Expectations were high for Lincoln's Keevon Bernstine last year. Coming off a freshman season where he rushed for over 500 yards and five touchdowns, many were already comparing him to his brother Jordan who set numerous records for the Railsplitters and went on to sign with Iowa.
But in 2009, injuries plagued the sophomore much of the season. He never got into the groove and Lincoln finished 6-4 on the year.
With the 2010 season fast approaching, many in Class 4A have forgotten about Bernstine (5-foot-10, 170 pounds). After a couple games, they will soon remember.
"I really worked on my footwork this summer when it came to running back. As far as safety, I'm trying to become a better leader on defense," said the junior who is expected to play both ways for Lincoln. "We have always been young, so it's finally catching up. We have a lot of guys with experience on both sides of the ball. We are looking pretty good."
Lincoln opens their season tomorrow with an away game at Southeast Polk. The Rams struggled last season, finishing 1-8 on the year, but it doesn't have Bernstine taking the game too lightly.
"I'm really excited. I'm a football type of guy. I'm ready to go. I have heard Polk was down last season, but you can't sleep on anyone," said Bernstine. "We were down last year as well. You can't go by anyone's record last year. Hopefully we come out with a win. It should be fun."
"At this point, I'm really focused on this year and my team. That stuff will come later down the line. It will come after the season," said the junior. "To be able to go to any D-1 school would be an honor. If Iowa was the right fit for me and my family, then that is what I'm going to do. It would be cool to follow in my brother's footsteps, but at the same time I have to be my own man."
Bernstine should play either running back or in the secondary in college. He doesn't care where he plays, as long as he is helping a team.
"I just want to help my team anyway possible. I don't have any numbers or anything individually. I'm a team guy. I can't do it without them. You can't run the ball without the line...I like having the ball in my hands, but you can be play-maker on both sides of the ball."