Two members of Eisenhower's back-to-back Region 2-championship football team will make the jump from Friday nights to Saturday afternoons next season following their official college commitments.
2014 seniors Alex Johnson and Jon Shelton have announced their intention to play at Geneva College and the University of Mount Union, respectively.
Johnson is the reigning Region 2 Player of the Year and a Second Team All-State Defensive Athlete, playing primarily running back and linebacker. He was a unanimous First-Team All-Region pick at linebacker in his junior and senior seasons, and his 361 career tackles and 44.5 tackles for a loss fell just short of the Eisenhower High School record books.
Times Observer file photo
Alex Johnson (27) and Jon Shelton (63) lead Eisenhower onto the field before a regular season game this season. Johnson and Shelton will take the field for different programs next season; Johnson committed to Geneva College and Shelton to Mount Union.
He'll join a Geneva Golden Tornadoes team coming off a season with a record of 5-5 overall and 4-4 in the Division III President's Athletic Conference.
"I felt really comfortable (at Geneva)," said Johnson, who plans on majoring in biology to become a physical therapist. "It's kind of a rural atmosphere and it's a Christian-based school; that's what I was looking for. I just felt at home there."
Johnson will play either running back or linebacker depending on the needs of the team. As a high school ball carrier, he gained over 2,000 yards with an average of 7.6 yards per touch. His 32 career touchdowns rank fourth in school history.
Johnson's numbers are impressive, thanks in large part to the work of Shelton and an Ike offensive line that has averaged over 315 yards per game the past two seasons.
Shelton will block for a Mount Union team that has seen it's share of success, and that's putting it mildly.
The Purple Raiders can stake claim to 11 Division III National Championships, including seven of the last 14 - and 25 Ohio Athletic Conference Titles. Pierre Garcon, Cecil Shorts III, and Kyle Miller are just some of the team's notable NFL alumni.
"It's a great feeling being valued up that high with some of the prospects they have. It's almost like a Division I program playing in Division III," said Shelton, a three-year starter and letterman for the Knights. "(Mount Union's) setting is really similar to Warren and the academics are really good."
In addition to being a First-Team All-Region offensive lineman, Shelton - who will major in business management - racked up 84 tackles and 11 tackles for a loss on the defensive side of the ball.
Eisenhower head coach Jim Penley has coached Johnson and Shelton for years, and he believes both players have the work ethic necessary to make an impact at the next level.
"Alex and Jon are very similar from the standpoint that they know they have work their tails off to achieve their goals," said Penley. "Both are still lifting at 6:30 in the morning before school. They're tough minded kids, and they've done everything I've ever asked of them. That's what those coaches look for. They want to know what you can do for the team."