Centre College had an undefeated regular season with a 10-1 overall record including a Southern Athletic Association Conference Championship, which resulted in the Colonels receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament. This was only their second appearance in school history, but their second in the last four years. They fell to John Carroll in the First Round of the Playoffs, but needless to say it was a big year for Centre.
How do you improve upon that? You go out and get more great players to add to the impressive group of talent that is already on campus in Danville. When you scroll through that list of talented players on the Centre roster, one thing sticks out and is repeated over and over. Hometown/High School: Louisville, Ky. / St. Xavier.
Four Former Tigers were on the 10-1 Colonel Football team last season and two of those were major contributors. Wide Receiver Jake Johnson ’12 and Defensive Back Alex Mattingly ’12 made huge plays throughout the season to keep that unblemished record for ten straight weeks. Ryan Askin ’14 and Sam Gray ’14 were new members of the team and will compete for playing time this fall.
That number of Former Tigers is about to double as FIVE of the Tiger Football Class of 2015 is headed to be Colonels this year. Jaylon Hibbs, Kyle Oliver, Michael Ackerman, Lowell Brown and Ben Logsdon have all committed to play for Centre. One other Tiger is also still deciding on where he wants to play and his choices include Centre and Kentucky. Lexington Catholic and Manual also have a handful of former players in Black and Gold, but not NINE. Head Coach Andy Frye must like what he sees coming out of Louisville, specifically Poplar Level Road. It’s like he’s trying to be Chip Kelly from the Eagles and take a whole bunch of kids from a Green and Gold school.
To get all of these guys headed in the same direction, there wasn’t a big meeting called by one of the five pledges to Centre, but instead they all came to the same conclusion on their own for the most part.
“Actually, I didn’t talk to anyone.” was the response Ackerman gave to the question of whether or not they teamed up and made the decision together. “I just love the atmosphere on the campus and on the field and the coaches accept you like family.” That family just gained five really good players.
The now Former Tigers all looked at their options on where they wanted to play at the next level and it just so happened that they all had roster spot offers from Centre and that was where each individual thought they would have the best opportunity to play at the next level.
For Oliver, it also had to do with the coaches, but mainly the academics. “A big part was how good of school it was,” he commented. “I really like the coaching staff especially Coach (Carter) Conley who is the defensive coordinator.” The Tiger Football linebacker also added, “We get to play football with each other for four more years and be a part of a great program.”
While Ackerman didn’t do much talking to the others about his decision, Oliver was helping recruit the guys to play with him at the next level. He said that it was a big deal for them to all get to play together again because they loved playing with each other. Kyle was even encouraging the others to take overnight visits down to Danville with him.
Once they were at Centre, they had plenty of familiar faces to welcome them. Oliver’s older brother, Ryan, played with Mattingly and Johnson, so they were always encouraging their friends little brother to come see what Centre had to offer. Ackerman said Johnson was a big help in his decision to go there.
The recent success of the Colonels obviously has stood out to these guys as they’ve made their college decisions. There is no doubt that Centre will have another big year and that will probably be thanks to some of our guys that will surely make an immediate impact, the minute they step on campus this fall. The college version of St. Xavier may be forming down the highway in Danville, Ky. They might as well go ahead and rename the 220 year old College, Tiger Tech.