Thornton's "Fearsome Foursome" reconvenes at Ohio
by Joseph Hughes
Ohio halfback Stafford Owens answers question during Media Day at Peden Stadium on Thursday, August 9.
Athens, Ohio - The most popular interview candidate at this year’s football media day was Ohio’s field general, junior quarterback Dontrell Jackson. And why wouldn’t he be?
When Jackson arrived in Athens he was a 17-year-old, wiry rookie. Two years later, he has transformed into a veteran signal caller, whom offensive coordinator Greg Gregory calls “one of the best option quarterbacks in the country.”
He was a star player at Thornton Township High School in Harvey, Ill., a Chicago suburb. While his prep accomplishments were noteworthy, Jackson was not alone in his decision to attend Ohio. Three other Thornton teammates saw the value of the Bobcat experience.
In 2001, sophomore receivers Tierra Pought and Brian Ingram, as well as redshirt freshman Stafford Owens, join Jackson in the Bobcats’ quest to claim the Mid-American Conference’s title as their own.
Other than Jackson, Pought brings the most Ohio experience to the table this season. Playing in seven games as a reserve last season, Pought notched an athletic 19-yard catch versus Central Michigan. This season, he hopes to become a vital component in Ohio’s growing receiving corps.
Thornton’s high school coach, Bill Mosel, called Pought one of the fastest players he has ever mentored, which is strong praise from the leader of a perennially successful program.
Owens, while not logging a minute of on-field time as a Bobcat, has to his benefit a year of practice experience with the team. Additionally, he was a member of Ohio’s travel squad a year ago – so he knows the lay of the Bobcat land heading into this season.
Owens, like Jackson, earned Metro Conference Player-of-the-Year honors at Thornton. He led the state of Illinois in rushing touchdowns and was named player of the year by six different newspapers as a senior, including the Sun Times and Chicago Tribune.
Ingram rounds out the “Thornton Foursome” at Ohio. He sat out last season to focus on academics, but will bring a great resume to the table for the Bobcats. He was an all-conference selection at Thornton, playing wide receiver as well as defensive back. His teams made the playoffs each year over his career.
Now that they’re back together, Pought sees a bright future.
“I think it will be very exciting,” he said. “We are all explosive and are all playmakers.”
Owens shares Pought’s sentiments, but also sees another added benefit to the reunion.
“Having us together is big for the group on and off the field,” said Owens. “We can look out for each other as a group and have friends in from Chicago. It’s definitely a good thing.”
If the Thornton Foursome can perform to expectations in 2001, Owens will be proven prophetic. It will definitely be a good thing.