“We’re very excited for Tyler and Steve both to be able to have this opportunity,” Fayetteville head coach John Limbaugh said. “These guys worked hard in football this year. They did everything that was asked of them. They’re the caliber of kids that will go a long way. They should do well at Faulkner because of the type of people that they are. Just the way our program is headed, we feel like it’s in the right direction and hopefully we’ll have more than these two in the coming years.”
A point that was stressed by both Limbaugh and Faulkner head coach Brent Barker was the hard work both players exhibited off the football field.
“They’re both really good kids, good athletes; they’ve done a lot for Fayetteville High School,” Barker said. “I know coach Limbaugh was very instrumental in promoting them and bringing them up for a visit, so I’ve got to give him a lot of credit. They’re both good kids who come from good families; those are the types of kids we want at Faulkner University. We’re a Christian school.”
Faulkner has a varsity and junior varsity program and Barker was forthright in conceding most incoming freshmen start out for the JV team.
“We’re an NAIA program and we also have a JV program, so we have a lot of freshman kids that will probably start out playing in our junior varsity program and then progress to our varsity program,” Barker said. “Now, our varsity program finished up ranked ninth in the country last year; we were 9-3. We’ve got some really, really good athletes. We think these two can contribute down the line. We’ll get them into our program and get them bigger, stronger and faster, develop them, and we’ll see what happens from there.”
Brasher earned an honorable mention selection for the ASWA All-State football squad as a defensive lineman. He led the Fayetteville Wolves in his senior season with 67 tackles, 12 sacks and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. He was also a first team selection for the All-County football team as an offensive lineman.
“Steve is a great run blocker, but on the defensive side of the football he loves sacks,” Limbaugh said. “He loves to sack the quarterback. He does a great job and was practically double teamed all year and still ended up with a dozen sacks on the year.”
Pennington was a first team All-County selection at wide receiver. He had 357 receiving yards and seven touchdowns as a receiver and also had six interceptions while playing defensive back.
“Tyler is a great receiver,” Limbaugh said. “He can really go up and catch the football. He also, on the defensive side, got some picks and really came on at the end of the year and came into his own as a player. I’m real excited about the things that he can do. Both these young men understand the game of football. When you get a kid that understands what you’re trying to accomplish, then they can do those special things.”
Limbaugh set up an opportunity for both players to go to Faulkner to tour the campus and football facilities. Both players felt comfortable at Faulkner.
“We went and toured the campus,” Brasher said. “I like the football field; they have a nice facility there. It’s kind of small; here in Fayetteville, I’m used to small. There were a lot of friendly people and it’s a real nice facility.”
Pennington added, “I love it; I love the campus, I love everything there. It was just real pleasant, real down home, it just seemed very welcoming.”
Pennington said he has long wanted to play a sport at the college level, but given the fact that he is a starter for the football, baseball and basketball teams, he wasn’t sure how things would pan out.
“I knew I wanted to go somewhere to college for a sport,” Pennington explained. “I just didn’t know which one since I play three. I just worked hard in all of them and whichever one came my way, I took the first offer I could get because that was my main goal was to make it to college for a sport. I was just excited I got to that goal.”
Now, Pennington and Brasher will be roommates this fall. Brasher looked back on his senior season with pride and expressed gratitude to those who helped he and Pennington attain the opportunity to go to Faulkner.
“We went 6-4; I had a great time,” he said. “We left a few ball games out there we should have won. I made All-State this year. I’m grateful for the opportunity to sign with Faulkner. All the hard work coach Limbaugh put in and coach Barker and everybody else in the community helped support us through it all.”