Technically, there are a lot of reasons why I am here. It all started back in the school year of 2011 – 2012. I was a senior in high school and really dreading being there but I had made the decision when I was a freshman that I wanted to make a career out of playing football. I worked hard all throughout high school taking college advanced classes that I didn’t want to take just so I could make it look good on a transcript for when colleges would look at my records. My freshman year of high school was the first time our school had ever had a football program in school history.
But there were numerous kids on the team who had played ball at a younger age and knew what the game was about and we had grew up together when we were little ones and throwing the ball in the backyard and knew what it took to win. Under Indiana High School Athletic Association rules when you create a football program you have to compete at the JV level for 2 years. So my freshman year we played 12 games total and we won every single one of them. We were great, everyone in the school was asking why we hadn’t have had a program before because we were so successful.
Our talent raised eyebrows and made people think. While the season came to a close we were all very appreciative that the school give us a chance to play. Fast forwarding a bit through one semester and then to the summer. I vigorously worked my ass off by waking up early at 6 in the morning to go to practice by 7:30 in the morning. I would be practicing for 3 to 4 hours every day almost and then going out and working in the hot fields of the summer baling hay. I didn’t live like most the kids, growing up in a small town of roughly 1,200 people we all we’re different.
Some kids stayed in played video games but there were numerous ones of us that lives on farms help their families the whole summer. But I always wanted to do more, I was always super busy bouncing back and forth between football practice, working on the farm shoveling out the stalls, running a tractor, mowing yards for local real estate businesses, and even working for an auctioneer company. I was always well respected for being such a young man and being a vigorously hard worker. Since my mom owns her own business I was always expected to help her in my down time though I didn’t have much.
I always told my parents growing up that I wanted to be somebody, and I knew football would help me find the inner me. It’s just Who I am, its just something that I can do and be happy and once I put on my cleats and strep but my helmet I’m just in my own place and ready to go to battle. Though we were told after practice to keep our helmets and pads in our lockers, I would take mine home and practice by myself. I would set up a little obstacle course in my backyard with tractor tires and 55 gallon metal drums that I used as people. I would do this to make myself better, I always wanted to be the best of the best.
I would do this every summer it was eat sleep and repeat kind of thing. Fast forwarding to my sophomore year it was the same thing. We were a JV program with freshman, sophomore, juniors, and seniors all on a junior varsity program. We won every single game. We were really great. We had people talking about us saying that they need to watch out for a program once we became a varsity team. But skipping ahead throughout the whole year and to the next season there was a lot to prepare for. It was going to be our first year ever competing at the varsity program level, our team was full of freshman, sophomore, juniors, and seniors.
We ourselves didn’t know what to think, we had never competed at that type of level and didn’t know how we were going to do. As our first varsity game approach on the Friday night we were all excited to play. It came game time and we were all ready, we took the field and competed the best that we could but we came out losers. We all didn’t know what to say we have never lost a game before being a high school team. We went ahead and we prepared for the rest of our games all of the season. My junior year which was our first year as a varsity program we went 0 and 11.
Everyone was doubting us and as a team in school people talked about how bad we were and we really knew that we wasn’t we just never competed at the varsity level before. Skipping ahead to my senior year, we worked hard during the summer. It came time for our first game against Edinburg high school, a program that was known for history of winning title after title after title. Many championships were won by this team they were a Catholic program that recruited their players. All of us players were pumped and ready to go we hit the field running we got a quick start and went up 7 to nothing.
Our fans were ecstatic and cheering us on like crazy. It was a neck and neck battle and we exchanged hits back and forth like no other. It was a hot Friday night in early September, The Sun was just going down. We went into halftime tied 14 to 14 . We came out in the second half and had a great team defense going. We were stopping every run play and batting down passes left and right. It was in the fourth quarter with around 5 minutes left in the ball game , they threw the ball and the wide receiver caught it and ran for a 35 yard touchdown. They took the lead and we didn’t know what to do.
