Northview senior Devon Chamberlain (front row 2nd from left) signed on Wednesday to play football and run track for Marian College. Pictured (front row l-r) Devon's father Jeff Chamberlain, Devon, mother Teri Chamberlain and Northview Principal Jim Church. (Back row l-r) Boys' track coach Jeff Gambill, Marian Track Coach Dave Roberts. Marian Football Coach Ted Karras, Northview Football Coach George Gettle and Northview A.D. Charley Jackson.
The 2005 season was a breakout year for Devon Chamberlain on the football field, a year after a talented group of receivers graduated from the Knights. The 5-11, 165lb. receiver got his chance to shine on the gridiron and made the most of it for a Northview squad that went a perfect 6-0 in the conference for the second straight year and lost a tough 27-14 decision to Greenwood in the postseason.
Chamberlain also was a captain on the basketball team along with the Mental Attitude Award winner for the Knights, but it was his breakout season on the football field that drew attention.
Chamberlain led the team in receiving touchdowns with six for the season and gave the Knights another explosive threat. He also led the team with 28 receptions for the year and exploded for nearly 25 yards per catch with a long of 74 yards.
Those numbers and Chamberlain's ability to take the ball the distance each time he touched it led Marian College's Ted Karras to offer the senior a scholarship to join the Knights' squad at the next level.
"Devon has something that you just can't coach and that's speed," commented Karras. "I feel that he's still growing as a player and that his best football is still ahead of him."
The Knights won't actually step on the field for their first official game until September 8, 2007. As a startup program at the NAIA level, comparable to Division III, recruits will have a 'redshirt' year to prepare them for the college level of play.
Marian is a member of the Mid-Central College Conference that also includes Grace College, Indiana Wesleyan University, Spring Arbor University, the University of St. Francis and Bethel College.
Karras was most recently the head coach at Div. III Rose-Hulman and was named one of the "10 Hot Coaches in Division III" by American Football Monthly and led the Engineers to their best three year record in more than a decade.
Chamberlain will be joining a group of 32 other recruits that Karras has signed thus far that includes Linton's Adam Brewer and Dan Watson of Terre Haute North.
The head coach feels that keeping close contact with athletes in the Wabash Valley is a key to his recruiting efforts with the Indianapolis-area school.
"Absolutely I feel its important to (recruit athletes in the Wabash Valley)," said Karras. "Since I took over the job in February we've added 33 recruits. We're still adding some more, but I feel it's important to establish a Marian pipeline in the area."
Northview head football coach George Gettle also agrees in the fact that Karras' approach to the area's football talent will bring more attention to the athletes in the valley.
"Coach Karras has done a great job of getting his first (recruiting) class together. Coming from Rose-Hulman, he knows what kind of talent lies here, it's somewhat untapped."
While the possibility of what Chamberlain can do on the football field drew Karras' attention, an equally important aspect of Chamberlain's recruiting was the fact that he will also be member of Marian coach Dave Roberts' track team.
While Chamberlain has only recently made himself a key factor on the football field, his track exploits are well documented.
He is a 4-year letter winner in track and has been an All-WIC performer and regional qualifier the past two seasons for Northview.
Last season he was a member of the regional qualifying 400 relay team that also included Jamie Bays, Chris Bowman and Broc Miller. He also narrowly missed out on qualifying for the 200 meter regionals on several occasions as well as being a part of a couple of strong 1,600 relay teams.
As his final track season begins to arrow towards the postseason, Chamberlain reflected on his thoughts of competing at the collegiate level following the signing of his letter-of-intent on Wednesday.
"I never really thought that I would get the opportunity to (play football or run track) in college," commented Chamberlain. "It's a great opportunity to play both sports."
Though his athletic ability is helping foot the bill for college, Chamberlain also has designs on the academic side of the slate as well.
"I'm looking at studying business in college and Indianapolis is one of the greatest business areas in the country."
Karras agrees with Chamberlain's thoughts of the importance of balancing academics and sports in college. "My goal is to recruit student athletes who can get the job done in the classroom and on the field."
With competitors like Chamberlain on the team, Karras should have little trouble succeeding on both fronts with the new Marian Knights.