Jordan Quertermous admits he walked off Rochester's football field this past November beleiving that his football career was over.
The senior center for the Bulldogs, who made it to the semifinals of the IHSA Class 4A playoffs this past season was set to enroll at Southeastern Illinois Community College this spring when he got a surprise phone call from head coach Jason Roper.
"He called me into his classroom and talked to me about my interest and about the opportunity to go there."
Knox College, located in upstate Galesburg, is a Division III school highly regarded for its academics."
"It's one of the premier and prestigious academic schools," Roper said. "They contacted me and their new coach Damon Tomeo had played football with Eric and Chris Nelson, two brothers from Harrisburg and was interested in getting some Harrisburg kids back up in that area. Instantly, I thought of Jordan. Not because of his football skills, but because of his academics."
Quertermous, who someday wants to be a coach himself, will look into majoring in educations. And while he's uncertain of his actual academic plans at this point, one thing is certain: "I have to get stronger," Quertermous said.
"I've been working out with the high school football team three days a week. My plans for the summer are to just stay in the weight room and get as strong as possible."
Quertermous added that the coaching staff at Knox hasn't put into writing or even words what they plan on doing with this year's unanimous selection for All-Conference in the Southern Illinois River-to-River Ohio Division center, but does know that is a position he would like to stay at.
"I played guard for three years, until this past season. Center is where I want to play, but I guess we'll have to wait and see."
Quertermous made headlines this past fall when he suffered a broken hand early in Week 8 of the season against Benton only to return that Friday night in a full cast and snap left handed, helping Harrisburg to a 20-7 victory over the Rangers.
Quertermous reports to Knox College in late August. The Prairie Fire open up their season on Sept. 7 against Eureka College.
Prior to reporting, Quertermous will don his Purple and White one last time, teaming up with Isaac Ingram and Dylan Hathaway when they make up the Southern Illinois All Stars, who will take on the West Kentucky All Stars Friday at SIU's McAndrew Stadium.
Michael Dann can be reached at mdann@dailyregister.