ERIE — Four years ago, Corbin Kessler made a decision.
The Seneca Valley graduate decided to spurn a baseball scholarship offer from Division I Eastern Michigan University to play football at Division II Mercyhurst.
“Definitely the right move,” Kessler said last weekend. “I have no regrets at all.”
The 6-foot-1, 210-pound outside linebacker has played all four years for the Lakers, tallying 113 solo tackles, 84 assists, more than 10 tackles for loss and pass break-ups, three fumble recoveries, three interceptions and two forced fumbles.
“He's been all over the field for us,” Mercyhurst coach Marty Schaetzle said. “Corbin has provided leadership to two teams here, not just one.”
While Kessler decided not to go to Eastern Michigan because he wasn't ready to give up football, he discovered he wasn't ready to give up baseball once he got to Mercyhurst.
“I told my parents I couldn't give it up just yet. I wasn't ready,” Kessler said of football. “I've always been a multi-sport athlete and figured I'd have to give up doing that.
“When I came to Mercyhurst, football was my choice. When the opportunity to be part of the baseball team emerged, I loved it.”
Carrying a 3.5 grade point average as a finance/accounting major, Kessler has seen very little action with the Lakers baseball team.
Lakers baseball coach Joe Spano welcomes his presence regardless.
“Corbin has this discipline about him. He's all business as an athlete,” Spano said. “It goes beyond the practice drills. He's always on time for everything. He stays after to work out even more.
“He leads by example. He's like having another coach on the team. With our climate, we practice indoors at different facilities at the same time. I'll ask Corbin to organize our outfielders in another gym and he handles it.”
Through three seasons, Kessler's had only three plate appearances and one putout as an outfielder.
He doesn't mind a bit.
“I just love being around the game and the team,” Kessler said. “I miss all of fall ball because of football, but I get to what I can during the spring.”
Kessler's spring baseball season is interrupted by spring football.
“I get my (football) practice and weight room work in, then get over to baseball practice,” he said. “It's hectic, but I like being a part of things.”
Spano said Kessler's baseball practice time “isn't mandated, but he's there quite a bit.”
When it comes to football, Kessler said “there's no other team I'd rather suit up for.
“Coach Schaetzle takes a lot of heat in this area, but he is a tremendous coach,” Kessler added. “He preaches accountability and helps us all grow as football players and men.”