Campus grad wanted to put ag experience to work
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Middle Tennessee State University football player Seth Falley spent most of his life around horses and farming while growing up in his native Kansas.
So when Falley inquired about bringing his size, strength and experience to the MTSU Farm Labratory in Lascassas, Tenn., and the beef and swine units near the Veterans Administration in Murfreesboro, Farm Labs director Matthew Wade couldn’t say yes fast enough. Falley and another teammate, Wilson Kelly of rural Kentucky, are spending their summer as MTSU farm hands.
“They have fit right in with all the other student workers we have working this summer,” Wade said. “They’ve been a tremendous asset to us since they joined and been a part of our team.”
The players were looking for an active alternative away from football before summer practice begins. Wade’s always searching for outstanding student workers at the 435-acre farm – also known as the MTSU Experiential Learning and Research Center – featuring a dairy providing milk for the MTSU Creamery, crops and garden, unmanned aircraft systems research and more.
“They both have farm backgrounds. Seth jumped on the tractor the first day and took off like he’d been doing it all his life and, apparently, he had. Wilson had been on some smaller equipment. We put him on some bigger things. He proved himself well. Like many football players and athletes, they weren’t afraid of the challenge at all. They have jumped in and done a superb job for us.”
Both young men are backup centers on the Blue Raiders’ offensive line, playing behind starter Jordan Palmer.
Falley, a 6-foot-4, 295-pound junior from Haysville, transferred to MTSU in January from Butler Community College. He entered MTSU with a 3.2 GPA and is an agribusiness major in the School of Agriculture. He keeps a pocket knife handy and wears a cowskin holster that holds a pair of pliers he often uses.
Falley grew up working with horses, maintenance and machinery at Rainbow Meadows Equine Rescue & Retirement, a business co-owned by his aunt, Karen Everhart, and uncle, David Everhart, in Junction City. His late grandfather, Bill Eastman, owned 500 acres – where Falley checked cows and fixed fences, spraying and more – on land family now maintains in southeast Kansas.
“I actually didn’t grow up on a farm, but I always had the interest and always wanted to get into it – and now I have that opportunity here,” Falley said.
“We’ve been cutting a lot of hay, getting ready for hay season. I started in the winter when I got here, just caring for animals, tractor running, long, hot days, but it’s all worth it when you know what you’re doing. Recently, I’ve stepped into more of a management role. That’s sort of what I want to do in the future, be a ranch manager.”
The management role Wade has allowed Falley to pursue includes scheduling student workers, pasture organization and land management.
Falley lettered in football and track at Campus High School. He was a USA Today all-American and a two-time first team all-state selection, according to his MTSU biography. He played for the Butler Grizzlies during the 2019, 2020 and 2021 seasons. He played in every game in 2020 and 2021 and was an offensive captain. Falley earned first-team All-Conference honors in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference in 2021.
Falley’s parents are Patrick Falley and Jeanette Eastman-Falley.