Newcomerstown High's Coy Johns will continue his academic and athletic careers at Malone University after signing a letter-of-intent with the school where he will be a member of the Pioneers' football team in the fall.

The 6-1, 265-pound lineman played his first two years at Ridgewood High; was injured as a junior and then after transferring, became a mainstay for the Trojans last fall. He earned first team all-Inter Valley Conference and second team all-Eastern District Division V recognition.

"We only had him for one year, so we didn't know what to expect at first," recalled Newcomerstown coach Eric Brock. "He worked very hard in the weight room and while he was a little rusty at the beginning as could be expected after sitting out a year, he got better and better."

Brock also pointed out that Johns is a quality person as well as a player.

"He had never played down of football for us and yet he was voted a captain," the Trojans' coach said, "so that tells you what type of kid he is and what the other players thought of him. He's the typical, blue-collar lineman you love to have on your team."

Brock also speaks well of Johns' college potential.

"He's got very good feet," he said. "We did a lot of pulling from the guard position with him. He'll never be a 300-pounder, but I could see him getting into a regular workout program and putting on 20 pounds of muscle. He grew up on a farm so he's developed a lot of natural strength."

Brock feels Malone is a good fit for Johns.

"It's far enough to get out of town, but close enough that family can come see him play," the NHS coach said.

"We are thrilled to welcome Coy into our football family," said Malone head coach Eric Hehman. "This year, we put an emphasis on lineman and we are excited that he chose Malone. It will be great to watch Coy develop and I know he will help us achieve our program goals as well. In addition, He is a Northeast Ohio guy, which is very important to us as we recruit each class. We see him as a great fit for the style of offense that is founded on physicality and athleticism. Coy's future as a Pioneer is bright."

Malone's recruiting class of 23 included 12 players on offense and 11 on defense, and 11 of the individuals are from Ohio.

"This is the best class that we have signed since our staff arrived a few years ago." said Hehman. "After experiencing the GLIAC in our first year, we recognized the areas we needed to grow to compete at the highest level. We spent a lot of time evaluating offensive and defensive lineman that fit our school and our system. The staff's hard work has paid off with this Class of 2013. We have met every positional need that we had assessed and are confident that the incoming players, along with our red-shirts from last year, will allow us to compete at a high level in the GLIAC."

Malone will be entering its second year in NCAA Division II and second year of competing in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC).

The son of Jon and Tammy Johns, Coy plans to major in intervention education with a minor in coaching.