When I was asked to write about my experience here at ETSU as a football player, I was a little overwhelmed. “How can I condense 4 years into one page?,” I thought. Then I began to think of the most memorable parts of my career, the milestones that mark important points in ETSU’s football history and my own memories. Those are the experiences that have stuck with me and will continue to stay with me for my entire life.
When I first arrived on campus, the football program had virtually nothing. We had a weight room and an unfinished locker room. The new stadium everyone had told me about was still two years away. It was hard to even imagine how this could be a football program. But I kept a positive mindset and pushed through the aches and pains of a new program, just as all my teammates did too.
The first season was a difficult one. With only two wins and some tough losses to a couple of Division III schools, the future seemed bleak. Yet we all kept believing, and seasons two and three went better than most people had anticipated, with the inclusion of big wins over Kennesaw State and Samford.
Now here we are, having just finished season four, with a Southern Conference Championship and an FCS Playoff appearance under our belts. It is amazing to see how far along this program has come. We went from nothing to almost everything we could ever dream of as football players. A beautiful new stadium, new locker room, new turf for the dome (currently being installed) and so much more.
But none of this would have come to be without the original recruiting class, the “Granite Boys” as they are known now. They came here on a dream, a dream that slowly became a reality. Being that I am a year younger than these 11 redshirt seniors, I have always looked up to them.
They are the source of inspiration that I believe helped ETSU football finally get to the high level we wanted to be at. So, thank you to the 11 “Granite Boys” for their hard work and dedication. Without each of them, who knows where ETSU football would be today.
And now those redshirt seniors and true seniors like myself have finished our time here. I am so thankful for the opportunities ETSU has given me. Playing football has taught me many life skills such as time management, leadership, teamwork, and public speaking.
From playing in the first game of the new era of football, to beating Kennesaw State in overtime, to getting a once in a lifetime chance of playing in Bristol Motor Speedway, to now winning a SoCon Championship, I would never trade any of the memories for anything. It has been an honor to be a part of this amazing program, and I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for the ETSU football Buccaneers. Go Bucs!