Sometimes, the journey you planned is the one you take. However, oftentimes this is not the case. For starting wide receiver Chase Pankey, the latter is true.
Chase grew up in Cincinnati, and attended Moeller High School. Football was always a passion of his, and he knew he had the talent to not only dominate the high school ranks, but to play at a collegiate level, as well. Chase was first team all-state his junior year, en route to winning the Division I state championship. His spectacular season put many Division I schools on notice. Boston College, Kentucky, Northwestern, and almost all of the schools in the MAC conference were vying for his talent.
During his senior year, he was plagued with injuries all season. His scholarships were still on the table, as the schools claimed they had seen enough to know he was going to make a splash. After a long and thoughtful process, Chase committed to Boston College. He was determined to go through the program and live out his dreams of playing professionally, although unfortunately it didn’t turn out that way. Chase didn’t feel he was getting the playing time he needed to impress scouts. He decided it was best that he transfer to the University of Illinois State.
Chase says that his time there did not go as planned: “I was making plays, but I wasn’t moving up in the depth chart.” He then transferred again, this time to the University of Cincinnati. However, he felt a disconnect there between him and his coaches.
Chase thought he was ready to give up football. That was until he and his father had a heart-to-heart and decided to call head coach Tyler Hopperton of Mount St. Joseph University. Coach Hopperton said he was a little skeptical, at first, seeing that Chase had transferred from multiple schools. However, he remembered watching Chase play at Moeller, and thinking he was exceptional. When Hopperton met him and his father in person, he was impressed.
After talking and building a good relationship with Hopperton, Chase decided to attend the Mount. He found a connection with his coaches and teammates, a good relationship with his professors, and a schedule that worked for him. Chase’s impact on the field was immediate. He is averaging 92 yards per game, and over 21 yards per catch. Coach Hopperton says, “He leads by example and others follow. He makes everyone around him better, and most importantly he keeps up with his grades. He is a special young man and has a bright future ahead of him, in whatever career he decides to pursue.”
Chase says he isn’t upset about what has happened over the past few years, but is grateful for everything that led him to this point, and for those that have stood by his side through it all. He plans to finish out the football season and graduate in the summer of 2019. He also still plans to make it into the NFL in the future.