Former ICC football star Odie Armstrong was recently assigned to the San Jose Sabercats after becoming a free agent earlier this season.
In his first game back this season, Armstrong rushed for a touchdown and helped the Sabercats (2-3) nearly upset his former teammates and two-time defending ArenaBowl Champion Arizona Rattlers (4-0), 57-51, on Saturday.
“It felt good being back,” said Armstrong. “I’m really happy to be a Sabercat and hope I can help the team this season and hopefully for seasons to come.”
Armstrong is a five-year veteran of the Arena Football League (AFL) and spent the past three seasons with the Rattlers. Last season, Armstrong had 171 yards and 25 touchdowns on 72 carries while hauling in 13 catches for 190 yards and two touchdowns.
“I can look back over my career in Arizona with a smile,” commented Armstrong. “I made a lot of great friends and memories on and off the field. I am thankful for my years with the Rattlers.”
In 2012, the Vardaman, MS native rushed for 214 yards and 16 touchdowns on 66 carries and had 10 receptions for 100 yards and another touchdown after rushing for 295 yards and 17 trips to the end zone on 77 carries along with 61 yards and a score on eight catches in his first season with the Rattlers.
He finished last season eighth all time with 1,169 career rushing yards and eighth in rushing touchdowns with 73 career scores on the ground. He has won back-to-back ArenaBowl Championships, has earned three second-team All-AFL honors and was named to the All-Rookie Team as a fullback.
“Odie has a lot of experience playing in the AFL,” said owner and head coach Darren Arbet. “He understands the fullback position very well and he knows what it takes to win in this league.”
Armstrong was a first-team All-State and MACJC All-Star selection while at ICC and was recognized for his career achievements during a special basketball halftime ceremony and was presented with a gift from the college by former coach and current Vice President of Student Services Buddy Collins in January.
“I’m very grateful for everything ICC did to help prepare me for life,” Armstrong said. “All my coaches, teachers and everyone at ICC will always hold a special place in my heart because a lot of my success wouldn’t be possible without them. A lot of people, like Coach Collins, pushed me and really showed me how to be successful in so many things other than just football.”
After ICC, he attended Northwestern Oklahoma State where he earned NAIA second-team All-American honors after rushing for 1,230 yards during the 2005 season.
In October 2012, Vardaman High School retired his number (9) in a pregame ceremony that included his mother Doris Armstrong and sisters Melinda and Melissa Armstrong along with his wife Natalie and daughters Tyiashia, Paytyn and Payzlyn.
“That was a really special moment,” said Armstrong. “Being back at Carter Field surrounded by my family and hearing the crowd chant my name from the stands will be something I’ll never forget.”