Heart South Division Champs Evangel Football Add 25 on Signing Day

Heart South Division Champs Evangel Football Add 25 on Signing Day

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The 2017 Heart South Division Champion Evangel football team added 25 players for the 2018 season Wednesday announced by head coach Chuck Hepola.

Included in the class are an athletic group of Missouri and Texas athletes with nine coming from the Ozarks and seven from the Lone Star state. The Crusader coaching staff also recruited Oklahoma with four athletes coming from the Tulsa area, one from Florida, Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, and Arkansas. Evangel returns 83 players from last year's South Division Championship team that finished 7-4 and 4-1 in conference play.

"Recruiting is the Life-blood of every program and ours is no different.  We have an excellent group of players returning who are pushing themselves in the off-season, but we still had some needs," said second-year head coach Chuck Hepola.

"Due to graduation, there are some holes to fill and our coaching staff did a great job of finding talented athletes to fill these spots. Continuing to recruit the Ozarks is a priority and our signing class is filled with local talent that fit our program and University.  We are also continuing to be successful Nationally in particular Oklahoma, Texas and the Midwest.  There are a lot of excellent football players in these areas."

The Crusaders have scheduled their annual Spring Game for Thursday, April 26 with a time to be determined closer to the game. Game times and dates for the 2018 season including Homecoming, Hall of Fame Game, and Heart Game of the Week TV schedule will be announced at a later date.

Below are biographies of the recruits:

Will Anoa'I // DL // 5-10 // 260 | Kickapoo High School // Springfield, Missouri
Highlights: http://www.hudl.com/v/28B6jG

Named All-USA Ozarks defensive lineman … two-time all-district and all-conference defensive lineman … Earned 2016 Southwest Missouri Coaches Award as defensive lineman .. Finished with 119 tackles and 21 tackles for a loss during his time at Kickapoo


Peyton Cox // LB // 6-2 // 220 | Verdigris High School // Claremore, Oklahoma
Highlights: http://www.hudl.com/video/3/4402730/5a2a1f152351bd11ccb2275e

An all-state and all-district linebacker for the Cardinals


Josh Dennie // ATH // 5-11 // 170 | Christ's Church Academy // Jacksonville, Florida
Highlights: http://www.hudl.com/v/287uNW 

Two-time first team all-conference selection finishing with seven touchdowns and one interception … Was a second team all-state pick as a junior adding four interceptions … Earned the Christ Character and Class Award as a sophomore … Helped Eagles finish 6-3 as a senior


Maurice Downey // DB // 5-11 // 152 | Parkview High School // Southwest Baptist // Springfield, Missouri
Highlights: http://www.hudl.com/v/26M8aS

Downey played at SBU appearing in 10 games in 2016 helping the Bearcats reach the NCAA Division II Playoffs … Finished with 26 tackles and one interception … Prepped at Parkview High School in Springfield


Dylan Gill // OL // 6-3 // 320 | Sterling High School // Baytown, Texas 

Dad Mike Breaux played for Evangel and was a letterman in 1982


Jalen Harris // DB // 5-10 // 165 | Lake Dallas High School // Corinth, Texas
Highlights: http://www.hudl.com/v/28Je9m

2nd team all-district defensive back … Helped Lake Dallas reach Area Finals … Recorded 84 tackles with four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and two blocked kicks … Also finished with 362 all-purpose yards, one interception, and six pass breakups


Joseph Haymes // OL // 6-0 // 245 | Nixa High School // Nixa, Missouri
Highlights: https://www.hudl.com/video/3/5569533/59b7dcac0c5da405dc81dc85

Started 21 games for the Eagles and was a three-year letterman … Was Nixa Lineman of the Year two year in a row and named Eagle Award winner


Joshua Hinzman // WR // 6-0 // 160 | Carlinville High School // Carlinville, Illinois
Highlights: http://www.hudl.com/v/27mtsD

Recorded 24 catches for 546 yards and 5 touchdowns … Finished with 30 tackles, one interception and 13 passes defended on defense … Father, Paul Hinzman, was all-conference player for the Crusaders in 1990


Justin Houston // DB // 6-0 // 175 | Blue Valley North High School // Overland Park, Kansas
Highlights: http://www.hudl.com/video/3/6032034/5a1e0851578d1c09d884b12c

Prepped at Blue Valley North helping the Mustangs to a Class 6-A Kansas State Championship


Caleb Huskey // DB // 6-3 // 190 | Harrison High School // Harrison, Arkansas
Highlights: http://www.hudl.com/v/27tJvd

All-State selection as a senior and also a three-time all-conference selection … Two-time weekly Brandon Burlsworth award winner … finished with 90 tackles and four interceptions as a senior … Caught 21 passes for 33 yards and four touchdowns


