When mapping out the next phase of his life, Danny Bruckman was leaning toward going to one Ohio Athletic Conference school — Baldwin Wallace University — for academics and to play football.
Then, another OAC school — Mount Union — swooped in, and the Jefferson senior decided he’s heading to Alliance in the fall.
“I went there and love the campus,” Bruckman said.
Mount Union is one of the top Division III programs in the country with 30 OAC and 13 national championships.
The Purple Raiders are in the midst of playing a shortened five-game season after the 2020 fall campaign was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mount Union is slated to play a full schedule starting in September.
“I’m really excited to see what the Division III level is all about,” Bruckman said. “I’m going to go there and go with the flow and push myself and my teammates.”
Ed Rankin, who coached Bruckman the last three seasons, believes Mount Union is a good situation for Bruckman.
“Danny is a winner in school, football and life,” Rankin said. “He will fit in.”
Bruckman, who is listed at 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds, is slated to play running back for the Purple Raiders — a position he lined up at for the Falcons.
“I’m focusing on getting bigger and stronger,” he said.
The 2020 season was a breakout one for Bruckman. He led Ashtabula County with 1,486 yards rushing, and also scored 20 touchdowns.
The touchdown total was second and yards in the top five in school history.
Bruckman ended up earning first-team Division V Northeast Lakes District and first-team All-Ashtabula County honors.
“Before the season began, I had it in my mind that I wanted to do something special,” he said. “I put in the effort to be there.”
While with the Falcons, Bruckman and his teammates went through ups and downs.
Jefferson went 1-9 in 2017, followed by 0-10, 1-9 and 3-7.
But Bruckman ended his Falcon career with a 41-21 win over Conneaut on Oct. 30.
“I learned a lot about leadership and keeping my team’s heads up and pushing them through,” he said.
Bruckman played for two coaches — Jimmy Henson and Rankin.
“Both of them taught me about leadership,” Bruckman said. “It’s awesome to have that leadership and toughness and get through anything.”
Bruckman added Brandon Hanna, a Jefferson assistant last season who is now the Falcons head coach, was also instrumental in his leadership, work ethic and toughness.
Bruckman is scheduled to report to Mount Union’s camp in the beginning of August. He is interested in the business administration or international business fields of study.
However, before that happens, Bruckman has one more season left at Jefferson.
He’s on the Falcons track and field roster and scheduled to run the open 100 and 400 and 4x100 and 4x400 relays.
In his prep track career, Bruckman has reached the regional tournament in the 4x100 relay twice and 4x400 and 4x200 once each.
Last season, he didn’t get the opportunity to participate in track as spring sports in Ohio was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I didn’t realize coach [track and field TJ] Furman pushed me,” Bruckman said. “It will take a bit to start to gel, but I’m getting back into it.”