KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – In his 33 years as Webb School of Knoxville’s head coach, David Meske says there have been few kids he’s coached as tough as senior Morgan Ernst.
“They’re getting one tough kid. I think he’s going to make a great Army officer, and he’ll make a difference in this world,” said Meske.
Ernst was raised in a family steeped in military service.
“Well my father served in Desert Storm, my grandfather served in Vietnam, and before that, I think I’ve had a family member in just about every major war the U.S. has ever fought,” he said.
Ernst is now answering the call of duty himself.
“They’ve got great tradition up there, and they’re doing pretty well in football. But that’s not why I want to go to Army. It’s about the military afterward, the life it can make for me and my family, whenever I have one,” he said.
He’ll soon pack his things and head to West Point, where the running back and linebacker will play football for the Army Black Knights. The senior packed his efficiency last Friday, rolling to 110 yards and three touchdowns on just six carries in a 42-6 win against Silverdale Academy.
“That’s what he’s done all year. That’s what he does every game. That’s just typical for him. It wasn’t any different last week than it was week one. He plays hard all the time, he plays as hard and as well as he can,” said Meske.
His teammate does’t need long to think of the first word he associates with the senior.
“Leader. Period. That’s what he’s known for. He’s leading the team. If anyone has their head down in the locker room, he tells them to put their head up. That’s what stands out to me,” said junior running back/defensive back Jahlil Jefferson.
Ernst isn’t just about football. He’s found a second family with the Spartans.
“Anything I do, or decide to do, they’d be supportive,” said Ernst.
“All I know is he’s a pleasure to coach. He’s coachable, he works hard, and most important, he’s a great teammate,” said Meske.
“He’s going to be a good soldier, classmate, teammate, everything. He’s a leader, that’s what he is,” said Jefferson.