GREENVILLE – Greenville senior Jordan Ernst signed his letter of intent on Thursday to play college football for Wittenberg University.
Ernst, the son of Dave and Stacy Ernst, will kick for Wittenberg.
“I’m pretty excited to go play football,” Ernst said. “I’m really appreciative of all the hard work that Coach (Aaron) Shaffer and all of the coaches have pushed me to do. It really does pay off. For all the young kids out there: it really does happen – you will go somewhere. You just have to put your time in and buy in to the program.”
Ernest will study exercise science and minor in coaching while in college. He hopes to finish with a Master’s degree and coach.
“I’m excited for him another opportunity to play collegiately in any sport,” his father said. “Fifteen years of soccer and two years of football and now he’s going to play college football. I’m glad for him to have the opportunity and thankful to Coach Shaffer and all his staff to make it happen.”
Ernst is joining a Wittenberg program that finished last season with an 8-2 record. The Tigers, who play in the NCAA Division III North Coast Athletic Conference, have won five national championships in program history and only have had one losing season since 1955.
“Jordan did a nice job for us,” Shaffer said. “When he came to us he didn’t know a whole lot about kicking a football. We knew he was a really nice soccer player for Greenville. The technique isn’t all that different; the ball is.”
As a senior Ernst made one of his two field goal attempts and 17 of 22 extra point attempts. He punted 56 times for a 37.1 yard average with a long of 60 yards.
“That’s a little deceiving because there were a few times this year, there were several games, where we were down on their end of the field and had him kick into a short field and asked him to pin them deep,” Shaffer said of Ernst’s punting average. “It’s funny, you don’t think of punters and kickers as being selfless, but that’s a selfless act. The benefit of helping your team pin the team deep in the red zone.
“It’s always a benefit to have a kicker that you can trust to get the job done in pressure-packed situations. The week 10 game against Sidney they were rushing 11 on our last punt, and he got it off with no problem and hit a nice one and pinned them deep and ultimately allowed our defense the space it needed to win the game.”
Ernst said he wanted to thank the whole football team for accepting him as its kicker for two years.
“I really loved it,” he said. “It’s like a brotherhood. Like a family more than anything.”
Going forward Shaffer wishes for Ernst to get his degree.
“When we send them off, it’s one thing to go places for sports but understand why you are there” Shaffer said. “You are continuing your education. We want him to go represent us well as Greenville, but at the end of it I want him to graduate and set himself for employment opportunities and basically life in general after he’s done there.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.