ARCANUM – Arcanum senior Cole Burrell will try to help turn around the Earlham College football program as he committed to the Quakers on Monday afternoon.
Burrell, the son of Jeff and Lisa Burrell, didn’t think this opportunity would be available to him, but now that it’s a reality he expects to have a blast playing college football.
“It’s definitely amazing,” he said. “I never thought I’d have an opportunity like this, especially in football, so it’s just great to have them reach out and give everybody a chance.”
Burrell, a three-sport star in football, basketball and baseball for Arcanum, had his recruitment process start last fall. He attended an Earlham game with high school teammate Daniel O’Donnell, and the recruiting process started to pick up from there.
“Ever since then it kind of got hot and heavy with the recruiting and talking with their coach back and forth,” he said.
Burrell chose Earlham, an NCAA Division III school in Richmond, Indiana, because of its strong academics. He will study biology and exercise science at Earlham and after graduating college plans to pursue a physical therapy assistant certification at another university.
“They have really good academics over there, and to be a part of that is something that I think is pretty special,” he said.
Burrell has excelled in the classroom and also was an aide for Tiffany Stephan’s second grade class, who surprised him at his signing ceremony with a homemade banner signed by each of the students.
On the football field, Burrell was Arcanum’s leading receiver as a senior and returned a kickoff for a touchdown. On defense he made 33 tackles, intercepted two passes and recovered a fumble.
Having managed to be a three-sport athlete while maintaining strong grades, Arcanum football coach TJ Powers is confident that Burrell will continue to be successful at the college level.
“Cole going on to the next level just speaks volumes of his attitude and athletic and academic ability,” Powers said. “He’s top 10 in the class and does all those things in the classroom real well and still plays three sports so I think doing that, just his work ethic to be able to manage time, that is going to be key at the next level.”
At Earlham Burrell will play either wide receiver or defensive back. He played both positions at Arcanum and was a four-year starter for the Trojans.
Burrell is joining a program that’s struggled in the past and has had six consecutive losing seasons, including back-to-back 0-10 seasons. Even though the Quakers haven’t had a winning season since 2000 Burrell is confident that coach Nick Johnson, who in his first season leading the program was named the 2015 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference coach of the year, has Earlham going in the right direction.
“I think Coach Johnson is definitely bringing it in the right direction,” Burrell said. “I’m ready to be a part of that.”
Burrell has been part of a transitioning team before as his freshman year was Powers’ first season leading the Trojans football team. The class of 2016 is special because of that, Powers said, and he looks forward to continuing to watch Burrell progress in college just as he did the past four years.
“I think he’ll excel,” Powers said. “I’ve had him in class for two years as well so I know the type of student he is. I know he’ll do well there, and I’m excited to see how he progresses on the football field and look forward to following him.”
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.