Multisport athlete leads Ferris State to national championship game

Jared Bernhardt has transitioned from lacrosse to football
Jared Bernhardt, Ferris State football
Posted at 6:12 PM, Dec 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-16 18:12:52-05
Multisport athlete leads Ferris State to national championship game

We have seen it done before.

Greg Paulus played four years of basketball at Duke before using his fifth year of eligibility in another sport to play quarterback at Syracuse.

Ferris State quarterback Jared Bernhardt is following a similar path after a stellar career playing lacrosse at the University of Maryland, but the idea of using another year in another sport was not his long-term plan.

"Not something I always wanted to do," Bernhardt said. "Came on a little bit later in my career at Maryland, I had to figure out what I wanted to do once
I finished up there and it was something my dad and I kind of had something going as I was coming to the end of my career at Maryland."

Jared Bernhardt, Maryland lacrosse
Ohio State's Logan Maccani (35) defends against Maryland's Jared Bernhardt, left, during the first half of the NCAA college Division 1 lacrosse championship final, Monday, May 29, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Bernhardt was the national player of the year leading the Terrapins to the National Championship game last spring, then he decided to head to Big Rapids, Michigan to play quarterback for Tony Annese.

"Coach really just sold the team, the culture, the people here," Bernhardt said. "That was really, really intriguing to me."

It had been five years since he had played football at Lake Brantley High School in Florida.

Bernhardt has even surprised himself with his play on the field currently third in the country with 23 rushing touchdowns despite playing only nine games so far.

"No," Bernhardt said about if he thought he would perform this well. "Honestly, at the beginning of the season I was trying to fight for a spot, didn't know if I was going to get to play at all and that was fine with me, I just wanted to help the team out anyway if that was even going to scout, so very fortunate to be here."

His head coach has a different answer.

"Yes, this is how I believed this was going to be truthfully," Annese said. "I watched him play lacrosse, I watched every game. I could tell that he just had extraordinary great movement skills."

Jared Bernhardt, Ferris State football
Jared Bernhardt, Ferris State football

Bernhardt has not just done it with his legs, he has completed over 70 percent of his passes with 11 more scores.

"You could tell he was winner," Annese said. "He was the best player in the whole nation in lacrosse so that says something, but then you could just tell hi championship caliber of competition and level of performance that it is hard to be that good in any sport."

Despite his success this fall on the gridiron, Bernhardt said he has no regrets about the road he has traveled in college.

"No, I really enjoyed my time at Maryland," Bernhardt said. "I have relationships that go on forever so no, but I am definitely happy to be here."