Our offense got the ball back and couldn’t do nothing with it, we had to punt the ball away. The offense got the ball back with a little over two minutes remaining on the clock. As I was playing my position at defensive end I was running around and trying to get around my tackle, trying to get in the backfield to cause havoc for the quarterback. He was good, I didn’t want him throwing the ball and completing any passes. But the guy that was defending me was really good, he stopped every spin move I had. They were throwing the ball and completing every pass.
They had the ball down to our 45 yard line and was trying to run the clock out. Instead of running the ball on 3rd down and 5 they decided to throw the ball, I gave my all as soon as the ball was snapped, I took off pushing away my defender spun off the guard and was looking in the quarterbacks eyes as he was looking down field. I jumped up just as soon as he threw the past and it hit my fingertips the ball bounced up in the air, I jumped up and grabbed it and I intercepted the ball and it was my first ever interception. I had to react immediately.
I spun around the lineman and juked the quarterback, making them all miss, I was gone. I ran the ball back 65 yards for a touchdown. The feeling I had and excitement was crazy, I felt like I had just won the the super bowl. That moment was overwhelming. My whole defense met me in the end zone and picked me up. The fans were going nuts. There was only a few seconds left on the clock so we kicked the the ball off. They were only able to run the ball back and that ended the game. We dumped gatorade on our head coach and celebrated our 1st Varsity victory like we had just won a championship.
The feeling was crazy and felt like no other. We went right back to practice the next week and prepared for our next game and went throughout the season fighting through games but finished my senior year with a three and seven record. After the season had concluded I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do, I had received many offers to go play at the division 3 level and a couple division 2 but I decided against going to school. I had my heart set on joining the army and making a career out of it. It came time for graduation and I was very happy that I was going to be leaving school and starting my career so soon.
Three weeks after graduation I was scheduled to leave for boot camp, but on a hot summer day God had another plan for me instead. I was out riding my crotch rocket down Indiana State Road 1 when a semi passed me and the wind sent me and my bike directly into the side ditch and caused me to wreck. Luckily I was out riding with a friend and they saw the wreck and they stopped to help me immediately, they called 911 and not too long shortly after an ambulance showed up. They told me to stay calm and gave me some medicine on the spot and transported me to the local hospital.
After getting to the hospital and taking some xrays they found that my shoulder was broke and my clavicle was broke in two spots and would need surgery. I was devastated at this point learning of my injury and I only could think what was going to happen to my future. After I was released from the hospital I immediately got in contact with my recruiter and discussed the situation, he told me that they would put me on hold for shipment and to just focus on rehabilitation. So months go by and I work my ass off to get my shoulder strength back up to where I thought it was.
I finally get cleared by the doctor for physical activities. So I give the recruiter a call and he asked me to bring in x-ray documentation and paperwork stating what exactly happened during my rehabilitation and all of my surgeries. He sent the paperwork out to get looked at and after 2 weeks of not hearing anything they finally get back with me and I get my dreams shattered they told me that I was no longer able to be enlisted in the army because of my injury, there was no ands ifs or buts about it, it wasn’t going to ever happen they said.
So I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do and I just kept putting myself down thinking I wasn’t ever going to be anything, I went back and spoke to the doctor about my shoulder and he told me that it was in my best interest to never play a contact sport again but football had been all I knew and I wasn’t going to let anything stop me from playing it again. So I set out on a journey sending out game film to many Midwest schools partially not too far from home. I put numerous miles on my car driving to Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Ohio, and Michigan for college visits.
I really wasn’t sure where I wanted to go I looked at numerous schools, from big to small, from the University of Tennessee, to Marshall University, to Ohio Bobcats, and then I accidentally ran across Adrian College on the Internet. Coming from a small town called Farmland, Indiana all I had ever known was small, being only 20 miles east of Muncie and Ball State University I didn’t want to stay home and attend the school. So after 3 years of being out of school and graduating in June of 2012, I finally made the decision to not listen to the doctor and actually play the sport I had always loved, and that is what got me here!