Tigers' wide receiver earns league honor
Five catches, 177 yards and one big honor were the cumulative haul for Olivet Nazarene wide receiver Rashaan Gaymon, whose efforts against Lindenwood University-Belleville on September 10, earned him the Mid-States Football Association Midwest League Offensive Player of the Week award.
“It was pretty surprising, being my first award from the conference,” Gaymon said.
Gaymon's numbers, which included a touchdown, were instrumental in the Tigers' 25-0 win for their first victory of the season. He also had a 92-yard reception that set up another ONU score.
Through the first three games of the season, Gaymon, a sophomore sports management major, led the team with 11 catches, two touchdowns and 349 receiving yards -- a 31.7 yards-per-catch average -- and his average of 116.3 yards per game ranked third in the league.
The Cape Coral, Florida, native came to Olivet Nazarene after taking a few years off from football following high school. He said he saw a spot with ONU as a great opportunity to play again.
Last season -- his first at ONU -- Gaymon had 20 catches for 257 yards and three touchdowns.
Tigers Head Coach Eric Hehman said that Gaymon had some big games last season, but injuries limited him to just three games.
When asked what makes Gaymon special, Hehman said that what he looks for at receiver is someone who has speed, route mechanics, and who can set up defensive backs based on his routes and techniques.
“Specific for him, I think it's his speed and then his ability,” Hehman said.
Gaymon said he's improved at blocking and has learned more about the position while trying to gain consistency.
Gaymon is at the forefront of the Tigers' receiving corps that has been huge in the team's offense. Olivet Nazarene averages 227.1 passing yards per game while using a spread offense in Hehman's first year at the helm. Alvin Best (nine catches, 70 yards), Ryan Stoves (seven catches, 110 yards) and Keandre Murph (five catches, 93 yards) were also key components of the offense through the first three games. Twelve players had at least one catch in a game in that span, and four of those players averaged at least 10 yards per catch.
The Tigers have a freshman at quarterback and two freshman starting on the offensive line, which can make things challenging with the offense. But having an experienced and talented receiving corps fits the offense well, he said, and has resulted in some explosive plays. That puts pressure on the opposing team's defensive backfield.
“That's a good thing for us because we're a spread offense and we want to distribute the ball to a bunch of receivers,” Hehman said.
Gaymon said he thinks the scheme is great, and works well with his talent and skills. He also said the team has improved by being more together.
“More guys are having fun this year,” he said.