Football beyond Friday nights: senior Jackson Barnhart’s journey to Lindenwood University


Maddi Foelsch

Under the lights of the crowded stadium, senior Jackson Barnhart watches junior Luke Ward make a tackle after a passing the ball to him. Barnhart scored 124 points this season and 1054 rushing yards this season. “I was worried about the running back getting through me and having to make the tackle,” Barnhart said.

You might know him from his name being called over the loudspeaker during Friday night football games after a complete pass, or for winning first in districts wrestling. What you do not see is the player staying after practice in hopes of making a career out of football.

Senior Jackson Barnhart recently committed to Lindenwood University for football feeling confident that it was a good fit for him.

“I think what makes football important to me is that it has been in my family forever,” Barnhart said. “Some of my family went through college [football]–some of them even went to the professional level.”

Even though Barnhart is confident in his future as an athlete, he supports having a backup plan for collegiate athletics.

“I think athletic careers are safe. If you go professional or get big enough, you are good financially,” Barnhart said. “If you get the degree or scholarship, you might as well go all the way.”

Pete Feretti
Seniors Rodney Boyd and Jackson Barnhart move in sync to make a run during a home game.

Barnhart made sure to chose an instate college so that he could stay close to home while continuing his football career.

“Being close to my family and home was important in picking a place to go, and Lindenwood is 30 minutes away so it works out really well,” Barnhart said.

As a backup plan if college football does not pan out, Barnhart plans to pursue broadcast production since his work as an anchor on the daily announcements.

“I like having the attention,” Barnhart said. “I like being in the spotlight a lot so being on TV and going to interview famous athletes sounds pretty cool.”