Bigger than football: UW-Oshkosh WR Trae Tetzlaff uses talents to raise money for a good cause

Bigger than football: UW-Oshkosh WR Trae Tetzlaff uses talents to raise money for a good cause
Posted at 3:33 PM, Jun 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-23 16:39:00-04

OSHKOSH — Last year junior wide receiver Trae Tetzlaff exploded onto the scene as a deep threat for the UW-Oshkosh football team and now he’s using his talents for a better cause. 

“I like to use my speed,” Tetzlaff said. “I would consider myself a deep threat. So, I like to go up and get it.”

In 10 games last year, Tetzlaff had 821 yards on 42 receptions for a whopping 19.5 yards per catch with 7 touchdowns.

“What I’m so impressed with Trae is he's got great ball skills, he’s got great speed, he’s a fluid route runner – he’s got all the tools to be really special,” said Titans head coach Peter Jennings. “What really impresses me about Trae is he continues to work on his craft.”

The stud receiver didn’t just improve on the field, but he stepped up in the locker room.

“As far as lead by example, he’s always been that guy,” Jennings said. “First in the line. Not afraid to make a mistake. Not afraid to learn from a mistake. I do love the vocal leadership role that he started to take in the wide receiver room as he’s gotten older to try and lead some of the young guns.”

But none of this could have ever happened, if he was never put up for adoption. His biological mom gave birth to him at 15 in El Paso Texas. He was adopted by Jason and Brenda Tetzlaff who live here in Wisconsin.

“Coming to Waukesha and obviously growing up in a different environment, I’m just so blessed,” the wide receiver said. “I’ve been given so much, my family members, even through football and stuff just having the opportunity to play college football and stuff is something I never thought I could do. Just growing up and understanding that I could be somewhere else. My life could be completely different. Just makes me feel great.”

And with his success, Tetzlaff decided to make his own football shirts with Trizzy apparel to give to friends and family. 

“He showed up to a game in this just gaudy loud shirt and I’m like, “what in the world is that kid?” And he started to explain it and I’m like you know what, that's awesome, that’s special,” Jennings said. “I think three-quarters of our coaching staff has a shirt. That’s awesome. It shows a lot about his true character to take the next step, take that next lead and try and help a group out.”

Tetzlaff decided that he wanted to do more than just sell shirts for those who wanted to support him. He wanted to donate some of money for a good cause.

“I always wanted to give back, we decided for me personally finding an adoption agency and then (have it) in my hometown so it would mean something to me, it’s where I grew up.”

Tetzlaff saw the benefits he received from adoption, so he wanted to give back. Deciding to give a certain amount of his proceeds to Bethany Christian Services, an adoption agency.

“I’m a broke college student ya know, but I think hopefully it will go to something bigger and better,” he said. “Personally, my mom giving birth at 15 like I can’t even imagine that decision that you have to make to put your child up for adoption, I mean that's tough. I just want to make it easier for people across the country, people in Waukesha to make that decision. That’s really what it came down to for me. Right away I knew what I wanted to do with the money.”

And that’s just who Tetzlaff is, a selfless teammate and selfless person.

“I can tell you that the way he’s handled it and the way he’s grown up and his parents and how they’ve raised him and the caliber of person he is, I just think it shows so well and it’s truly a testament to his character to pay it forward,” said Jennings.