Ex-Kiski Area lineman Bertovich overcomes adversity, lands at Youngstown State
College Football Videos
Lineman Jim Bertovich is getting a second chance to make a first impression.
And his dream of playing Division I college football flickers on.
A 2011 Kiski Area graduate, Bertovich had academic issues that slowed the recruiting process, but he enrolled at Division I-FCS Youngstown State, where he seems to be turning a corner.
Keeping coaches aware that he still was on campus and intent on doing whatever it takes to play for the Penguins, he finally got his chance when he was offered a preferred walk-on opportunity to play and earn a scholarship next season.
“Their coach recruited me in high school, and I kept his (business) card,” Bertovich said. “I had a lot of Division IIs looking at me, but I wanted to play D-I. I just didn't have the grades or motivation. I want them to know I can still play.”
Bertovich also overcame back surgery to repair two herniated discs, which cost him his sophomore year at Kiski Area. He gained weight, reaching 400 pounds before dropping to 315 and contributing as a junior and senior.
The realization that grades and football go hand-in-hand has given the 6-foot-4, 330-pound freshman a new outlook on life and football.
“His mom has really pushed him to have success,” said Troy Wilson, who coached Bertovich at Kiski Area. “He has worked his butt off. He's up there representing Kiski Area. It's nice to see him doing well.”
His grades are improved, he's been working out on his own and, in a year, could be contributing on Youngstown's line.
He was told his best shot would be on defense, but he could end up on offense.
“I feel like I am very fortunate to have this opportunity,” Bertovich said. “Now I plan to do something great with it. To go from back surgery and being ineligible to get to where I am; I overcame obstacles.”
The National Athletic Recruiting Network put together a recruiting profile for Bertovich and helped keep colleges aware of his whereabouts.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-224-2696 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.