Settlemire leads way for Sims

Noah Cloonan

After a historic 2015 season, the Ashland University Football team made some more history during the offseason. For the first time in school history the Eagles managed to land Ohio’s Mr. Football, Keishaun Sims. 

Sims, the 6-foot-1, 170-pound running back from Massillon Perry has joined the Eagles high powered offense that is seeking their second straight GLIAC title. 

Keishaun Sims was nearly unstoppable in his senior campaign for the Panthers, leading his team to the Division II state title game. In 421 carriers, Sims racked up an incredible 3,225 rushing yards and scored 43 touchdowns. Unofficially, Sims’ rushing total is good for sixth all-time in Ohio high school athletics.

“Winning Mr. Football was great but I couldn’t do it without the players that I had on my team,” Sims said. “I pretty much put all that behind me now, I’m in college now. It’s still good to be called Mr. football but its over now it’s about college.”

The 2016 Ashland recruiting class is one of the best in recent years and is headlined by Sims.  

“Even with all of our returning experience we expect six or seven freshmen and transfers to be in our two deep, including Keishaun,” head football coach Lee Owens said. “Every year it seems as though we are able to recruit more of the D I type athletes than the year before.”

Owens contributes the consistent high caliber recruiting classes not only to the facilities and the program, but also to the success of former players such as Cleveland Brown, Jamie Meder.

“I came here in the summer I really liked when they showed me around,” Sims said. “I met some of the guys, I really liked the football team, and I felt like this was the best place for me. “

On most other teams, Sims is the kind of player that would be able to compete for a starting job, but at Ashland it is a different story. 

Senior tailback Vance Settlemire is one of the best in Ashland history. After a three-touchdown performance in the season opener against Mercyhurst, Settlemire is just eight touchdowns away from tying the school record.

This depth at running back for the Eagles will allow Sims an opportunity to grow and mature while under the tutelage of the senior running back. 

“He is like a brother to me,” Sims said. “He let me stay with him for the summer, for the workouts, [and helped me] get to know the plays and stuff.”

Sims got an early opportunity to play this fall as the Eagles beat up on Mercyhurst. 

In Sims first play from scrimmage he burst through the hole and reeled off a 32-yard run. He gave Eagle fans and coaches alike an opportunity to see the type of potential that Sims has.

“I had a good feeling about him playing this year and obviously he is,” Settlemire said. “I just wanted to give him a little head start on our offensive game plan. 

Between Sims and fellow young running back, Andrew Vaugn, there is a bright future ahead for the Eagles once Settlemire graduates.

“They’re all my little brothers,” Settlemire said.” “I call them ‘my sons,’ it is a little joke that we all have. 

Sims plans to use this season to gain valuable experience from Settlemire, as well as get bigger and stronger and hopes that he will be able to compete for and win the starting job next year.