The NFL is one of the most competitive and high-risk leagues in professional sports. Of all sports, the skill gap between the pros and the next closest player is one of the largest.

Every position, from offense to defense, has years of training to master. Whether it be a technique or physical ability, it takes time and patience to sharpen your tools and understand your craft.

Enter Jared Bernhardt. Everything I just told you about the hardships of the game, this guy threw out the window. He stepped into the football scene after a 4-year absence and absolutely dominated. His life and journey are so unique that he deserves his own documentary, but I lack a production crew so this is the best I can do.

Lacrosse Legacy

Jared Bernhardt may have found a new path, but his college career began with a different game on turf. Lacrosse was his game, and damn was he good at it. He stepped in as a freshman in one of the most dominant Lacrosse schools in the country and was a day 1 starter.

He had 28 points with 20 goals and 8 assists that season, earning him the Maryland Athletics Freshman of the Year, and being a 2017 USILA All-American Honorable Mention. This was only his freshman year, and he had incredible room to improve.

Each year, his numbers improved. He was either an honorable mention or official all-american every season he played, and he stepped into his senior season ready to make up for the lost time of Covid.

Something changed, and that something was good. Jared Bernhardt went on to dominate NCAA Lacrosse, breaking the team record for total points, points in a season, career goals, and goals in a season.

He went on to win the 2021 Tewaaraton award, which is the equivalent of the Lacrosse Heisman. He was primed and ready for professional Lacrosse, and the Premier Lacrosse League wanted him. However, he chose a very different path, one that had the potential to be much more difficult.

Back to the Gridiron

Growing up, Jared Bernhardt loved the game of Football. His dad coached football at the Division 1 and NFL levels, so that side of the family was calling for him. He decided to take his graduate year of eligibility and head to Ferris State to go back to his roots.

In high school, Jared was a 4-year football player, amassing over 4k all-purpose yards and 30 touchdowns in his Junior and Senior seasons. He was a triple-option player in high school, and his athletic ability translated immediately into his new Division 2 program.

In his first game of college football against Findlay, Jared Bernhardt tore up the turf. He had 4 rushing touchdowns in the game and a 65-yard passing touchdown. Clearly, he was in for a dominant season.

At the end of the season, the Bulldogs went 14-0 and won the Division 2 National Championship. Jared Bernhardt finished the season with 1300 passing yards with 11 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, paired with 1400 rushing yards and an absolutely absurd 26 touchdowns.

He was, to every extent, one of the most dominant athletes in Division 2 NCAA football at the time, maybe even at every level. His versatility formed from the Lacrosse field made him one of the best candidates for a D2 success story, so he entered the NFL draft.

Level Up

Jared Bernhardt entered the NFL draft, where he sadly went undrafted. Then, the Lacrosse world rejoices when he signs a preseason deal with the Atlanta Falcons.

However, the circumstances were a bit different. He was playing at the highest speed and had now transitioned from Quarterback to Wide Receiver. As much as we adore Jared in the community, some of us were quick to doubt him.

He scored a 20-yard touchdown in his first preseason game, and we sat at the edge of our seats. Then, a 60-yard game followed, and a Bernhardt brother in the NFL seemed more and more likely.

Then, a day ago, the news broke. Jared Bernhardt officially made the Falcons’ 53-man roster. He compiled over 100 yards and a score in his three preseason games, and he has the potential to do much more. Clearly one of the most gifted players in the sport, and now we get to see even more.