Lawrence University star quarterback Luke Barthelmess figured he had closed the book on his football career.
As it turns out, he has another chapter to write.
Barthelmess has signed to play professionally with the Stuttgart Scorpions of the German Football League. He will join the team for training camp in late March with the season opening in May.
“I’m looking foward to every possible facet of this thing,” Barthelmess said. “Playing more football, playing professional football and living in Europe.”
Barthelmess finished his Lawrence career by earning a spot on the All-Midwest Conference team. During the 2013 season, Barthelmess completed 193 of 346 passes for 2,133 yards and 14 touchdowns. He finished second in the league at 213.3 passing yards per game. Barthelmess also ran 177 times for 889 yards and two touchdowns.
Barthelmess, who averaged 5.0 yards per carry, finished eighth in the conference at 88.9 yards per game. He also finished first in the league in total offense at 302.2 yards per game.
The opportunity to play overseas presented itself after Barthelmess played in the Bowl of the Stars, a Division III all-star game in Mexico in December. The offensive coordinator for Team Stars and Stripes was Joe Austin, the head coach at Southwestern University. Austin’s quarterbacks coach is former Lawrence assistant Byron Abram so Austin knew about Barthelmess before coaching him in Mexico.
Austin broached the idea of playing overseas to Barthelmess.
“I thought about it a little bit and figures why not try it and see where it goes,” Barthelmess said.
Barthelmess had just led Team Stars and Stripes to a 29-7 victory over the CONADEIP All-Stars in Monterrey. Barthelmess led Team Stars and Stripes on three scoring drives in the first half. He completed 11-of-16 passes for 103 yards and ran seven times for 49 yards and a touchdowns.
The Stuttgart starting quarterback, Tom Schneider, had a serious knee injury last season and will move to the role of offensive coordinator in 2014. Barthelmess talked with Schneider about the opportunity to play in 2014.
“At that point, I still wasn’t sure I wanted to do it because I’ve worked my butt off to get a math and economics degree,” Barthelmess said. “But I thought, 10 years down the road, am I going to regret not playing football in Europe. Two days later, I was back saying I was their guy.”
Barthelmess, who plans to return to Lawrence next year to finish his degree, brings an impressive list of personal achievements to Stuttgart. He ended his Lawrence career as the most prolific passer in school history and holds nearly every passing record.
Barthelmess completed 648 of 1,181 passes in his career and finished fourth in conference history with 8,190 passing yards. Barthelmess’ 62 touchdown passes ranks seventh in league history. Barthelmess wound up ninth in Lawrence history with 1,819 rushing yards.
“The main motivational thing was which decision was I going to regret, saying no to it or going for it,” said Barthelmess, who has never been to Europe.
With a roster that consists of players from NCAA Division down to Division III, Barthelmess said he is looking forward to the challenge.
“I’m going to get to be a great group of athletes, playing a sport I love, in a place I’ve never been before,” Barthelmess said. “There’s isn’t anything about this that doesn’t excite me.”
Senior Brielle Bartes broke the school record in the weight throw at last Saturday’s dual meet at UW-Oshkosh. Bartes’ record throw of 38 feet, 10.5 inches, came minutes after teammate Genna Matt had broken her own record with a toss of 38-4.