St. John's lineman Ben Bartch chases dream as he looks to make jump from Division III to NFL

Not playing Division I did not deter Ben Bartch from chasing a future in football.

In order to grow into that role, he had to move from his hometown in Oregon to an area where his dad grew up, with Ben deciding to play for Saint John’s.

“I’ve been coming back to Minnesota, we’ve had a cabin the Boundary Waters since I was a boy,” Bartch told FOX 9 of his connection to the state. 

“If I wasn’t going to get a Division I offer, I was going to go to a different school and make the most of it.”

Bartch made the most of his two years of playing left tackle for the Johnnies. Now professional teams will be jostling for a chance to take him in the NFL Draft.

“It’s been a lot of fun for one thing,” Bartch says of the draft process. 

“[The NFL Dream] didn’t become real in my freshman or sophomore year,” Bartch said. “It kind of progressed later on as I switched to offensive line. Like, this is something I could have a career after college with.”

Bartch began playing on the line only two years ago making the switch from tight end. A transition, but one that’s been done before, similar to the story of Vikings tackle Brian O’Neill.

“Brian is a very athletic guy, I’ve gotten to know to him because we have the same agency,” Bartch said. 

“It certainly helps [having played tight end], as far as being quick and mobile and being able to flex and things like that.”

His skills are one thing, but it has not been hard for Ben to block pre-draft noise either. 

“I don’t have social media,” Ben jokes.

Projections online are not part of his path to being on a line the pros, even though most view Bartch as a mid-round selection. Bartch only wants to show, once again, that he belongs.

“Yeah, I could get drafted!” Ben said when asked about where he thinks he could be selected. “That’s kind of where I’m at right now.”