JT Pentz commits to Juniata College for football

Central Mountain’s JT Pentz (middle) signs his letter-of-intent to continue his football career at Juniata College. Sitting left-to-right of JT are his parent Evelyn Pentz and John Pentz. Standing is his younger brother, Ryan Pentz.

By SHAREIK FLOWERS

sflowers@lockhaven.com

MILL HALL- Like most boys in their youth, JT Pentz admired his father, John Pentz, growing up.

The two shared a bond around sports as the older Pentz submerged his son into football at an early age. They frequently watched the game together, and routinely attended Penn State football games. JT began playing football at the age of 7– and now after a successful-varsity experience he’s ready to transition to the next level of his athletic career.

Pentz signed his letter-of-intent Monday to continue his football career at Juniata College.

“It’s really exciting because I have an opportunity to keep playing football,” Pentz said. “I’m excited for the next level and to see what it’s like.”

Pentz’ decision to commit to Juanita was a mixture of the school’s quality-football program and education system. He knew Juniata would prepare him for the workforce– and also that the football team would embrace him.

“Juniata is a small school, so everybody’s real close there,” Pentz explained. “So it was fun during my visit. Everybody knew everybody so we all hung out. The football team is like a family there already, so I know I’ll be able to fit in there with them.”

Pentz entered his varsity-Wildcat career with his eyes set on being a quarterback– but with his lengthy frame was tasked with the switch to wide receiver.He emerged as a starter in his senior season and was second on the team with 23 receptions and 283 yards.

“He’s got a long-catch radius,” Central Mountain football coach Jim Renninger said of Pentz. “He was very productive for us this year. I really think that his potential is even much higher than what he did in high school.

“JT has got some real upside. He’s long and he can run. He’s got good hands. I think his best football is ahead of him.”

Pentz’ upside, and talent, was recognized by the CM squad as he was selected a captain his senior season.

“JT really bought-in his senior year,” Renninger said. “Up until that point he didn’t play as much as he wanted to, but he really became a leader for us. He came to all the offseason workouts. He’s now getting up in the morning and getting to the weight room all on his own.”

Pentz’ commitment to the weight room speaks volumes of his attitude. He knows bulking up for college is the right route to ensure he’s prepared for the next level.

“This summer, and even right now, I’m currently lifting every morning,” Pentz said. “Once it gets warmer out I’m gonna start doing footwork-stuff on the field. And I go to college two weeks early for the preseason, so it’s just going to be working all-year around on stuff. College is going to be a lot different, but I’m looking forward to it.”

College is a different level from high school, so advancing to the next state stage is a significant achievement.

“I’m really proud of the fact that he’s getting the opportunity to do something that he wants to do,” Renninger said. “I always push kids to try and do what they want and what they want to go after. So I’m proud of him taking on the challenge and doing the things that he needed to do.

“We’ll continue to support him as a program, and hopefully he’ll go down there and have great success.”

Pentz will major in Sociology and Psychology at Juniata. He hopes to enter the law enforcement after obtaining a degree.

“I want to come out of college and be a criminal detective or a state trooper,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to do that. I think the rewards will be great, but it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be just like football. It’s not easy or given to you. You’re going to have to work for it.”

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