AMSTERDAM - Amsterdam Rams lineman Tyler Cranker took the next step in his football career Monday, officially signing on to join the Stetson University football team this coming fall in a commitment ceremony at Amsterdam High School.
Cranker is coming off a successful 2013 campaign that saw him lead the Rams in tackles as a defensive lineman and captain an offensive line that cleared the way for 332 points.
It was Cranker's lone season with Amsterdam after transferring from Fonda-Fultonville.
Amsterdam senior Tyler Cranker, front row center, signs his letter of intent to play football at Stetson University on Monday at the Amsterdam High School library. (The Leader-Herald/Shaun Anich)
Cranker will be making the move from chilly upstate New York to DeLand, Fla., which sits about 35 miles North of Orlando. The Stetson Hatters compete in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision, formerly known as Division 1-AA. The Hatters are members of the Pioneer League alongside schools such as Butler University, Marist College, Morehead State University and the University of Dayton.
"When I visited it just felt right," Cranker said. "It's a beautiful university, a nice campus, everyone was friendly down there, they have all new facilities, and it's a top business school in the Southeast. That had a lot to do with it."
Cranker will pursue a degree in business administration while at Stetson, something he says he has been set on since his freshman year. According to Cranker it will be a challenge getting used to playing in the high humidities of Florida, but that the warmer temperatures are definitely a bonus.
"That had a lot to do with it," said Cranker. "I went down and it was 70 degrees out and it was perfect. For February, you can't go wrong with it."
Amsterdam head football coach Doug Edick said that Cranker's dedication to the sport as well as to his academics are what put him in his current position.
"He dedicates himself not only in the weight room but during film session. He really enjoys football and has a passion for it," Edick said. "He's a good kid, very smart, and works hard academically and athletically."
Amsterdam Athletic Director Randy Hutto echoed sentiments regarding Cranker's academic standing and urged student athletes in attendance to take notice.
"Stetson is a great university. He's going for a lot of different reasons," Hutto said. "He could go anywhere with his academics, the sports is just an add on. Your first role is to be a student and to work your tails off in the classrooms and then on the playing fields."
Cranker said he is relieved to officially be signed on with a college program and will be putting in work over the summer to increase his chances of landing a starting role with the Hatters.
"It's a lot of weight lifted off my shoulders," Cranker said. "They're getting a competitor - someone that can show up on a daily basis to come play and really contribute to the team hopefully right when I get there."