the option to run track for the Panthers in college as well as play football.
Rima announced his commitment the same weekend as Washington receiver/defensive back Isaiah Nimmers, who will join Rima at UNI. The two stars are a perfect representation of the talent beginning to saturate the metro area, including runner-up state champs Cedar Rapids Kennedy. The Cedar Rapids schools all hope to not only compete with, but to beat the Des Moines powerhouses like Dowling Catholic, and West Valley.
Rima’s teammates are excited to cheer on Rima at the next level, along with everybody in the College Community School District. He will officially sign with UNI on the national college signing day, February 3rd. As he said in his Tweet on Saturday, “Proud to say I’m officially a UNI Panther!”