East Tennessee high schoolers make college choices official

East Tennessee high schoolers make their college choices official


KNOXVILLE (WATE) - National Signing Day isn't just about the University of Tennessee. Many kids from East Tennessee sign with other colleges. That made Wednesday a busy day for players, coaches, and the media.

Before the first bell rang at Bearden High School, Bulldog running back Josh Haney was signing his name to a commitment letter. He signed to play for the Blue Raiders at Lindsey Wilson College in Kentucky.

Thirty minutes later at West High School, Rebel Kicker George Bullock made his choice official and signed to split the uprights at Tennessee. Bullock signed with the Vols.

"That's a great thing to make it official," he said. "I committed back in July, and now six months later it feels great to make it official." 

A table was jammed with players at Cocke County High School. That's where four players put pen to paper.

Offensive lineman Bob Leffler is going to Emory and Henry in Virginia. Receiver Brandon Davis and defensive lineman Darian France are both heading to Union College.

And receiver Krys Cates becomes the first Cocke County player in three decades to sign with a Division 1 program. He will play at Tennessee Tech.

"I talked to Vanderbilt and Tennessee Tech fit in with me," said Cates. "I didn't want to go to a bigger school yet."

Four players squeezed into the signing day scene at Powell High School. Quarterback Dustin McPhetridge will play at Austin Peay. Offensive lineman Chris Easterday and defensive lineman Wesley Sparks both signed with Carson-Newman, and as expected, running back Dy'Shawn Mobley signed to play at Kentucky.

"I didn't know anything about Kentucky, and someone called me at the last minute," Mobley said. "If you get down there they will most likely offer you. I ran a great time and coach fell in love with me then and then built a relationship." 

The day was equally exciting at Sevier County, where four Smokey Bears signed with the colleges of their choice.

Offensive lineman Jake Robbins will play at the University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky. Quarterback Cullen Lavoi and center Dustin McGill are going to UVa-Wise, while receiver Brett Pippin signed with Austin Peay.

"I think that the coaches are fair and they don't play favorites like some coaches do," said Pippin about his choice. "They give everyone a fair chance whether a walk-on or scholarship player."

At Maryville, offensive lineman Brandon Guy signed with Eastern Kentucky and tight end Kevin Niethammer signed with Chattanooga.

And at Alcoa, offensive lineman and coach's son John Tucker signed with Tennessee Tech.

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