This is not the way quarterback Nate Yarnell envisioned his final season of high school football playing out.
The senior from Lake Travis High School (Austin, Texas) gave a verbal commitment to Pitt back in April and hoped to develop his game while hopefully leading his team to a state football championship.
Unfortunately, all of that is on hold as Yarnell is continuing to recover and rehab from a injury suffered on just the second day of team practice.
“I got my finger stuck in a guys helmet at practice, kind of a freak accident where it got caught in the very top of his facemask and the top part of my finger broke, my right hand,” Yarnell tells Pittsburgh Sports Now. “Unfortunately, that’s put me out for a while.”
“I was pretty devastated to start out, but you’ve got to be able to take the good with the bad. I was very fortunate last year to get the opportunities that I did and I just got unlucky this season. I need to move forward and be able to support my team in the best way that I can.”
Yarnell had to undergo surgery on his right middle finger and actually reaggravated the injury while attempting to return to the field. Yarnell tells PSN that he hopes now to return to game action in a few weeks, which would be towards the end of the Lake Travis regular season.
This is all very ironic because last season, Yarnell got an opportunity to showcase his skills, which he did to Pitt and other programs, after Lake Travis starter Hudson Card was injured towards the beginning of the season. Yarnell went 6-0 before Card returned to action before the playoffs. While he’s sidelined, Yarnell is supporting his replacement sophomore Bo Edmundson but is hoping to get back on the field before moving onto Pitt.
“I really got a great opportunity to play last year and it came because of the injury to Hudson and he was great and supportive to me in any way possible,” said Yarnell. “I want to do the same to Bo and am trying to support him like Hudson supported me. I will do whatever I can to help the team and if that means supporting Bo, than that’s what I’ll do.”
Due to the talent at Lake Travis, Yarnell has only started six high school games in his career, I asked him how much this freak injury has set back his development as he nears graduation and moving onto Pitt.
“I’m there everyday at practice and taking as many mental reps as I can and continuing to be the best player that I can for right now. I’m hoping that my season isn’t over right now and that I’ll get a chance to get on the field this year but right now, I’m just doing everything in my power to stay ready,” said Yarnell.
“The Pitt coaches were really bummed for me and they’ve been really, really supportive. I couldn’t be more thankful for their support and their trust in me. I’m just so excited to get up there soon.”