ALCOA, Tenn. (WATE) — Three Alcoa seniors put pen to paper today, signing their letter of intent to continue their academic and football careers at the next level.

“All of them are special,” said Alcoa head football coach Gary Rankin. “All three of them going to great universities to further their education and their playing careers. It’s a proud day, happy day, a little bit of sadness in there to see those guys leave.” 

Cam Burden knotted 1,100 all-purpose yards in his two seasons at Alcoa, earning the 2019 State Championship MVP when they shut out Pearl Cohn 27-0.

Alcoa faced some adversity this season with injuries and COVID-19, limiting their quarterback room in the latter half of the season. Burden stepped up taking on quarterback duties helping earn some key victories, however, he prefers to play at linebacker on defense.

The 49ers are still trying to figure out where to use him. While he prefers to play at linebacker, he said he’ll play anywhere to get the team a win.  

“I told them like I’ve told everyone else really my whole life I’ve been playing, I’ll do anything to help win,” said Burden. “That’s my main goal I want to win. Put me here, put me there, I’ll do anything.” 

Next to him, Ahmaud Sankey signed with Southeast Missouri State University.  

During his career at Alcoa, Sankey knotted 2,900 rushing yards and 52 touchdowns. He earned MVP honors in the 2018 State Championship and has helped the team to four state titles. 

COVID-19 threw a wrench in recruiting, inhibiting future players from physically visiting campuses, facilities and meeting their coaches in person. Sankey was one of those recruits. He said despite not being able to go on an official visit, he still felt very much at home at Semo.   

“I just felt like I was more at home than I’ve ever been,” said Sankey. “They’ve asked me about family and school. Not just about football so I felt that would be a good fit for me.” 

Sankey is hoping to start as a freshman and be the impact player that comes up big in needed moments. He will either play at receiver or running back but prefers to play in the backfield.  

Isiah Cox was the third Tornado to trade in his maroon and grey digs. The 3-star prospect and 37th ranked recruit overall in the state, according to 247Sports composite, signed his Letter of Intent to play for Cincinnati.  

Cox also doubles on both sides of the ball, playing at receiver and safety but will be utilized as a defensive back at Cincinnati.  

Cox ended his career at Alcoa recording 2,200 all-purpose yards and scored a touchdown in every way possible really.

He said the success the Bearcats have had this season excites him to join the team, ultimately choosing to continue his academic and football career in Ohio because of the “love” they have shown him through the process—despite never having been to campus.

They showed me so much love, at this point let me just go ahead and sign these papers I’ve gotten so much love,” said Cox. “I feel like they’re going to help me reach my goals….and help me get to where I‘m trying to be.” 

Defensive tackle Grey Carroll signed with Georgia Tech but will hold his ceremony on Friday.