BELLBROOK — Ashton Ault wants to be a leader.
It’s clear looking at the way he presents himself, speaks to others and has kind words spoken of him the role may be a natural one.
Signing his letter of intent to play football at Marian University on Thursday, Ashton officially confirmed where he will attempt to hone his influential abilities at for the next four years.
“I’d like to be a role model for a lot of younger kids,” he said. “Being able to show them what they can do in the future and be able to show people how you can learn from others and teach others from being a leader.”
The football field is a regular grooming spot where leadership grows and Ashton has had plenty of success on it as a player as well.
A four-year regular for the Golden Eagles, he was named the SWBL’s Defensive Player of the Year in the 2021 season and first-team All-Ohio as a linebacker in Division III. As a senior he amassed 104 tackles in 14 games, producing four sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception.
He was also the backup running back on offense for the state’s leading rusher Seth Borondy, but still got opportunities to flash his skills. He had an 87-yard touchdown run in the playoffs and seven trips to the endzone for the season.
Ashton said he recognizes being able to step up in front of individuals or a crowd and project yourself onto others requires a voice. In order for others to gain what you want them to achieve, he believes leaders need to allow themselves to be followed and heard to gain their understanding.
It’s a quality he appears to have gained from his close relationships with others. Numerous family members, along with his football and basketball teammates, were present at his college signing. His father, Jake, has been one of Ashton’s closest confiders.
“Yeah that’s my man he’s done everything for me,” Ashton said. “Me and my dad are very tight. We’re constantly texting to figure out what we can do to get better, what do I need to achieve for the day type of things. He’s always on me. Days where I’m just sitting at home, we’ll just get up and we’ll go to Planet Fitness or talk about what I need to do for school.
“When I was getting recruited, every day asking me who I was talking to or who did I send my stuff out to, or a schedule of what I needed to do each day. The things that he’s paid for and the things he’s taking the time to do, I’m very proud to have had that person in my life to do that for me.”
Ashton said he hopes playing for Marian will provide a close opportunity for his family to see how the work he put in has paid off.
The journey to find his college destination encountered roadblocks in not being able to visit schools and coaches due to health protocols which have been in place due to COVID-19.
Self research of schools were his best starting points, but when camps were safely able to resume they provided open doors to gain visibility.
“A year ago this week we decided we were going to start with every opportunity that we had, we were going to go and get whatever exposure that we can,” Jake said of Ashton’s search. “We just wanted to get in front of coaches and that’s the route that we took.”
Jake said he was impressed by Marian’s facilities and believes the school checks all of his boxes.
“Marian is in a great location and there’s a ton of opportunities,” he said. “Athletics in every sport, men’s and women’s, and from the administration down are unbelievable.”
The football program at Marian has only been in existence since 2007 and already gained much success. Located in Indianapolis, Ind., it has won 75 percent of its games in 15 seasons and two NAIA national championships.
“We made a game day visit and it blew me away,” Ashton said. “The atmosphere, the way that the team played, the family like we have here. It’s what we thrive off of is being together and everyone staying together.”
Jeff Jenkins, Bellbrook football head coach, believes Ashton has one of the best football minds he has been around and always played up to the competition.
“What I told Marian’s coaches was that you were getting a day one leader,” Jenkins said. “You’re going to get a kid who’s going to step in there as a freshman and he’s going to take charge of that defense because that’s just the way that he is. I can’t tell you how proud we are here in the Bellbrook football community, his leading by example, been a tremendous player and very unselfish.”
Ashton wants to start out being the day one type of leader Jenkins spoke of by getting into the community and seeing what it has to offer to be able to help others.
He said he’s grateful for the tutelage and examples he received from those previously in his position which he looked up to and thinks it will be beneficial in continuing to build his leadership qualities which he can pass off onto others.
Ashton has shown plenty of confidence in his current leadership skills.
“People I think will listen and pay attention to what I have to say,” he said. “Maybe not all people would like to agree, but they’ll like to hear and let it go through their mind and be able to think about if they want to make a choice or not. If not, that’s your opinion. But if you want to get on that train and go then let’s get after it.”
It should not take much for his future teammates to hop aboard with Ashton.
Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.