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Bend High football star commits early to Yale, plans to be a STEM major

Nate Denney has set plenty of records on the field, but it's his academic track record that landed him a spot at prestigious Ivy League school

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- If you were to take a look at Nate Denney’s SAT score, a 1380, and his GPA, a 4.1, you might get those numbers confused with his stats on the football field. Denney rushed for 2,275 yards and added 26 touchdowns for Bend High in his junior season.

Those numbers, both academic and sporting, put him on some Ivy League radars. Denney received offers from Harvard and Yale, ultimately making a verbal commitment to Yale.

“Yale was always at the top of my list, and I’m just happy it worked out,” he said this week.

Denney is hopeful he’ll be able to start as a true freshman in the 2021 college football season.

“They want me to play early,” Denney said. “I think I’m a high-level recruit for the Ivy League. They really like me at running back, and I fit really well in their offense.”

Denney made a recent trip to Yale’s campus, which convinced him it was the right school for him. Denney plans to become a STEM major.

Denney made his commitment nearly a year before he will graduate from high school. He said COVID-19 was the main reason why he made his decision earlier than usual.

"Everyone committed early because of COVID,” Denney said. “I think everybody would have waited if it never happened. But I'm in the unique position, and I took my chance. I took my opportunity and seized the moment."

As he heads into his final year at Bend High, though, Denney's last season as a Lava Bear is in doubt, because of COVID-19.

Some sports have gotten the go-ahead in Oregon, with extensive safety measures but high school football is still on the sidelines, waiting on a decision.

With uncertainty looming over Denney’s senior season, he's hopeful he'll be able to showcase his skill and swagger one last time in the Lava Bears' blue and gold before taking his talents to New Haven, Connecticut.

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Jordan Williams

Jordan Williams is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jordan here.


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