Pittsfield’s Jaden Keefner is looking to follow in the footsteps of a number of Pittsfield and Berkshire County football players as he tries to take a leap from prep school to college football.
Keefner is a member of the class of 2022 at Tabor Academy, and while the Seawolves have not played a game yet, Keefner said the team is practicing and he said he is still working to improve every day.
“I go out there and give it 110 percent whether we’re going to have a season or not, because I want to get better at my sport,” he said. “I work as hard as I can, whether we’re going to have a season or we’re not going to have a season. I want to improve as much as I can.”
Keefner has done a lot of work with Connecticut-based quarterbacks guru Craig Bryden. And that is also why he has gone to prep school.
“I think it was me wanting to be the best athlete I could possibly be,” Keefner said. “When I was younger, I felt like I was a good athlete but I could always elevate my game more. I took it to the next level, and I started getting training from my quarterback coach. He helped me tremendously to get to the point where I am now.”
Keefner plays at Tabor for coach Chris Rorke, who took over at the Marion school in 2017. Rorke is a former quarterback at Dartmouth who was the head coach at Division III Plymouth State from 1999-2002. He coached at Trinity and Lehigh, along with two stints at Dartmouth. He was the quarterbacks coach at Dartmouth from 2011-2016.
“We were looking at other schools, and my English teacher was like ‘Hey, my brother is a coach at this prep school.’ We looked into the school, went down for a visit, loved the school,” said Keefner.
Former Williams College football player and wrestler Sean Rorke taught at Reid, and is Chris Rorke’s brother.
The Tabor quarterback, whose season has been put on hold, is still anxiously planning for his post prep-school career.
“I’ve had a little bit of college contacts,” he said. “I have a bunch of coaches following me, and I had [direct messages], with coaches asking how I’m doing.”
Keefner said that he’s heard from one school at the Division I-FBS and one at the Division I-FCS level.
“My goal is to play the highest level of football I possibly can,” he said, “and get a great education for free while I’m doing that.”
The Tabor quarterback said that he is unsure how the COVID-19 pandemic, which has limited athletes on his campus in what they can do, will impact his future.
“I’m not sure, to be honest. I just take it day by day and see how everything goes,” he said. “Hopefully, more coaches text me soon. I’ll keep working as hard as I can and wait until it happens.”