ROCHELLE — Grant Gensler earned his starting role on the Rochelle Hub varsity football team during his sophomore season, when his older brother Garrett Gensler stampeded for over 1,700 yards and 29 touchdowns en route to earning IHSFCA All-State honors for the second time.
With Garrett now suiting up for the Northern Illinois University football team, Grant has stepped into his brother’s role on offense, taking over as Rochelle’s starting tailback and rushing for over 1,000 yards while scoring 12 touchdowns on the ground this fall. Now a junior, Grant has also brought home All-State recognition from the IHSFCA, receiving a Class 5A Honorable Mention for his efforts this season. Gensler finished the 2023 season with 1,409 all-purpose yards.
“Garrett has helped me a lot and he pushes me everyday to try and make me the best I can be,” Grant said. “He’s a good role model for me to look up to. It feels good to be honored because I worked really hard and I think that hard work over the summer and throughout the season really paid off this season. I thought I grew the most as an offensive player this year. I didn’t play much on offense last year, but I stepped into a starting role this year and I made a big difference.”
In addition to eclipsing 1,000 rushing yards on offense, Gensler returned as Rochelle’s starting free safety, finishing second on the team with 39 tackles while adding an interception. Gensler also played significant reps on special teams as a starting kick returner and punt returner. The junior did enough to earn All-Conference honors from the I-8/KRC for the second year in a row.
“I thought that we had a great season as a team,” Gensler said. “We were always competing at practice and working hard to push each other. The regular season ended really well and we worked hard for the conference championship this season. I want us to build off of this season. I want to get bigger, faster and stronger so I can help the team out even more next season.”
Gensler emerged onto the scene during Rochelle’s 48-0 shutout win over Johnsburg in Week 3, when the junior tailback exploded for a season-high 204 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries to lead the offense. Gensler turned in another stellar outing during Rochelle’s 47-0 win against Marengo, when he rushed for 152 yards and three touchdowns on just six carries. Gensler’s lone interception came during Rochelle’s 40-0 win over Woodstock in Week 1.