BRADFORD – Bradford senior Larkin Painter committed to play football for Heidelberg University.
Painter, the son of Sara and Jerame Painter is realizing an opportunity to play football at the college level, a dream he has had since his peewee football days. He committed to Heidelberg Friday afternoon before family, coaches and friends at Bradford High School.
“Heidelberg has everything that I want in a college to have,” said Painter. “The education, the football program, the coaching staff and it just has that home feel.”
“They are going to give me the opportunity to play football – something I’ve always wanted to do,” added the 6’3” 180 pound Painter, “continue my career into college.”
Painter expects to play wide receiver or tight end for Heidelberg, which went 5-5 this past season. The Student Princes finished 4-5 in conference standings in the Ohio Athletic Conference, a NCAA Division III conference that also includes teams from Baldwin Wallace, Capital, John Carroll, Marietta, Mount Union, Muskingum, Ohio Northern, Otterbein and Wilmington.
“One of the best,” former Bradford head football coach Chris Hawk said of Painter. “You would like to have a whole team of them. He is very hard working. Anything he needed to work on he stayed in and put in the extra time, put the time in in the weight room and on top of that he’s a smart kid. He’s a good kid to have for the program, and he’s a talented football player.”
“He’s one of these young men that makes his mind up, he works hard and nothing stops him,” former Bradford Coach John Cruse noted. “He just continues to go on and he was one of our leaders on our team.”
Coach Hawk believes Painter can make an impact on the Heidelberg football team.
“I think he’ll do well with the program,” Hawk said. “Just his attitude alone is good. Anybody like that is good to have in your program, let alone his size. He’ll do well in their program.”
Painter plans to study Criminal Justice with hopes of one day working for the FBI.
“I would like to thank the coaches all the way from peewee to high school – Coach Hawk especially,” Painter said of his former coach. “He has always been a good role model. The same with Coach Cruse, he has always been around and he’s someone I can lean on. Coach Hawk and Coach Cruse have helped me get to where I am today.”
“I want to thank my parents,” continued Painter. “They are always pushing me, especially my dad. He kept me going and that’s the reason I’m here – so I just want to say thanks. He coached me in peewee. At our high school games he did the chains and he would always give me pointers in the game. I would always look over and he’d always give me the assuring look like you did something wrong but get over it. The next play is all that matters. He was a good role model and I’m glad that he was there.”
“At the beginning of the football season at high school I wasn’t sure if we were going to have a team or not, but we did,” concluded Painter, “and that’s the reason that I have this opportunity.”