INDEPENDENCE - Ohio Northern football coach Dean Paul said he has high hopes for junior linebacker Dillon Kwiat, who missed last season with an injury and received a medical redshirt.
Kwiat, a 5-foot-11, 220-pound Calvert graduate, was listed in the Ohio Athletic Conference's "Key Players Returning" section on the Polar Bears, and Paul said the former Seneca could be a starter at linebacker.
"He's got a great chance," Paul said. "Dillon's a hard worker, and he has three years left."
Kwiat played in eight games in 2010, making a pair of tackles.
Other local players mentioned in the OAC media guide included Heidelberg fullback and Hopewell-Loudon graduate Aaron Kapelka, who HU coach Mike Hallett has called one of the best blocking backs in the conference, and Capital defensive back Andre Cousin, a junior who graduated from Fostoria.
Kapelka had seven carries for 34 yards last year, but his main role was clearing holes for the now-departed Germany Woods and then-freshman Cartel Brooks.
For Capital, Cousin made 28 tackles, 18 solo tackles and broke up six passes.
In addition, Columbian graduate Kyle Gilbert, son of longtime TC coach Steve Gilbert, has joined Paul's coaching staff at ONU. He is listed as the school's recruiting coordinator. Kyle played under Paul in Ada.
WHAM!: Legendary broadcaster Joe Tait, best known for his time as the announcer for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Cleveland Indians, received the Bill Nichols award, given yearly to a member of the media by the OAC.
Tait, who retired from the Cavaliers' job in 2011, has called Mount Union games for the last 26 years.
The broadcaster graduated from Monmouth College, a Division III school.
"I've made it full circle," Tait said after being presented with the award by OAC Commissioner Tim Gleason. "I'm thrilled to be a part of (the OAC), to go out with you fellas and the brand of sport that you play."
SEA TRIP: OK, Regis Scafe and his John Carroll Blue Streaks have dibs on this season's longest road trip.
JCU opens the 2012 season against St. Norbert College, a Wisconsin school.
No, John Carroll isn't going to Wisconsin to play the game.
It's going to Dublin, Ireland.
"I can't believe in three weeks we're going to be there," Scafe said.
"There's gonna be a lot of distractions," said John Carroll offensive lineman Mike Micca, "But we're gonna keep our focus and stay on track."
NEW CARDINAL, NEW EXPRESSIONS: The only new head coach in the OAC this year is Otterbein's Tim Doup, who was promoted by the Cardinals from offensive coordinator.
Doup replaces Joe Loth, who became the coach at Western Connecticut State University.
As a player representative, Doup brought along Aaron Kingcade. Gleason (who acted as the emcee) quizzed Kingcade about the connection between the QB and Trey Fairchild, the Cardinals' star wide receiver.
Kingcade joked about it being a "bro-mance," pure 2010s lingo that Gleason wasn't afraid to admit he wasn't up on.
"You'll forgive me if I don't have any idea what your talking about," he said, to big laughs.