ONU Tigers counting on newcomers to turn things around
The Olivet Nazarene University (ONU) Tigers are putting some new talent on both sides of the football this season, hoping to make some changes to a squad that finished at 4-7 last year.
ONU has signed 42 incoming student-athletes that look to bring a good mix of offensive and defensive talent.
One player the Tigers are counting on is running back Paris Johnson, a Belleville native who had a strong final year at Belleville West High School last season, finishing with 1,509 yards and 15 touchdowns. Johnson is a quick and athletic runner who averaged nearly 8 yards per carry as a senior.
Another offensive weapon that should add firepower to the team’s offense is wide receiver Alex Kaminsky, who comes to ONU from Fairfield High School in Ohio. Kaminsky missed much of his senior year due to injuries but still managed to rack up 500 yards and seven touchdowns.
Peyton Womack is being groomed as a future starting quarterback who can get things done in the air and on the ground. Last year at Rockford Lutheran High School, in Rockford, Womack threw for more than 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns. He averaged 165 yards per game.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Tigers are hoping to keep from again allowing an average of 30 points per-game, partly through the work of lineman Arinze Ekowa. The Plainfield native helped anchor the Plainfield North High School defense last year as the team reached the state playoffs. In 24 games, Ekowa recorded 23 tackles-for-a-loss.
Isaish Campbell, a linebacker from Ben Davis High School (BDHS) in Indianapolis, will also be counted on to make the Tigers tougher. Last season Campbell had 55 solo tackles and 82 tackles. He averaged 7.5 tackles a game and was a key component on BDHS’s defense.
ONU fans will get their first chance to see the recruits and returning players on Aug. 26 when the Tigers open at home against Kansas Wesleyan University, a good team that finished at 9-2 last year.
More challenges lie ahead, as the Tigers take on fifth-ranked Marian University Knights, who ended last season at 11-1 and were considered one of the top teams in the nation. On Oct. 14, ONU will play No. 15 Robert Morris University-Illinois, which advanced to the playoffs last season.
The Tigers will host Trinity Bible College for the annual homecoming game on Oct. 28, then will wrap up the season the following week against Saint Xavier University.
For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.onutigers.com.