Isaac Johnston // OL // 6-5 // 315 | Neosho High School // Neosho, Missouri
Highlights: http://www.hudl.com/v/28KcSD

A team captain and two-year letterman at Neosho High School … Earned All-Central Ozarks Conference honors … Tallied 29 pancake blocks and allowed just one sack during senior season


Hosea Jones // DL // 6-2 // 230 | Carl Junction High School // Carl Junction, Missouri
Highlights: http://www.hudl.com/v/28Md4k

Was an all-region selection and earned Third Team All-Conference honors for the Bulldogs


Jachin Like // RB // 5-9 // 170 | South Grand Prairie High School // Grand Prairie, Texas
Highlights: http://www.hudl.com/v/28PSSz

Named Team Offensive MVP at South Grand Prairie High School … Earned Second Team All-District honors


DJ Love // WR // 5-10 // 160 | Prosper High School // Prosper, Texas
Highlights: http://www.hudl.com/v/28KWLw

Named District 14-5A Offensive Utility Player of the Year … Rushed for 452 yards and finished with 572 receiving yards … Recorded 10 touchdowns


KK Moe // DL // 6-1 // 240 | Coppell High School // Coppell, Texas
Highlights: http://www.hudl.com/v/27wPrf

First Team all-district selection … Captian of the wrestling team at Coppell High … Two-time Texas State Qualifier in wrestling … Greco-Roman Cadet State Champion


Taylor Nixon // DL // 6-3 // 245 | Lincoln Christian School // Tulsa, Oklahoma
Highlights: http://www.hudl.com/video/3/2618896/58aa4de7041d6c292cada49d

Was named District Lineman of the Year … Earned all-district honors helping Lincoln Christian finish 10-3 his senior season … Earned Bulldog Award as a senior from his teammates


Bryce Nyumah // RB // 5-9 // 180 | Mansfield Summit High School // Arlington, Texas
Highlights: http://www.hudl.com/v/28Nz5Z

Earned all-district honorable mention honors as a senior … Excelled in classroom being named all-district Academic Team


Koel Orchard // DB // 5-11 //175 | Mountain View-Liberty HS // Mountain View, Missouri
Highlights: http://www.hudl.com/v/28Q3zU

Named Class 2 All-State by both Missouri Media and Coaches Association at defensive back … Finished with 112 tackles, two interceptions, seven tackles for a loss, three sacks and blocked three punts … Carried the ball 221 times for 1,651 yards on offense … Added eight touchdowns and 28 catches for 442 yards and seven receiving touchdowns


Peyton Ross // LB // 6-2 // 210 | Broken Arrow High School // Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Highlights: http://www.hudl.com/v/28MNTe

A three-year varsity letterman Ross earned 6A all-district honors as a senior … Three-time Academic All-Conference selection … Helped Tigers reach Class 6A State Semifinals as senior


Darien Ruffin // DB // 5-9 //170 | Arlington High School // Arlington, Texas
Highlights: http://www.hudl.com/v/28QY9p

Earned First Team all-district honors as a junior … Voted Team Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore


Joshua Saak // WR // 5-11 //170 | Woodward-Granger High School // Woodward, Iowa
Highlights: http://www.hudl.com/v/28PFes

A two-time all-district selection as a junior and senior


Anthony Stanford // DB // 6-2 //180 | Forsyth High School // Forsyth, Missouri
Highlights: http://www.hudl.com/v/2875jH

Earned All-Tri Lakes Honors after finishing with 55 catches for 1,000 yards … Added 44.5 tackles and 5.5 sacks with 9.0 tackles for a loss on the defensive side of the ball


Brayden Swearengin // Kicker // 6-0 //175 | Willard High School // Willard, Missouri
Highlights: http://www.hudl.com/v/285Xew

Earned first team all-conference and all-district honors … Also a second team All-State kicker and first team all-region … Helped the Tigers reach the Class 5 Missouri State playoffs as a senior … Finished with 35 touchbacks and held a career-long field goal of 44 yards


Tyler Waggoner // OL // 6-4 // 235 | Kickapoo High School // Springfield, Missouri
Highlights: http://www.hudl.com/v/27n50j

Team captain for the Chiefs … Two-time all-conference selection ... Excelled in the classroom as a three-time academic all-conference honoree


Dontay Woods, Jr. // OL // 6-1 // 285 | Memorial High School // Tulsa, Oklahoma
Highlights: http://www.hudl.com/v/28DVku

Prepped at Tulsa Memorial earning all-district honors on the offensive line at Class 5A-3

For the latest information on Evangel Athletics, follow the Crusaders on Facebook at Facebook.com/EvangelAthletics or go to www.EvangelAthletics.com. Fans can also receive updates on the team by downloading the Go Evangel Front Row App at EvangelAthletics.com/FrontRow available on Google Play and in the App Store.