IOWA CITY, Ia. — In another month, Jordan Bernstine will prove wrong some of his doubters. He graduates from Iowa in December with a degree in Interdepartmental Studies, and an emphasis on business.
That’s when he finally says, “I told ya so.”
“I don’t know who they were, but I’m pretty sure there were people out there who didn’t think I’d be able to make it in college,” the Hawkeye senior said.
“I always knew I could.”
He made it in class, and he’s making it on the field, where Bernstine again will start at safety when Iowa faces No. 13 Michigan at 11 a.m. at Kinnick Stadium.
The Hawkeyes have records of 2-2 in the Big Ten Conference and 5-3 overall, the Wolverines are 3-1 and 7-1, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know the importance of Saturday’s game.
“It’s very big,” Bernstine said.
A win, and Iowa is back on track after Saturday’s shocking loss at Minnesota. Another defeat, and some may wonder where the Hawkeyes get one more victory to reach bowl eligibility for the 10th time in the past 11 years.
In the long run, though, it’s probably not as big as the promise Bernstine made to his mother, Felicia, back in the summer of 2007 when he packed up and moved to Iowa City. The Des Moines Lincoln graduate told her he’d get an education, and then see where football takes him.
“I told all my family that I’d make it,” Bernstine said. “They believed in me.”
That was never in question with at least one person.
“I never had doubts,” Lincoln football coach Tom Mihalovich said, “but other people probably didn’t think he’d make it probably for a couple reasons. There haven’t been many Division I football players come from any of the five public high schools in Des Moines, and secondly, there may have been people out there who questioned whether he’d make it in the classroom, but that’s just wrong.
“We had coaches from Notre Dame, USC, Stanford and the state schools looking at his transcripts like they do everyone they’re recruiting. There was never a problem.”
Now that Bernstine is a month from making good on the graduation promise, he has just one personal goal left unrealized.
After teasing Iowa fans with a 62-yard kickoff return against Indiana, he vowed someday to return one for a touchdown, and his days are becoming numbered.
“He’s one of the guys that when he’s running with the ball, you just know that he could always end up in the end zone,” cornerback Shaun Prater said. “It’s exciting when he’s out there. Never a dull moment.”
Bernstine is finally healthy after missing parts of his first three seasons with various injuries. He’s fourth in the conference, averaging 25.2 yards a kickoff return. He has started seven of eight games, the only miss because he had strep throat during the Iowa State game.
Translated: Bernstine is gaining on lost time.
“I’m older than the rest of the guys, but in a way, my body’s younger than most of the older guys because I haven’t played as much as they have,” the fifth-year senior said. “It’s been a tough road, but I always kept looking forward. Never once did I ever think that I would not make it.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football