Once rivals, UNI's Brinkman and Butcher develop special friendship

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (KCRG) - It doesn't matter if it's on or off the football field, Northern Iowa defensive linemen Jared Brinkman and Tim Butcher are always finding ways to push each other.

"It was my freshman year he was getting recruited," said Brinkman. "So we met then and just over time started working together."

"Just that accountability and having the other person is just fun to have and the relationship that we're building," said Butcher.

Before becoming teammates at UNI, they were once rivals back in high school. In 2016, they competed against each other in the state wrestling tournament for the Class 1A title at 285 pounds.

Brinkman was a junior at Iowa City Regina and Butcher was a senior at Manson Northwest Webster.

With less than a minute to go in the third period, the match was tied 1-1, but Brinkman was awarded a point after Butcher was called for stalling. Brinkman went to win with a 2-1 decision for his first state title.

"It was exhausting," said Butcher. "Really couldn't move each other and just going at it all six minutes."

"It was a fun time and I'm glad I came out on top," Brinkman said with a laugh.

After competing against each other, they're now helping each other grow as football players. Their wrestling match isn't brought up very often, but their UNI teammates want to see a rematch.

"We're out of shape for wrestling," Butcher said smiling. "Too much work for that."

Brinkman and Butcher look to help Northern Iowa win its first round FCS playoff game versus San Diego on Saturday at the UNI Dome.