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Maryland lacrosse star Jared Bernhardt to play football at Division II Ferris State

The image on left is from when Jared Bernhardt played football in at Lake Brantley High School in 2014. The image on the right is from when he played lacrosse for the University of Maryland in 2017. Photo credit on left: Joshua C. Cruey/Orlando Sentinel. Photo credit on right: Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun
The image on left is from when Jared Bernhardt played football in at Lake Brantley High School in 2014. The image on the right is from when he played lacrosse for the University of Maryland in 2017. Photo credit on left: Joshua C. Cruey/Orlando Sentinel. Photo credit on right: Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun(on left: (Joshua C. Cruey/Orlando Sentinel) and on right is Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun)

Maryland lacrosse standout Jared Bernhardt said he is “planning on” using his fifth year of eligibility to play football at Ferris State, a Division II program.

Bernhardt, a senior attackman, could have returned in 2021 after the coronavirus pandemic prematurely ended the 2020 season. Instead, he told the NCAA in an interview posted Sunday of his intention to join the Bulldogs in the fall.

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“As of right now, I’m planning on going to Ferris State University to play football in the fall [for] Coach [Tony] Annese,” Bernhardt said. “It’s about 45 minutes outside of Grand Rapids in Michigan.”

Maryland's Jared Bernhardt is checked by Navy's Tim Griffin in the first quarter April 21, 2019, in Annapolis.
Maryland's Jared Bernhardt is checked by Navy's Tim Griffin in the first quarter April 21, 2019, in Annapolis.(Paul W. Gillespie / Capital Gazette)

The Bulldogs went 12-1 last fall and captured the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title for the second consecutive year. They advanced to the NCAA tournament semifinals before falling, 28-14, to West Florida on Dec. 14.

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Annese said Monday afternoon that he heard about Bernhardt after Bernhardt emailed offensive coordinator and son Steve Annese in October.

“He’s just a multidimensional athlete, and my philosophy has always been that if you’re an athlete, you can perform on the football field,” Tony Annese said. “Beyond that, I looked at his high school film and thought, ‘My goodness gracious, this kid is a playmaker.’ So he’s an elite athlete who was obviously successful there at Maryland in lacrosse. So immediately when we got an email from him inquiring about any interest we might have and his desire to play football, we got excited and pursued him.”

Bernhardt, who was not made available Monday to comment, finished a coronavirus-shortened season with 29 points on 20 goals and nine assists for the Terps (5-1). He was on pace for 43 goals in the regular season, which would have given him 154 for his career. That would be just one goal off Matt Rambo’s program record of 155.

In 2019, Bernhardt became only the third player in school history to score 50 goals in a season with 51 en route to being named a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award, college lacrosse’s version of the Heisman Trophy.

Bernhardt was a two-sport star at Lake Brantley High School in Altamonte Springs, Florida, running the triple option as a quarterback and surpassing 400 career points as a midfielder. As a senior, he rushed for 1,457 yards and 12 touchdowns and passed for 751 yards and six scores in 11 games, leading a Patriots offense that averaged 486 yards per game.

“I’ve always had the passion for football,” Bernhardt told the NCAA. “I’ve always loved it. It never really went away, but being able to have the opportunity that I didn’t think I would have, to be able to maybe go play somewhere, I never really thought about it. I just played. And then when the opportunity came, it was kind of a very surreal feeling. Obviously choosing lacrosse, it’s definitely been in the back of my mind during my years at Maryland.”

Eldest brother Jake, a former Terps midfielder, told The Baltimore Sun last year that Jared Bernhardt would have played football at Georgia Tech if the team had offered a spot, but the youngest Bernhardt had committed to play lacrosse for the Terps in February 2014, the middle of his sophomore year.

Jared Bernhardt of Lake Brantley High School in Altamonte Springs, Florida, poses during the 2014 Orlando Sentinel varsity football media day
Jared Bernhardt of Lake Brantley High School in Altamonte Springs, Florida, poses during the 2014 Orlando Sentinel varsity football media day(Joshua C. Cruey / Orlando Sentinel)

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