The Fort Campbell Courier
Fort Campbell KY | May 3, 2012
Three Falcons athletes, along with one transfer, joined a legacy of success April 25 when they signed their national letters intent to play college football.
The signees make 54 players to continue onto the collegiate level under Head Coach Shawn Berner’s 10 year career at Fort Campbell.
“I remember playing high school football and growing up always dreaming of playing college football,” Berner said prior to the ceremony held at Fort Campbell High School. “So as a coach, you try and give these guys opportunities, no matter at what level. Whether they sign on Signing Day or in April, they still have the opportunity to better their education and their future and play college football while they’re doing it.”
Three of the signees, Brady Jorstad, Marcus Tucker and Chance Von Dette, have played with the Falcons since middle school. A rare occurrence in a community where most athletes end up transferring due to military moves, Berner spoke with pride about these athletes and the great addition they have made to the team.
“Sometimes you don’t get to work with kids very long here because of the [moving] situation and so forth, but all three of these guys I’ve had since middle school,” Berner said. “I’ve had these guys for a long time. They’ve become a big part of my life, and we’ll miss them. They’re all great kids.”
The other signee, Corey Terry, transferred on post from Northeast in January. Although he never played with the Falcons, Berner took him under his wing and helped Terry make the connections to continue at the collegiate level. Terry signed with Bethel University in McKenzie, Tenn., where he plans to study engineering.
“Ever since I was little, I always wanted to play [football],” Terry said. “It means a lot to me, because [Berner] actually set this up for me. I’m really grateful.”
Terry will play outside linebacker for the Wildcats. Von Dette joins Terry, as well as a long line of other Falcons in previous years, to sign with Bethel.
“There’s one guy up there, I’ll probably look up to him big time – Stayce Whipple,” said Von Dette. “He’s going to be a big role model for me.”
With plans to study engineering and play strong safety on the gridiron, Von Dette chose Bethel for a simple reason.
“It just had everything that I wanted,” he explained. “I’ve been to colleges that were good, but they were far away. I didn’t want to go far away. I had colleges that were closer, but they didn’t have a decent program. Then Bethel, first day I looked around, I was like, ‘I want to go here.’”
Jorstad signed with Berner’s alma mater, Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tenn. It was a moment he had been waiting for since starting with the elite program in middle school.
“I remember coming here in 8th grade and watching all the guys sign, and now it’s my turn,” Jorstad said. “It’s fun. I’m excited.”
Recognized as one of the top offensive lineman in the area, Jorstad said he chose Cumberland because he liked the small, but beautiful, campus.
Jorstad is looking at a position somewhere on the offensive line, and plans to pursue a career as a federal game warden.
Tucker originally thought he didn’t have a chance at playing college ball. But after stepping up for an impressive senior season at Fort Campbell, he will head to Owensboro to join the Kentucky Wesleyan Panthers on the field in the fall while studying business management in the classroom.
“After this last season, I did what I had to do in the weight room and stuff like that,” Tucker said. “When I went on a visit, Wesleyan showed me a lot of love up there.”
Expected to hit the field in a less familiar position, Tucker is up for the challenge.
“I played running back and all that here, but then I played [corner-back] for like eight games,” he said. “So that’s where they want me to play at Wesleyan. It’s something new, but I know I can do it.”
Falcons begin practices in June as they pursue a 3-A state championship.