Sophomore tight end Adam Shaheen very easily could be deemed Ashland University's version of Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham.
And with good reason.
While comparing Shaheen to two of the National Football League's top tight ends may be considered premature, the results through two games of the 2015 season suggests otherwise. He leads Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tight ends in catches with 12, and is the Eagles' top target in terms of receptions, receiving yards (192) and touchdowns (two).
Shaheen lines up in a traditional tight end position, but also can line up wide and run past and through cornerbacks, something that AU's offense perhaps has never had.
"Adam's one guy where we can get a mismatch, so we try to find some ways where we can get him lined up and get the ball to him where he can make a big play, and he did that a couple times," said Ashland head coach Lee Owens.
Shaheen caught a 20-yard jump-ball touchdown pass for AU's first points near the end of the first half of the team's 31-24 overtime win at Walsh on Saturday (Sept. 12). He also recorded a 76-yard catch-and-run, the program's longest completion since a school-record-tying 96-yarder on Sept. 4, 2010.
First Place In The South, And Coming Home
After winning two straight road games to open 2015, the Eagles come home to Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field to face GLIAC South Division rival Ohio Dominican on Saturday (Sept. 19) at 7 p.m. on First Responders Night. Ashland (2-0 overall, 2-0 GLIAC) is tied with Tiffin atop the South, and the Panthers (1-1, 1-1) are one game back.
Ashland will look to clean up things such as eight penalties for 76 yards, three turnovers and just 81 rushing yards in 34 attempts turned in against the Cavaliers.
"We'd better play a little better next week, or we'll be in trouble," Owens said. "We've got to play a lot better next week, or we'll be in trouble. But we know we're capable. We know we can play better than this. That's uncharacteristic for an Ashland Eagle team."
OT History Repeating Itself
Ashland's overtime win on Saturday was its first since Sept. 10, 2011 at home against Indianapolis, 39-36 in four extra periods. In that game, the Eagles trailed the Greyhounds by 10 points in the second quarter. On Saturday, AU trailed Walsh by 10 points in the second quarter.
Shaheen's 151 receiving yards against Walsh is the first 100-yard receiving game by an AU tight end in the Owens era, and the first by an AU tight end this century… The 75 rushing yards Ashland allowed to Walsh is the defense's best effort since allowing 54 at home to Northern Michigan on Oct. 25, 2014…The Eagles are 5-2 in their last seven road games.