Max Basler may not have seen much playing time over his first two years with the Aurora University football team, but injuries to some of his teammates before the beginning of his junior year presented an opportunity for Basler to make an impact on defense for the Spartans.
It’s safe to say the former Rochelle Township High School football player made the most of his chance.
Basler appeared in eight games for Aurora University this past season, totaling 19 tackles including 6.5 tackles for loss. The 5-foot-10-inch, 245-pound defensive lineman added three sacks and one forced fumble to his stat sheet, and his efforts earned Honorable Mention recognition from the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference at the defensive end position.
“It was a really good year,” Basler said. “We had some unfortunate injuries during camp but I was able to step up and show what I can do… I was able to showcase my talents and I had a great time doing so. I was really happy about leading the team in sacks and tackles for loss.”
Basler is currently preparing for his senior season with the Spartans, and as he works toward the start of his final season, he’s working to improve his play in the running game while remaining sharp as an edge rusher. The former Hub said his pass rushing abilities improved the most from his underclassman years to his first season as an upperclassman.
He said he’s hoping to become a more complete player in order to earn a starting spot on the Aurora University defensive line this coming season.
“I didn’t have much skill early on as a pass rusher,” Basler said. “I knew I wanted to be really good so I had to develop those skills somehow. That’s happened and it’s one of the best things that’s happened for my game. Learning the distance between myself and the offensive tackle was huge because when I’m closing in and he shoots his hands, if I’m not trying to swipe at his hands early enough, it’s going to be a failed attempt.”
Basler is currently studying criminal justice at Aurora University in hopes of pursuing a career as a correctional officer. He has also taken up an interest in personal training, and he said his goal is to earn a certification in personal training to further pursue his hobby. A four-year football player at RTHS who spent three seasons with the varsity team, Basler said the techniques he learned with the Hubs have helped him transition to the college level.
“Rochelle football helped me learn how to read the run game and keep my eyes in the backfield,” Basler said. “Without Rochelle I don’t know if I could play college football. I thought all I had to do as a defensive lineman was shoot the gap, but at Rochelle I learned how to read and react on each play.”