Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

March 10, 2013

Mount St. Joseph gets LB Yongue

Ashland football player signs with school near Cincinnati

Aaron Snyder
The Independent

ASHLAND — Often overlooked because of the lopsided result was a gem of a performance by Ashland's Evan Yongue.

Yongue stepped up at running back, a position decimated by injuries at the time, and thrived against Fort Thomas Highlands in the second round of the Class 4A playoffs — he rushed 19 times for 160 yards and a touchdown in a 52-13 loss to the eventual state champion.

"I felt like I finally showed everyone what I could do at Ashland," Yongue said.

Now, Yongue has a chance to represent Ashland in a different manner. He will join a former Tomcat on the College of Mount St. Joseph football team this coming fall. Yongue signed a letter of intent to play for the Lions on Saturday, March 2, on campus.

Yongue accompanied Mt. St. Joe senior tight end Drew Royalty, an Ashland graduate, on a visit last year.

"I got real excited, just riding up there with him while he talked about it," Yongue said. "He said that everything was great."

Located less than 10 miles west of Cincinnati, Mt. St. Joe is an NCAA Division III football program. It competes in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.

Highly influential in Yongue's decision was Tyler Hopperton, an MSJ linebackers coach.

"He talked to me about everything," Yongue said. "I feel like I have a decent shot at playing time this year."

Yongue was initially going to try to walk on at Morehead State, but Mt. St. Joe expressed a good deal of interest from the get-go. The college first took notice of Yongue at a high school combine at Louisville Ballard High School. Ashland assistant coach Dave Arthur took Yongue and a few others to the event.

After two visits and a chat with some of the coaches, including 14th-year head coach Rod Huber, Yongue and his mother "fell in love with it immediately," he said.

Yongue will likely play outside linebacker — his primary position in high school — and some safety. He may even play some slot receiver because of his versatility.

As a Tomcats senior, he started out at safety before settling back into his comfort zone at outside linebacker by Week 3 of the season.

"I've played outside linebacker since my freshman year," he said. "It's home to me."

At fullback, he carried 86 times for 586 yards and seven scores. He also amassed three catches for 75 yards and a TD.

Yongue thinks he will be at an advantage compared to most freshmen because of how Ashland ran its program under head coach Leon Hart, who announced his retirement in January.

"Our practices were run like colleges," said Yongue, citing Hart's deep background in college coaching. "I'm really glad I played for coach Hart."

One area in which he is placing great focus is improving his speed. Yongue currently runs a 4.65 or 4.7 40-yard dash, he said, but he'd like to decrease that number to 4.5.

Mt. St. Joseph went 4-6 last season, including a 28-20 loss to Kentucky Christian University.

AARON SNYDER can be reached at asnyder@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2664.